Posts tagged with "Harvard GSD":
In AN's new series of climate profiles, we will be learning from designers who are working to incorporate climate responsiveness in their work or have blazed the way for others in the field. As this year's hurricane season reaches its third quarter, coastal and riverfront cities across the country are thinking more than ever about how to adapt urban landscapes to increasingly intense storm surge and sea level rise. Chris Reed, founding principal of Stoss and professor of landscape architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), is particularly good at asking questions about these issues. While completing his undergraduate degree in urban history at Harvard College in the 1990s, Reed was exposed to a split in schools of thought among landscape architects: one approaching landscape at the scale of urban planning, another at the more traditional gardens and parks scale. James Corner, who at the time was beginning his own landscape practice, was someone Reed felt successfully merged the two. Reed sought to do the same. In 2001, after he completed a Master’s at the University of Pennsylvania, Reed’s firm Stoss was born out of a desire to create high-density urban environments thoroughly engaged with landscapes and environmental processes. Over nearly two decades, Stoss has completed riverfront designs for five cities across the globe (Shanghai, Green Bay, Minneapolis, Dallas, and London, Canada) as well as countless waterfront parks and public spaces. A 2011 profile of Reed in Places Journal noted that "stoss" is a German word that means "to kick, as in 'kick in the pants,' to initiative, activate." In Dallas, Stoss' Trinity Waterfront project innovatively addressed a vacant flood zone of land dividing the downtown area from Trinity River, which winds through the city. The city wanted to transform this zone into a new public space and economic boon to draw developers. While the city's RFP asked designers to connect the downtown area to the waterfront, Stoss expanded the landscape in two directions – extending fingers of the river and wetlands into the city, and likewise extending the city out into the flood zone. This is especially illustrative of Stoss' approach to adaptive water management. Even an open-air theater has the capacity to flood, diverting waters from the paved and developed areas beyond. The sports fields are flanked by bioswales, depressed areas that are designed to capture runoff. The resulting parklands are both densely urban and perform ecological functions. "The debate now has become not just how to incorporate environmental resilience into cities but also social resilience," Reed told AN. "The world is not the same as when I was in school. Now we have to ask questions like: what are the responsibilities of designers to address climate change, population growth, political shifts–and how have all of these things affected design?" Most recently, Stoss has worked on providing solutions to some of the climate-focused questions through a large-scale riverfront project in Boston. In January 2017, the City of Boston released a public RFP seeking design teams to realize elements of their Imagine Boston 2030 plan. A major part of the plan is riverfront development, both in terms of creating more effective storm-resistant infrastructure as well as in creating compelling public spaces. Stoss was an obvious firm to address the tasks at hand. Of the six neighborhoods identified in Imagine Boston 2030 for waterfront renewal, Stoss was selected to work on two: East Boston and Charlestown. In East Boston, the site runs roughly from around Falcon Street to Piers Park. The Charlestown stretch is still under wraps, with the entire waterfront owned by a single private entity. The focus for both will be on coastal flooding and sea level rise. To tackle these issues, Stoss partnered with Kleinfelder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the New York office of Dutch firm One Architecture. According to Stoss' Studio Manager Amy Whitesides, the project will occur in a layered approach at three different scales. The first, most local scale, will look at simple engineering solutions to flooding, common sense gray infrastructure that will prevent stormwater from rising up or scouring its way into the city's streetscape. An example of this would be a retrofit to the East Boston Greenway that would funnel water along the park's existing railway rather than letting it run off into adjacent neighborhoods. The second, intermediate scale will look at the landscape's existing and potential ecologies—including the redesign of Piers Park itself. The current plan is to take the land and raise it into a berm-like park, creating a barrier that will protect the Greenway and the residential areas while doubling as public space. The third scale looks at the waterfront as a whole from a developer's standpoint, asking which areas will require rezoning for designs to be effectively implemented, how to address private interest (as a good portion of the waterfront property included is privately owned), and perhaps most importantly: how will this all get paid for? The project takes inspiration from the same multi-scalar approach Reed discussed – territory-scale projects with a social bent. "I'm interested in projects that are more about setting up relationships between people rather than relying solely on form-based agendas," Reed told AN. "How do you have a conversation that might seek change?" In East Boston and Charlestown, these kind of conversations are well underway. The design team has held over fifty meetings with stakeholders ranging from Boston's Department of Parks and Recreation to private developers, held community workshops in all of the affected neighborhoods, and formed working partnerships with a number of local nonprofits to inform the design. According to Reed, it should be impossible to complete such large-scale designs with far-reaching impacts without forging local relationships. "Many cities across the U.S. are looking at profound issues of aging infrastructure," Reed said. "With major riverfront projects like this, the changes made are often wrapped up in concerns about affordability." Reed referred to the fear of rent increases pushing out residents as new development moves into neighborhoods. "In dealing with climate change, the question becomes: how do we design for equity? How do we make for welcoming spaces?" Stoss will formally announce their design for the Imagine Boston 2030 plan in the coming weeks.
