Professor Anderson earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree cum laude from Harvard College and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from The Cooper Union. Upon graduation in 1982, he received awards for excellence in design, structures, student leadership, and academic achievement. Professor Anderson worked for Smith-Miller+Hawkinson and Gwathmey Siegel & Associates prior to forming a partnership with Johannes Kastner-Lanjus in 1991. Since 1993, his firm, Samuel Anderson Architects, has accomplished a wide variety of built work. His projects for the Harvard University Art Museums and the Morgan Library have received awards and acclaim in Architectural Record and other journals. His firm has completed successful projects for the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Harvard University Libraries, the Penn Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Professor Anderson currently teaches ARCH 135, Building Technology, in conjunction with the Third Year comprehensive design Studio. Mr. Anderson has previously taught the Thesis Design Studio.
Projects & Links
This design of an interior office project for <kpe>, an entertainment-related web design and venture capital firm, is located on the 19th floor of a building in Westwood, Los Angeles. <kpe> wanted an open, flexible work environment where individual departments were not isolated from each other and where the variety of operations within the company (ie. design, programming, financing, hardware assembly, and management) could coexist in a heterogeneous environment. The integrated work process necessitated as much communal space as possible, with differently sized rooms and vestigial spaces for formal and informal meetings, as well as accommodations for fluctuating team sizes. The building offered floor-to-ceiling glazing along the exterior walls incorporating impressive 300-ft. long views of the Pacific ocean and Santa Monica mountains.
The design strategy takes full advantage of these qualities. The drama of the views is fully accessible by virtue of a perimeter “promenade” which affords informal meeting areas with intimate spaces for personal reflection or one-on-one conversations as well as mid-size group interactions . Along this walk, the city views, work stations, communal circulation, and communal seating are negotiated in a language of rhythm, geometry, and variation, providing an expansive openness as well as sense of location. The promenade forms a strong link between the western corners of the building, each articulated as a conference room by steel and patterned glass walls. The remaining corners are also used communally, as smaller meeting rooms and cafe/lounge.
The potential oppression of the low ceiling slab is overcome by painting all structural and mechanical elements dark blue, and suspending aluminum ceiling panels in a subtly arced and angled rhythm, allowing the subconscious to sense a much lighter, higher canopy. This sea of reflective “scales”, whose varying angles refract light differently according to viewpoint and time of day also provide a visual “moire effect”.
The area lighting is generated from industrial uplights built into the work stations to flood the aluminum ceiling panels above. The work stations are distributed with the intention of providing a “filtering” effect, where each station is adjacent to as many others as possible. Boundaries between groups are blurred, multiple communication options opened, and the sense of whole is increased.
Straus Center for Conservation
Harvard’s Conservation Department is the oldest fine arts conservation treatment, research, and training facility in the United States. Until its 1996 expansion and transformation into the Straus Center for Conservation, it had remained essentially the same since 1928 and suffered from dilapidation and a wide range of environmental problems. Renovation was imperative for the safety of the staff and collections, and expansion was necessary to allow the conservators’ advances in research and teaching to be realized.
Throughout the programming and design phases of the project, the architects worked closely with the Museum staff to ensure that vital aspects of the Center that had previously suffered were improved and restored by the new design.
The challenge of accommodating the specialized needs of each conservation department (paintings, objects, paper, and analytical research) while maintaining an atmosphere of interdisciplinary exchange was addressed by creating a free plan in which architectonic elements divide the different areas without separating them. This was greatly facilitated by annexing a narrow roof along the west side for shared functions such as seminar, administration, x-ray, and library. The space is unified by a rhythmic sequence of skylights which flood the center with north light.
The Straus Center’s extensive mechanical equipment is discreetly located in a new penthouse on the upper roof. The dedicated climate control system maintains steady temperature and humidity despite intermittent use of powerful spray booths, fume hoods, and fume extractors. A continuous air/vapor barrier and specially designed windows and skylights successfully prohibit the formation of dangerous condensation even on the most frigid nights.
The interior finishes and equipment are completely integrated with the processes, equipment, and functions of the conservation treatment and research work. Each surface material and piece of furniture is assessed in terms of special use, relation to the human body and to the room, to ensure that the conservators’ efforts at this impressive facility are not only efficient, but a pleasure. Three years after completion, the staff remains “ecstatic” with the result.
The Agnes Mongan Center
The Agnes Mongan Center is the home for the Harvard University Art Museums’ collections of works on paper. It was created by expanding and totally renovating the Naumburg Wing and the former print room of the original Fogg Museum. Prior to 1994, works on paper were stored and curated in disparate corners of the Fogg Art Museum, without climate control or room for expanding the collections. Furthermore, the cramped and separated quarters made it difficult for curators, students, and scholars to teach, undertake research or prepare exhibitions. Now the collections, curators and dedicated study room, gallery, and seminar room are conveniently consolidated in one integrated design.
The scheme for the addition resolves a complicated site geometry with a seemingly simple gesture. Meanwhile, it takes on the site as a complex beyond the Center itself, engaging in a formal dialogue with the nearby Sackler Museum, the Carpenter Center, and Werner Otto Hall.
