Harvard's Graduate School of Design (GSD) has launched a new platform to counteract the pervasive and enduring impact of racism that disproportionately affects black designers. The African American Design Nexus brings together the work of black architects and landscape architects from the past and present on the same website to explore their practices and provoke change within design institutions. That change is sorely needed. Only 2 percent of the nearly 110,000 licensed architects are black, while in landscape architecture, just 0.3 percent of licensed practitioners are black. For context, 2017 U.S. Census data estimates that people who identify as black or African American compose 13.4 percent of the country's population. Among the Design Nexus profiles is Hood Design Studio founder (and GSD alumnus) Walter Hood; Studio And founder and Columbia GSAPP professor Mabel O. Wilson; FAD Studio founder, professor, and textile engineer Felecia Davis; and Paul Revere Williams, the midcentury L.A. architect whose stylistically diverse work gained posthumous recognition. The Design Nexus grew from the leadership of Dana McKinney, president of the GSD’s African American Student Union and one of the principal organizers of the school's first Black in Design conference. McKinney and her peers generated a list of 2,000 African and African American designers, and from this list, an initial 50 designer profiles were created for the Design Nexus website by the student union and by the Frances Loeb Library. While there are fewer than 50 pages up now, more will be added over the summer. The project follows in the footsteps of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation's directory of women in architecture, which seeks to boost the visibility of women designers.
Posts tagged with "Harvard GSD":
Brought to you with support fromThe Greater Boston area is home to a large collection of brutalist structures. Now, with these historic buildings passing their semicentennials, municipalities and institutions are reappraising their original designs and coming up with solutions to adapt them to contemporary needs. Harvard's Smith Campus Center, a colossal academic building located on Massachusetts Avenue across from Harvard Yard, is an exemplar of this trend, with a significant overhaul led by design architect Hopkins Architects and executive architect Bruner/Cott Architects consisting of facade restoration and the insertion of glazed pavilions. Formerly known as the Holyoke Center, the Smith Campus Center, completed in 1966, was designed by Josep Lluis Sert, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design from 1953 to 1969. In total, the center's original design encompassed over 360,000 square feet and reached a height of 10 stories. The massing was generally an extruded H-shaped plan, with a three-story pavilion found on the north elevation. For the design team, the goal of the project was the retention and strengthening of the original concrete-and-glass facade through sealant removal, concrete cutting and chipping, and glass replacement, and the opening of the ground level with a new glass curtainwall. The design team conducted extensive studies prior to the intensive intervention. "Restoration originated in 2008 with a study by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger and Bruner/Cott Architects," said Bruner/Cott principal Henry Moss. "Two vertical drops down the 100-foot height of Sert's concrete facade identified areas of incipient spalls from cast-in-place concrete. In 2013, the same team did a binocular survey from street level to locate fractures and estimate the frequency of different types of repair for the building as a whole." Similar to many mid-century structures, the Smith Campus Center was beleaguered by environmental performance issues—low-E coatings did not exist in this area, and the bulk of the building's windows were single glazed. To bring the Center up to contemporary environmental and performance standards, Bruner/Cott designed a new system of insulated glazing systems. Additionally, Sert's original design featured non-tempered glass—the present building code requires safety film for any fenestration located 25 feet above pedestrian areas. "On all but the north elevation, new clear films provided enhanced solar control with a slight shift towards a bluer hue," continued Moss. "Thirty-five-year-old reflective solar films were removed from all elevations to restore the figure-ground relationship between translucent and clear panes in the composition of facades by restoring transparency to Sert's "vision panels." While a significant portion of the project was dedicated to the renovation of Sert's brutalist complex, the footprint's forecourt provided an opportunity to embed a contemporary welcome pavilion. The pavilion's new glass panels, typically measuring 7'-8" wide by 11'-2" tall and 1 ¾" thick, were double-laminated with polyvinyl butyral and a 16mm argon-filled void. The glass curtainwall is held in place by toggles fastened back to the custom-fabricated interior columns. Panels located atop the pavilion are 7'-8" feet wide and 18'-3" tall. Henry Moss, Bruner/Cott principal, will be presenting a deeper dive into this project at the upcoming Facades+ conference in Boston on June 25. For more details, along with registration info, visit Facades+ Boston.