This weekend, architects, artists, educators, activists, scholars and students convened at Harvard for the second Black in Design Conference: Designing Resistance, Building Coalitions, an event that recognizes the African diaspora's contributions to the built environment and discusses how designers can dismantle institutional barriers within the profession. The Harvard University Graduate School of Design's African American Student Union (GSD AASU) organizes the three-day event, which was last held in 2015. This year, the conference engaged design in its broadest sense to discuss design as resistance and explore how the designers' activism, particularly the work of black and brown designers, is building "more radical and equitable futures." At the 2015 conference, architect and planner Justin Garrett Moore highlighted a speaker's comment to underscore how Black in Design creates a necessary space for dialogue and debate: "[Black] designers do not yet have the weight of influence seen in other creative fields, such as music or fashion, that shape and inform our larger culture and everyday lives." On Friday, attendees convened to hear LAXArt Executive Director Hamza Walker open the conference with his keynote speech, while Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson closed the event with a Sunday keynote that delved into design's role in combatting injustice. T he Architect's Newspaper (AN) spoke with conference participants Daphne Lundi and Emma Osore of BlackSpace, a New York City group for emerging black professionals whose work shapes the built environment. This weekend, the group hosted a lunch and discussion around the conservation and preservation of black spaces, where participants from all stages of their careers networked and shared resources. Both attended Black in Design in 2015, but this time, their group came as a collective, 12 strong. "The conference was still a space for us to learn about black practice in design," Lundi said, "but this year it was a more intentional space for black designers to figure out how to incorporate social justice into their practice and move it to the forefront of their work." Walter Hood and Diane Jones Allen, the program director for Landscape Architecture, the College of Architecture Planning, and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington, who spoke about her work in New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward. "One thing that's fulfilling about the Black in Design conference is its focus on people," said Osore, an artist and program coordinator at the Arts & Business Council of New York. "The conference really elevated black creators across the spectrum of the arts." She said artist and writer Brandon Breaux's session as well as poet Roger Bonair-Agard's talks were particularly interesting. Frances Loeb Library is assembling the African American Design Nexus, an online archive that will survey the history of black architects practicing in the U.S. Missed this year's event? The next Black in Design conference will be held in 2019, but in the meantime, readers can visit blackindesign.org for more information on the conference or search #BlackinDesign #BiD2017 on Twitter for the weekend's real-time program highlights.
Chilean architect Samuel Bravo has been named as the 2017 winner of the Wheelwright Prize by the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). He is the fifth awardee of the open international competition that supports research proposals with a travel grant being given to the winner. Bravo will take home a $100,000 grant to aid his design- and travel-based research. His proposal Projectless: Architecture of Informal Settlements studies traditional architecture and informal settlements, touching up Bernard Rudofsky's notion of “architecture without architects," which the artist put forward in his 1964 Museum of Modern Art exhibition. The Chilean architect, according to a press release, plans to visit South America, Asia, and Africa, as he intends to unearth the architectural vernacular of visited sites and work out how to amalgamate these with contemporary approaches to design. Formal architecture only caters for the minority, Bravo argues. The rest live in the informal built environment. The idea of such an environment has been considered before: "There is no such thing as bad architecture; only good architecture and non-architecture," stated Ernesto Nathan Rogers (yes, Richard Rogers' father) and that notion was later echoed by Reyner Banham. In his 1964 exhibition, Ruodofsky said the essentially non-architectural projects featured are "not produced by the specialist but by the spontaneous and continuing activity of a whole people with a common heritage, acting under a community of experience." In light of this, Bravo will look into how project-less environments exist and how formal architecture can inhabit and operate within such confines. In his proposal, Bravo also referenced how design must be sensitive to the potential "cultural frictions" associated with restructuring problematic settlements. The 2017 Wheelwright Prize jury consisted of Gordon Gill, Mariana Ibañez, Gia Wolff, and standing Wheelwright Prize Committee members Mohsen Mostafavi and K. Michael Hays. "Samuel is a sophisticated designer and a mature thinker, qualities that make him an ideal candidate for this year’s Wheelwright Prize," said Mohsen Mostafavi, dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design at Harvard GSD in a press release. "His work on its own is striking, and the participatory design-build process he has refined over time is additionally compelling. In resurrecting ideas about so-called 'non-pedigreed' architecture and expanding the scope of his research and practice internationally, Samuel’s project opens up new and exciting paths for the next generation of architects."