The program required that the Museum’s teaching and research programs be enhanced while also providing safe and protective storage environments for the delicate collections. All art storage is now rationalized in state-of-the-art, climate-controlled facilities with capacity to add over 60,000 new works of art, while a specially designed cold archive vault provides a suitable environment for color photographs. The curatorial offices, study room, seminar room and framing room were designed in close collaboration with the curators to ensure full satisfaction of their goals, including achievement of the highest security and indoor air quality standards.
Thaw Conservation Center
Upon completion later this year, the Thaw Conservation Center will be a brand new, world class laboratory for conservation of works on paper as well as a magnet for conservation studies and training. The new Center will enable significant expansion of the Morgan Library’s capabilities and activities in the field of art conservation.
The Center is being created on the top floor of the only freestanding brownstone extant in New York City - a four story structure originated around 1855 and expanded around 1900. The challenges faced in the design of the Center were the Library’s request that the existing shallow roof line be maintained and the conservators requirement for ample northern light. In manners sympathetic to the modern processes of art conservation we decided to conserve as much as the existing roof structure as possible with judicious additions of discrete steel and wooden elements enabling us to transform the original framing into a series of elegant shed trusses. This was a considerable challenge since the old framing was not compliant with current code. The stringent climate control system stipulated a continuous air-vapor barrier around the entire envelope so we detailed the vapor barrier to be installed just above the original sheathing, but below the insulation, so that the entire original roof construction is now revealed and appreciated. The daylight provided by the existing window openings was terribly inadequate for the needs of the conservators so a series of skylights fully integrated with the vapor barrier detailing and roof framing were detailed to sit discretely on roof with adjustable solar louvers in order to control the amount of indirect light entering the space.
Over the decades, the original servant and nursery quarters had been modified many times, so there was virtually nothing of architectural or historical value to preserve. Wherever possible, we have exposed, restored and cleaned existing brick walls while installing relatively few new partitions. The layout of spaces achieves the appropriate arrangements of specialized furniture and equipment for wet and dry treatments, examinations, documentation, teaching, and research, while allowing considerable flexibility for evolving conservation practice.
Our client, a gallerist and collector from Mexico City, approached SAA prior to purchasing two duplex apartments to test the feasibility of combining them into a single apartment. The resulting 4,520 square foot loft is a formally minimal yet materially rich residential project, providing the client and her guests a tranquil retreat in the heart of SoHo.
The public spaces are organized around a core of continuously wrapped panels of Sapele wood, a species selected for its strikingly even, vertical grain. Floating roman plaster ceilings provide a more intimate scale at the entry, wet bar and breakfast areas that flank the open living and dining space. Horizontal bands of cabinets and Norwegian slate shift past walls to enliven the surfaces. A perpendicular volume of panels marks the threshold into each of four bedroom suites. All of which were expertly executed by Wise Construction, LLC.
The client commissioned several artists to create pieces specific to several key locations.
90 Mt. Auburn Street
The client selected Leers Weinzapfel Associates architects to design the core/shell and Samuel Anderson Architects to design the interior, directing us to work collegiately and simultaneously. The client required that the building provide:
• Over 24,000sf of highly specialized spaces (conservation labs, training rooms, etc.) while remaining flexible for alternative future tenants
• An integrated work environment with generous visual space that brings together individuals from various departments
• An open, engaging face that speaks of the building's internal workings, despite the private institutional function
• Minimum height and improved pedestrian experience of a crowded site
The architects collaborated on core placement and fenestration- designing a finely scaled building, two-way concrete slabs and a new pedestrian path. The open workspaces grouped at the North side of each floor take advantage of the abundant natural illumination while dropped ceiling surrounding the core contain mechanical equipment, leaving slabs exposed through the facade. Up-lights in custom workstations illuminate uncluttered slabs, enhancing the building's transparency.
Each floor's core circulation is organized by a gently folded wall of bookcases punctuated by portals into private offices. Custom furniture throughout is moveable, including the specialized equipment of the Special Collections Conservation Laboratory- a state-of-the-art facility for treatment of rare books, manuscripts, and maps- allowing flexible rearrangement and future relocation.
Renewable and recycled materials including FSC-certified wood for finished and custom furniture were used throughout. Innovative lighting, air quality, geothermal heating and cooling systems, and storm water management, made it eligible for certification by the USGBS's LEED program; and earned it the prestigious LEED GOLD status.
MoMA Conservation Department
The design of the MoMA Conservation Department addresses specific requirements for each of the labs (painting; sculpture; paper/photograph; and conservation science) and provides for offices and a departmental library and conference room.
Since the area available for the department increased only modestly compared to the volume of art to be displayed and treated, versatile spaces suited for a wide variety of treatments/tasks had to be devised. The scheme provides ample North light and utmost flexibility of space and furniture for all examination and treatment areas. While some specialized functions: workshop, darkroom, and sculpture shower require unique rooms, others: photo-documentation, x-radiography, and spray-lacquering are consolidated into a single large room detailed to accommodate all three despite their particular technical requirements.
Storage for art, tools, equipment, treatment files, and supplies is ample and accessible but unobtrusive. Reliable systems to exhaust varying amounts of organize solvents without disrupting the strict steadiness of temperature and relative humidity are provided for each of the labs. Treatment tables, storage tabourets, and other custom furniture are tailored for each of the labs. The MoMA Conservation Department was constructed concurrently with the recent MoMA Expansion.