The Harvard Graduate School of Design has named Polish-born architect Aleksandra Jaeschke as the winner of the 2019 Wheelwright Prize, a $100,000 travel-based research grant for up-and-coming architects. Jaeschke’s winning proposal, UNDER WRAPS: Architecture and Culture of Greenhouses, will take her on a two-year exploration of Taiwan, Morocco, Poland, Israel, Spain, South Korea, Mexico and other countries, to study the diversity of urban and rural greenhouses, in an effort to better understand how humans interact with the botanic world. The impact of building typologies on the environment is a recurring theme for Jaeschke, whose doctoral dissertation at Harvard, Green Apparatus: Ecology of the American House According to Building Codes, focused on how residential building codes and products are shaping environmental awareness. “With her pioneering work on greenhouses, Aleksandra Jaeschke reasserts that the field of architecture can and should continue to engage deeply with nature, with horticulture, and with ruralism and the countryside,” said Mohsen Mostafavi, jury member and Dean of Harvard GSD. Under Wraps was chosen from more than 145 proposals, submitted by architects from 46 countries. Mostafavi also applauded the two other finalists, Maria Shéhérazade Giudici and Garrett Ricciardi, “for their outstanding proposals, which made the decision about this year’s award exceedingly challenging.” The 2019 Wheelwright Prize jury included Tatiana Bilbao, Loreta Castro Reguera, K. Michael Hays, Eric Höweler, Mohsen Mostafavi, Megan Panzano, and 2015 Prize winner Erik L'Heureux. The jury’s full comments on Jaeschke’s proposal will be posted on the award’s website shortly.
Sarah Whiting, dean of the Rice University School of Architecture, has been named the next permanent dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). Whiting, an educator and practicing architect through her firm WW Architecture, will take over for Mohsen Mostafavi on July 1 of this year. Whiting has served as the dean at Rice’s School of Architecture since 2010, but previously served as a design critic, and an assistant, then associate professor at the GSD Department of Architecture from 1999 to 2005. “The GSD has long been a center of gravity for my thinking and actions, and I’m thrilled to be returning,” said Whiting in a press release. “It is altogether tantalizing to look across the School’s three departments, with their individual and collective capacities to shape new horizons within Gund Hall. And it’s even more enticing to envision working with the GSD’s remarkable faculty, students, staff, and alumni to help imagine and create new futures for the world, not just at Harvard but beyond.” Whiting’s work and areas of education are frequently interdisciplinary, placing architecture within a holistic urban context. “Sarah Whiting is an exemplary academic leader and colleague. Her intellectual commitment to design education has enhanced the future of practice,” said Mostafavi, who had previously served as dean for 11 years. “I am delighted that she will be returning to the GSD to help shape the next phase of this incredible school’s journey.”