Trained as an architect at the Technical University of Vienna, Eduard Sekler studied under Rudolf Wittkower at the Warburg Institute in London before graduating there as an architectural historian in 1948. Coming to the States as a Fulbright scholar he joined the faculty of the Harvard GSD in 1956 at the invitation of Josep Lluís Sert. A decade later he became the first director of the Carpenter Art Center, a position which he held for ten years during which time he also founded Harvard’s Visual and Environmental Studies Center and co-authored, with William Curtis, a study entitled Le Corbusier at Work: The Genesis of the Center for Visual Arts (1978). Sekler was active as a scholar over a very wide range, publishing his thesis on Christopher Wren in 1956 and his definitive monograph on the work of Josef Hoffman in 1985. He was one of the first theorists to articulate the difference between structure, construction and tectonics, with this last focusing primarily on the static expressivity of built-form as opposed to formal abstraction as an end in itself. As a researcher and teacher Sekler was also concerned with the “space of public appearance” as this could still be found in historic cities throughout the world and this preoccupation fed into his lifelong concern for the preservation of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, a place which he visited virtually every year, throughout his prime. In one, or another, Sekler served the GSD for over half a century and he was a regular visitor there even after his retirement. His loyal presence there will be sorely missed.
A green building research center at Harvard has enlisted Snøhetta to transform its headquarters into a test site for technology that may make it easier to retrofit older homes. Using its modest headquarters as a guinea pig, the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities (CGBC) at the GSD will retrofit its on-campus home. Designed by Snøhetta, the HouseZero project revamps the CGBC's 1924 stick-built house to run without an HVAC system, without daytime electric lighting, and produce zero carbon emissions, among other efficiencies. The project is the brainchild of Ali Malkawi, professor of architectural technology at the GSD and the center's founding director. "Before now, this level of efficiency could only be achieved in new construction," said Malkawi, in a press release. "We want to demonstrate what's possible, show how this can be replicated almost anywhere, and solve one of the world's biggest energy problems—inefficient existing buildings." In the United States, 113.6 million homes use around ten percent of the nation's energy. Although there are plenty of new buildings that are net-zero, there aren't many practitioners working to bring older buildings—especially older houses—up to that standard. For the CGBC, which was founded in 2014 to promote high-performance building techniques through design, HouseZero is a major test project. Instead of considering the house as a sealed box, Snøhetta will create an envelope that passively heats and cools itself. The HVAC system will be replaced with thermal mass, while a ground source heat pump will provide extra energy to regulate temperatures in the warmest and coldest months. Clad in white cedar shingles, HouseZero sports ash and birch interior finishes, natural clay plaster, and reclaimed brick and granite—all high-performing, locally available materials. The building components are outfitted with sensors so the structure can adjust itself for thermal comfort throughout the day while collecting data for future retrofits. A lab inside will be connected to the energy exchange system so architects and researchers can swap and test new facades and materials to further optimize the structure's performance. The project's concept design was developed in collaboration with the Center and with Snøhetta, which will act as lead architect, interior, and landscape architect. (The U.S. branch of Norwegian construction company Skanska is working on the house, as well.) Though it could probably go LEED super-platinum, HouseZero's creators aren't setting out to build for any existing certifications. According the press release, the team "wants to demonstrate an entirely new paradigm for ultra-efficiency, one that is localized and focused on curbing energy demand, with energy production secondary to that." Construction is expected to take between seven and nine months.
The Architecture Lobby, Yale School of Architecture’s Equity in Design, and Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Women in Design have collectively launched a new accreditation program to promote fair labor conditions in architecture firms called JustDesign.Us. The consortium cites the “rise of massive student debt, stagnating wages, and an overabundance of skilled applicants coming out of professional schools” as the impetus for such a service. Operating from an eponymous website, the project seeks to provide a platform for architects and designers to vet the labor practices of potential employers serving as a new industry tool for more transparent employment.
