The Art of Experience

Nick Greene, BSA ’09, MArch ’10, document control assistant for the Clark Art Institute’s massive renovation and campus expansion.

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Testing the Water: Nick Greene at the Clark Art Institute.

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Photos by Webb Chappell

Nick Greene, BSA ’09, MArch ’10, document control assistant for the Clark Art Institute’s massive renovation and campus expansion program, completed last year, is passionate about his work, and it shows. He speaks with enthusiasm on subjects ranging from his childhood in the Berkshires to his experience as a Wentworth student to art and architecture, to—most frequently—the renovations at the Clark and his work there over the past three years. On this topic, he riffs on architect Tadao Ando’s vision, the marriage of art and nature on the Clark’s 140-acre campus, and, perhaps most enthusiastically, his love of concrete.

“The concrete here is really spectacular,” Greene says, gesturing toward the walls of the Clark Center, the 42,000-square-foot, two-level centerpiece of the Clark’s new construction. “Especially in New England, people understand concrete to be something used to structurally support something else, he continues. “They think of it as a material that is poured, stripped, and then buried and never seen again. What the Clark wanted here was to show the intention of its materials. It’s almost ironic for a New England institution to essentially celebrate their concrete and unashamedly show it off.” This thoughtfulness and attention to detail has served Greene well throughout his experience at the Clark. After working as an architect following his graduation from Wentworth, Greene responded to an ad posted by the Clark seeking someone with “a background in architecture, construction management, or both,” Greene recalls.

Although the position was not design-based, the opportunity to work on a project led by the Pritzker-Prize-winning Ando was too enticing to pass up. Performing tasks including document control and financial tracking, Greene quickly learned what he calls “the nuts and bolts of keeping a project moving financially,” and was promoted to document control assistant in 2012. Greene’s enthusiasm for both art and architecture is apparent on a tour of the renovated Clark. In addition to the brand-new Clark Center, the project includes a renovation of the original museum building and an expansion of galleries, an ongoing renovation of the Manton Research Center, and redesign and reconfiguration of the Clark’s grounds, including installation of more than two miles of walking trails and a gorgeous set of tiered reflecting pools. “There are gestures,” Greene explains, “that allow you to see nature and art at the same time.”

With the Clark project now complete, Greene is looking ahead to his next challenge—a position with James Dixon Architect in Chatham, N.Y., as an architectural designer.
“The Clark position was a wonderful way to educate myself in all aspects of what you can be and what you need to do if you are going to work around design and construction,” Greene says. “It’s been an incredible learning experience.” —Caleb Cochran

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