Brought to you with support fromOn June 25, Facades+ is returning to Boston for the fourth year in a row. The conference, organized by The Architect's Newspaper, is a full-day event split between a morning symposium and an afternoon of workshops led by top AEC practitioners. Leers Weinzapfel Associates (LWA), a Boston-based firm with projects nationwide, is co-chairing the conference. Panels for the conference will focus on the changes underway in Boston, ranging from new educational structures, the city's new tallest residential building, and historic preservation projects. Participants for the conference's symposium and workshops include Behnisch Architekten, Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Bruner / Cott, Arrowstreet, Consigli Construction, Walter P. Moore, Autodesk, Atelier Ten, Harvard GSD, the Wyss Institute, and Okalux. In this interview with The Architect's Newspaper, LWA's designer and business development representative Zhanina Boyadzhieva and associate Kevin Bell, the conference co-chairs, discuss their firm's growing body of work and the developmental trends within the city of Boston. The Architect's Newspaper: Boston is known as a relatively quiet city with a predominantly low-slung skyline. How is current development reshaping that identity and what does it mean for the future? Zhanina Boyadzhieva: Boston is indeed a “quiet” city, but it is also a hub of innovation and creative thinking. In the past few years, we have observed dynamic design work, largely by local firms, on several fronts: 1) creative re-envisioning of historical landmarks through readaptations and additions such as Smith Center at Harvard University and Congress Square in downtown Boston 2) careful insertions of new landmarks in the skyline such as One Dalton 3) fast development and growth of existing or new resilient neighborhoods such as Harvard’s Allston campus. Each design solution addresses unique urban conditions and entails holistic thinking about city planning, resilience, and sustainability, coupled with a sense of function, form, materiality, and human experience. Naturally, facades combine all of these considerations and become dominant players in the reshaping of cities. The diversity of approaches we observe—controlled material juxtapositions of old and new, sculptural form-making, and playful screening strategies—are testaments to ongoing design experimentations here. There is a search for new methods to address creative reuse, high performance, material fabrication, and user experience. AN: The city possesses one of America's largest concentrations of brutalist buildings, as well as large historic districts. How can Boston embrace its heritage while moving forward? Kevin Bell: The rich building history of Boston, including modern landmarks like City Hall, and its brutalist companions make for wonderful urban fabric for intervention and a great place for an architect to practice. This history should serve to elevate our expectations for new buildings and major renovations in the city. The recent warming to Boston’s brutalism, its strong geometry and bare materials, is welcome, encouraging designers to consider rather ignore these local icons. It presents the opportunity to consider adaptation and re-envisioning through sustainability’s lenses, the human experience, and materiality. If we can dramatically improve the energy efficiency and human use in these sensitive historic buildings, we can achieve the same in new construction and create a model for continued improvement. AN: What innovative enclosure practices is LWA currently executing? KB: As a firm, we have a legacy of designing efficiently in an urban context. Often, our site is an existing historic building or a tightly constrained sliver of land, or sometimes, there's no site at all. This fosters a sensibility within the studio toward compact volumes, materially efficient, with taut fitted skins, a practice that serves us well as we work to make evermore energy efficient and sustainable buildings. We're also redefining our performance expectations around our clients' commitments to energy efficiency, many of whom have established operational carbon neutrality as their aim by mid-century. The enclosures we design today will be part of that efficiency equation. They must be considered to be part of a carbon neutral organizational environment as a performance baseline above simple compliance with today's codes or target certifications. Envelope performance, especially the use of innovative glazing materials, is a logical extension of the way we think about reactive, efficient space and energy efficiency targets in building enclosure design. Our Dartmouth Dana Hall renovation and addition, under construction now, is an example of this process and practice. We worked closely with the college to define a program for building reuse around its energy use reduction targets that dramatically improved envelope efficiency. Through the design process, we worked with our design and construction partners to continually refine the design while holding to incremental improvement in energy efficiency at each step; our modeled efficiency improved even as we moved through cost reduction exercises. The result is a highly insulated building, triple glazed throughout, with a thermally improved, south-facing glass curtainwall system combining vacuum insulated high-performance glass modules with integrally solar shaded, triple glazed vision glass as part of a building with a predicted energy use index (pEUI) in the middle twenties before the introduction of site renewables. AN: Which materials do you believe are reshaping facade practices? ZB: Materials are the agents of larger design strategies shaping the practice such as resilience, sustainability, and human experience. The aim to rethink and cherish historical buildings, for example, leads to a careful layering of existing and new materials that contrast and simultaneously enhance each other. Heavy textured concrete at the Smith Center is supplemented by light and open transparent glass, green walls and warm wood. Traditional brick block at Congress Square is juxtaposed with a floating glass box on top of sculptural fiber-reinforced plastic panels. On the other hand, the vision to create new landmarks that celebrate and reshape the Boston skyline result in the careful sculpting of distinctive volumes as in One Dalton, a tall glass skyscraper with careful incisions of exterior carved spaces for human use. Finally, the goal to produce energy efficient but playful envelopes leads to a game of patterns composed of an inner insulated layer with an outer wrapper of perforated metal screens or angled aluminum fins. Each choice of material and its manipulation reflects a larger vision to create a unique experience in the city. Further information regarding Facades+ Boston can be found here.