“The project aims to provide potential employees with a robust tool for gaining a sense of which firms will treat them fairly, with respect, and support their development as architects, while giving certified JustDesign firms an edge in attracting the best possible designers.”Planning to release its inaugural list in December of this year, the organization will deploy its operation in two phases; first, solicit nominations online from employees themselves, then certify that the nominated firms comply with “best labor practices.” The initial employee nominations will survey issues such as "labor conditions pertaining to flexibility, agency, fair pay, salary transparency, employee diversity, and family-friendly policies." While the website and its associated documents are light on the specific methodologies to be employed in phase two of the process, or indeed who will be evaluating the firms, the ambition of this program is to cultivate a field that is symbiotically beneficial to workers and employers alike. JustDesign.Us is endorsed by a handful of groups, mostly academic in nature, however has not yet recruited professional organizations such as The American Institute of Architects and The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. The nomination process is not meant to be punitive and will only review positive employee questionnaires, celebrating firms that excel in fair treatment of their employees not shaming companies that underperform in this regard. Nominations for the first round of review are due by July 15.
The University of Virginia has announced the appointment of Bradley Cantrell as the new Chair of Landscape Architecture at the School of Architecture. Cantrell is currently an associate professor of Landscape Architectural Technology at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) and director of their Master in Landscape Architecture Program. The Architect’s Newspaper met with Cantrell in April of last year to discuss his groundbreaking work in the fields of landscape architecture, ecological analysis, technology, and artificial intelligence. In that interview, Cantrell describes his work as "cyborg ecologies" that focus on blurring the lines between natural and man-made systems. “I think a lot of people have issues with the idea that we’re actually extending even more control over the landscape,” said Cantrell. “I think there is a fear of that we’re constantly in discussion about how we relinquish control. I think it’s an open question.” He believes that the integration of technology and nature should be seen as a powerful and positive synthesis and something to be celebrated, as opposed to an “us versus them” duality between man and nature. Cantrell discusses the power of technology that is not only designed to serve mankind, but can also be used to serve the natural environment. In our interview, he explained: “I think this idea that there are competing goals and that humanity might not always be at the center of all of those goals—that takes somewhat of an enlightened viewpoint, but it also is one that is necessary for us to have.” Cantrell will step into his new role at the University of Virginia on June 25, 2017.
The Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) has unveiled the winners of its inaugural Richard Rogers Fellowship. Namik Mackic, Maik Novotny, Jose Castillo, Saidee Springall, Shantel Blakely, and Dirk van den Heuvel will spend three months undertaking urban and architectural research at Richard Rogers's seminal south London dwelling. The class of fellows will be awarded free travel to London as well as $10,000 to aid their research. The residency program was made possible after Richard and his wife Ruth donated the house to the school in 2016. Situated in Wimbledon, the Grade II listed building was built in 1969 and commissioned by Rogers’s parents, Dada and William Nino Rogers. The colorful residence, regarded by many as a British modern masterpiece, emulates the U.S. West Coast vernacular of the time and features a prefabricated yellow steel structure which is made visible by a glazed facade. "The spirit of the Fellowship is intended to carry forward and expand on Lord Rogers’s deep commitment to cities not as ends in themselves, but as a fundamental means of bettering human life," said Mohsen Mostafavi, dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design at Harvard GSD, in a press release. "At the GSD, our work is organized around the urgent issues cities are facing globally, a pedagogical approach requiring exploration and collaboration across disciplinary lines. We are very fortunate and excited about this opportunity to support, learn from, and promote such cross-disciplinary research internationally, in the context of London’s thriving architecture, design, and art communities and vast institutional resources." Rogers's Wimbledon dwelling will now be used for research into areas that have been pivotal in the architect's life and career. In doing so, questions pertaining to urbanism, sustainability, and how people use cities will be addressed. Projects from this year's fellows will look at public and affordable housing; how food and cooking transform cities; and citizen-driven urban regeneration initiatives.
The exhibition Designing Planes and Seams is now open at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). The exhibit is co-curated by Harold Koda, fashion scholar and former curator-in-chief of the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Ken Smith, acclaimed landscape architect. Designing Planes and Seams aims to explore the parallels between two seemingly disparate design fields—landscape and fashion—to prove that they may not be as unrelated as they first appear. “In the design arts, invention, innovation, and the discovery of new insights and methods of working often happen through cross-disciplinary investigation,” said Anita Berrizbeitia, professor of landscape architecture and chair of the GSD’s Department of Landscape Architecture, in a press release. In this cross-disciplinary exhibition, the curators propose that the two fields share a similar objective: creating structure for an organic body, revealing the designer’s intellectual process, and allowing for cultural expression. “In both clothing and landscape design, for example, seams join different material conditions, gradients, or directions of flow. When considered comparatively, interpretive frameworks emerge that broaden our imagination and yield new possibilities in the conceptualization of landscapes,” Berrizbeitia added. The exhibition includes six dress forms curated by Koda and two from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection, all paired with corresponding landscape architecture projects. The exhibit reveals each piece’s design process and the parallels shared by both disciplines, such as conceptual and tectonic responses to physical constraints. Select student projects from Smith’s Fall 2016 GSD studio “Inherent Vice,” which explored similar conditions of seams, junctures, materials, and form, specifically relating to landscape and urbanization, are also on view alongside the dress forms. The exhibition Designing Planes and Seams is on display until March 26. A reception featuring the curators, Koda, Smith, and Berrizbeitia, will be held on Friday, February 24, at 12:00 p.m. More information can be found at here.
