The Upper Room

Designed by Ned Smyth, The Upper Room is a handsome colonnaded court marking the entrance to the Esplanade at Albany Street. At once dignified and playful, reverent and inviting, this self-contained sculptural environment suggests a contemporary reimagining of an ancient Egyptian temple offering stylized sanctuary from the surrounding city even as it formally echoes the rhythms of its urban environment. On its sides the work is girded by ruddy red pillars made of gravelly conrete aggregate recalling a fusion of decorative palm trees and Near Eastern architecture. Inside, it features a long table adorned with chess boards and twelve stools and an altar-like pergola sheltering an iconic palm tree. Like the tree form rising out of the table, this pillar is inlaid with colorful moasic tiles. Designed to be both functional and symbolic, The Upper Room lends an appealing air of ceremony, harmony, and mystery to its site overlooking the waterfront.