We have heard from multiple sources that the search to replace Mohsen Mostafavi as dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design has narrowed to a short, short list. The Cambridge school, like the other Ivies, seems determined to finally have a female leader. We have been told that the list includes a Midwest-based professional, a current Texas-based dean, and the serving head of another Ivy League architecture school.
post-digital turn in architecture. The book glimpses a generation paradoxically invested in using obscure methods to make charismatic forms. Unlike other postmodern camps (pomo, deconstructivism, parametricism), this generation eschews stylistic cohesion, instead claiming diversity and eclecticism as its hallmark. Inspired by philosopher Michel Foucault’s reading of a fictional Chinese encyclopedia in The Order of Things (the incoherence of which undermines Western epistemology itself), Possible Mediums’ preface essay, “Notes from the Middle,” relishes pluralism and how “the delightfully weird work of…colleagues challenged preconceived notions of order.” However, by deliberately withholding a theoretical framework, the editors leave their uninitiated readers to wonder whether the volume marks a new architectural movement or is simply a yearbook filled with the signatures of well-wishing friends. Whether Possible Mediums is a yearbook or Oriental arcana, the book’s format is infectious and invites casual, nonlinear, and occasional reading. In the same spirit of the volume’s meandering musings, this review will proceed as a loose collection of entries. #71 Arguing for strength in numbers, this volume is full of them. The editors treat their own numbers as a conceptual argument, noting, “We began as a group of four, but quickly grew to 16, then to 25, and now have over 40 project contributors…” They could go on: John McMorrough’s six examples of architectural mediums explicitly numbered, 71 total projects, 16 jam-packed guest essays, 16 mediums [sic], 18 paper stocks, etc. The editors claim, “Possible Mediums is not a systematic theory, a manifesto, or banal survey—it is a projection of architecture and knowledge to come.” And in the absence of knowledge per se, quantity becomes quality. A slow reading might go something like this: The book contains 71 projects, a number sufficiently large, indicating something historic underfoot. Moreover, 71 seems sufficiently precise, an irreducible prime number, the inelegance of which also suggests that there can neither be more nor less, neither 70 nor 72. In sum, 71 is an architectural movement, at once historical, irreducible, and singular. Listicle Beginning with the editors’ reference to Foucault’s Chinese encyclopedia, this book continues to make happy use of lists throughout. Along with lists of paper stocks, architectural media, and guest essays, there are lists of influential UCLA faculty, supply stores, types of sandwiches, questions for readers to ask themselves, etc. The explicit use of lists by both the editors and contributors is reminiscent of the proliferation of useless content on the internet, necessitating the novel curation of listicles as a new literary genre. We now revel in the veneration of tiny, insignificant yet common phenomena. In the post-internet age, architecture defers to everyday non-architectural objects, high and low, from CAD Blocks to Google’s 3-D Warehouse. These things are all worthy of appropriation in the process of making new forms. Debris Flipping through the book, there’s a lot of debris. Some of it is more like piles, rubble, clutter, junk, or ruins, depending on which page you land on. The volume’s insistence on including so many different types of debris makes one think that there is something important about this seemingly unimportant form. In fact, these architects are much more interested in architecture as things rather than forms. Most of their projects look like they are in disuse—things that are falling apart, recycled, decomposing, and on their backsides. Perhaps in reaction to the pageantry of elegant and hyper-engineered surfaces of the digital age, debris ushers in a new cycle of decomposition to architectural discourse. However, unlike the previous antagonism and violence of deconstructivism, debris is more casual, informal, and nonchalant. According to the architects, debris has a purpose: It disrupts part-to-whole relations, celebrates ambiguity, and elevates the ordinary. Inconclusive Like their digital predecessors, this group is invested in formal complex exuberance. Unlike their precursors, this crew is invested in the misappropriation of citations and readymades to such a degree that disciplinary norms and hierarchies are overturned. Such preoccupations, however, are never explicitly acknowledged, and adopt a thinglike quality. Once noted, this degree of thingness becomes an index of contemporaneity: The 2000s are malleable, diagrammatic, and morphological, while the mid-to-late 2010s are full of referential things in semi-disarray. To an outsider, this shift may feel solipsistic and inconsequential—but make no mistake, this generation is distrustful of formal mastery, and instead agnostically embraces the detritus of what’s left of meaning. Nothing is taken for granted, and every thing is worked on as a medium of inquiry. For architecture, this novelty is not only formal, but also etymological in an intriguing, almost imperceptible, way. Max Kuo designs with ALLTHATISSOLID and teaches at Harvard Graduate School of Design.
