Art and Science | Antony Gormley

Antony Gormley

Chord, 2016

905 stainless steel elements of varying section sizes and 541 stainless steel balls


1706 x 321 x 341 cm

Commissioned with MIT Percent-for-Art Funds

Since 1968, MIT’s Percent-for-Art Program has allocated funds to commission site-specific art along with each new major construction or renovation project on campus. This tour highlights select Percent-for-Art pieces whose designs reflect their unique location within a hub of science and innovation.

This tour was created by Isabelle Yen, Class of 2021 in Computer Science and Economics. Yen was a List Center Student Guide for three years of her undergraduate career.

Chord, situated at the intersection of the Mathematics and Chemistry departments, is one of sculptor Antony Gormley’s “cellular polyhedral sculptures”. Its design takes inspiration from naturally occurring geometric shapes that have applications across science and mathematics. What comes to mind as you look at this work? Is it reminiscent of anything that you have seen before in nature?

Not only is the piece’s design inspired by science and mathematics in its design, but its construction is also a result of precise calculation. It may not look like it, but this delicate structure is built from 1,700 pounds of stainless steel and was designed to be able to support a climber. But we ask that you please, take the stairs instead!

Building Number: 2

Accession Number: PFA.2016.001