Tagging or writing and or drawing on a wall, is usually not encouraged at the Academy. But when the person doing the writing is world famous author Nathaniel Philbrick … well … that’s another story. He was invited to do so.
Philbrick, captivated by the ocean since his earliest days, has written six books, all touching on things related to the sea. Each of these books has won prestigious awards including the National Book Award (nonfiction) for In the Heart of the Sea. This is the book MMA has chosen to immortalize in its new, $23,000,000, 42,000 square foot, LEED Gold Certified, American Bureau of Shipping Information Commons. This newest academic building houses not only the library but integrates a rich program of study, training, and research spaces, in a cutting-edge building.
The author was recently asked to visit and autograph this amazing architectural feature. “The beautiful new structure includes a four story grand staircase featuring the text of my book In the Heart of the Sea etched into giant translucent tablets. Needless to say, it was a great honor to see the words of a book I wrote spread out across this magnificent public space, and my thanks go to MMA’s President Admiral Richard Gurnon for making it happen,” the author said.
The idea of etching a full length book, in glass, sixty feet from top to bottom, visually interesting from both near and far, was the brainchild of architect Ryan Senkier of Perry Dean. In the Heart of the Sea was chosen for this unique, back-lit display for two reasons. It reflects the Academy’s mission and was written by a local author. The novel is unexpected yet a perfectly suited graphic concept for a small school with big ideas. In the Heart of the Sea, artistically engineered into a futuristic building conceived and built with no right angles, is a true architectural surprise. The sum total is reflective of an MMA grad – state-of-the-art, a product of history yet ready for today and prepared for tomorrow.