From January 10 to March 30, visitors to New York's Center for Architecture can check out an exhibition that explores how urban communities can be empowered to create more resilient and sustainable futures. Design and the Just City raises awareness about urban inequality by exploring generations of flawed policy and systematic injustices, and the psychological effects of undesirable architecture and weak urban design. The exhibition was curated by the Just City Lab of the Harvard Graduate School of Design under the leadership of its director, Professor Toni L. Griffin. The first encounter visitors have with the exhibition is a labeled map of New York City. To the right of the map are rolls of stickers with words like "Aspiration," "Fairness," "Power," "Identity," and "Resilience." The piece asks visitors to take a single sticker that references the most significant attribute of their neighborhood and put it on the map. From a step back, the conglomeration of multi-colored stickers could be interpreted as a pointillism piece, but the experience is meant to reveal what residents actually value about their environs. The exhibition focuses on five videos that each look at one of the many challenges combatted by the Just City Lab. The first focuses on the uncomfortable spaces made by transportation infrastructure, particularly subway overpasses common to neighborhoods in Harlem, the Bronx, and Queens. The video shows the many ways in which landscape architecture, lighting design, and low-cost public structures can encourage these once-unsafe areas to become places where people meet or engage with wildlife. Another project also discusses transportation, but as a remedy instead of a malady. To combat the severe racial and class-based segregation among Brooklyn's 15 intermediate-level schools, the video proposes free family and student transportation, community workshops to encourage a stronger integration between parents and students, easier access to information and technology, and equitable admissions. The final product is a well-produced piece describing the difficulties and challenges faced by constituents and designers, and the subsequent final designs and approaches. Griffin founded the Just City Lab in 2011 and has established herself as one of the most influential explorers of the relationships between spatial and racial justice in urban environments. Throughout her two decades in the urban design field, she has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley, and the Spitzer School of Architecture at the City University of New York.
Travis Scott announced on Twitter that he is applying to Harvard this week.
Someone from the rapper's team confirmed to Page Six that he is applying to the GSD. While the chart-topping performer does not have a background in design, he does have experience with the Ivy League university where he recently appeared for a question-and-answer session titled “A Master Class on Creativity." He is also not the only rapper to embrace the GSD. Years before he launched Yeezy Architecture, Kanye West famously appeared at the school in 2013 where he told a crowd that he spends a lot of time with architects and respects the profession. West went on to say at the school, "I believe that utopia is actually possible—but we’re led by the least noble, the least dignified, the least tasteful, the dumbest, and the most political. So in no way am I a politician—I’m usually at my best politically incorrect and very direct." The two rappers are close to being family; Scott has a child with Kylie Jenner, younger sibling to Kim Kardashian West, who is married to Kanye West. The two collaborated on a single earlier this year but have not worked together on designs—yet.
Im applying to Harvard In a couple days. And I really am excited. !— TRAVIS SCOTT (@trvisXX) December 3, 2018
The Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities (CGBC) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) have completed the conversion of their 1920s-built home into a live-in living lab that offers a perpetual post-occupancy evaluation. Designed by Snøhetta and energy engineers Skanska Teknikk Norway, HouseZero, as the building is now known, requires zero energy for climate control, zero energy for daytime lighting, and zero carbon emissions. And in addition to generating more energy than it will ever use, it will also generate extensive data about its own performance. HouseZero is the ultimate tool for the CGBC researchers to tackle the building crisis in America. No that crisis, the other one. No, the other-other one: the inefficiency of the country’s existing building stock. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential and commercial buildings account for nearly 40 percent of the country’s energy consumption. The CGBC is dedicated to using design and technology to create a more sustainable built environment, and HouseZero will help them develop new designs and systems for retrofitting existing buildings to significantly reduce America’s architectural carbon footprint. The renovation combines low-tech changes like larger windows to let in more light, concrete slabs to store thermal energy, and a solar vent that looks like a glass chimney, with high-tech solutions like hundreds of embedded sensors and computer-controlled actuators that automatically open and close the aforementioned larger windows to maintain the optimal internal temperature. Manual operation is also available for those times when individual comfort levels don't fall within computer-controlled optimum, and a combination of geothermal and solar heating will ensure the house stays warm during even the coldest days of a Cambridge winter. HouseZero's sensors aren’t just being used to adjust internal temperature; they’re collecting millions of points of data on the building's performance—daily—and will be used to analyze the effectiveness of its energy-saving features. The valuable data collected by HouseZero will inform “further research that demystifies building behavior,” said CGBC director Ali Malkawi. Because the building is located in the Mid-Cambridge Conservation District, the designers were limited in how they could impact the exterior of the building. This limitation ultimately benefits the project, not only by because it just makes the design more innately interesting, but also because it invites people to imagine how they could transform their own home into an energy efficient version of itself. Like Coke Zero, which promises the same great taste, with zero sugar, HouseZero promises the same great place, with zero energy. While average homeowners probably aren't going to add hundreds of sensors and a basement supercomputer to their 1923 Sears Roebuck and Co. mail-order bungalow anytime soon, they might consider adding on some larger thermal windows and maybe even some custom-designed sunscreens if they’re feeling inspired. As the CGBC aims to prove, these changes are good for the pocketbook and the environment. HouseZero is about challenging building conventions and finding new solutions to old problems. In time, the research collected by this smart house may help us building smarter towns and smarter cities across the country.
Mohsen Mostafavi announced that he will leave his post as dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Design (GSD) at the end of this academic year. "I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to serve the Graduate School of Design and Harvard as dean for the past decade, and am now writing to let you know of my intention to conclude my term at the end of this academic year and to return to teaching and research after a sabbatical," Mostafavi said in a statement. The Iranian-American architect began his tenure at the helm of the GSD in 2008, taking over from Alan Altshuler. Mostafavi had previously served as the head of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London (AA) from 1995 to 2004. He directed the GSD's master’s program in architecture from 1992 to 1995. He received his diploma in architecture from the AA. The GSD is currently in the midst of a renovation led by Herzog and de Meuron that promises to update its historic Gund Hall home. Larry Bacow, president of Harvard University, said in a statement that a search for a new dean will begin shortly. Mostafavi has not commented on his reasons for leaving, but this article will be updated with new information as it becomes available.
William S. Saunders, educator, founding editor of Harvard Design Magazine, and author, has passed away at 72. Saunders regularly contributed to Architectural Record and served as the book review editor for Landscape Architecture Magazine after stepping down from Harvard Design Magazine in 2012. He also offered his consulting services to various design firms. In his books and publications, he was a thoughtful commentator on architecture and landscape architecture, particularly as it evolved in the 1990s and early 2000s. Saunders was a fixture at Harvard, having conducted his postdoctoral studies at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education in 1980, where he taught until 1982. Saunders then held various communications and advisory posts at the Graduate School of Design (GSD) until his retirement in 2012. In 1997, Saunders founded Harvard Design Magazine, a biannual, critical examination of urban and landscape issues and theory meant to help design school graduates stay “in the know.” The magazine relaunched in 2014, helmed by Saunders's successor Jennifer Sigler, and issue 45, Into the Woods, was released earlier this spring.