Starting February 28 is a free online course from the Harvard Graduate School of Design via the edX learning platform. Titled The Architectural Imagination, the course aims to teach participants about the cultural backdrop to architecture and how to "read" architecture "as a cultural expression as well as a technical achievement." The Architectural Imagination lasts ten weeks (though is self-paced) and requires roughly three to five hours of engagement per week. Guiding you through the course will be its creators: K. Michael Hays, Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory and associate dean for academic affairs, Harvard University; Erika Naginski, professor of architectural history and director of graduate studies, Harvard University; and Antoine Picon, G. Ware Travelstead Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology and technology director of research, Harvard University. A statement on Harvard GSD's website reads:
Architecture is one of the most complexly negotiated and globally recognized cultural practices, both as an academic subject and a professional career. Its production involves all of the technical, aesthetic, political, and economic issues at play within a given society. Over the course of ten modules, we’ll examine some of history’s most important examples that show how architecture engages, mediates, and expresses a culture’s complex aspirations.Landmark buildings, selected for their cultural and architectural important from various historical contexts, will be used as a source for analytical material. Hands-on exercises such as drawing and modeling will also take place to bring students "close to the work of an actual architect or historian." The course's syllabus has broken down into three parts: Part I: Form and History Module 1: The Architectural Imagination: An Introduction Module 2: Reading Architecture: Column and Wall Module 3: Hegel and Architectural History Module 4: Aldo Rossi and Typology Part II: The Technology Effect Module 5: The Crystal Palace: Infrastructure and Detail Module 6: The Dialectics of Glass and Steel Module 7: Technology Tamed: Le Corbusier’s Machines for Living Part III: Representation and Context Module 8: Drawing Utopia: Visionary Architecture of the 18th Century Module 9: The Pompidou Center in the City of Paris Module 10: Presenting the Unrepresentable The edX platform was founded by Harvard and MIT in 2012. Now the free online education service offers up a wide variety of courses including some from ETH Zurich, and the University of Tokyo. To learn more about this course, visit its website here.
The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) recently announced the creation of the Phil Freelon Fellowship Fund, part of a wider $110-million-plus push (dubbed "Grounded Visionaries") to improve and expand the GSD. The fund will provide financial aid to African Americans and other underrepresented groups. Phil Freelon, the architect for whom the fellowship is named, called the fellowship’s establishment “an important step in broadening the GSD’s reach” at the announcement ceremony last week. “As the design profession continues to attract a more diverse talent base, this gift will provide students of color with financial assistance that could make pursuing an advanced degree at the GSD possible,” he said. Freelon earned his Master of Architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served as a Loeb Fellow at the GSD from 1989-1990. He is still closely involved with the GSD as a lecturer and researcher. His firm, The Freelon Group, has won dozens of awards for designing museums, higher education spaces, and science and technology facilities, and was acquired by Perkins + Will in 2014, where Freelon now serves on the board and as managing and design director of the North Carolina office. His work includes the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Historic Emancipation Park in Houston, and the recently opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. James G. Stockhard, Jr., former curator of the Loeb Fellowship, praised him as a role model for students at last week’s event. “He is the kind of leader—strong, clear, selfless, and principled—who helps the rest of us find the courage to join him in striving for the best we and our society can be. He asks us to be the best designers, the best colleagues, and the best citizens we can imagine,” he said.
The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) has launched the Richard Rogers Fellowship. The program will use esteemed British architect Lord Richard Rogers's seminal south London dwelling to host a residency program in aid of architectural and urban research. Situated in Wimbledon, the Grade II listed building was built in 1969 and commissioned by Rogers's parents, Dada and William Nino Rogers. The colorful residence, regarded by many as a British modern masterpiece, emulates the aesthetic that was popular on the U.S. West Coast at the time and features a prefabricated yellow steel structure which is made visible by a glazed facade. Rogers donated the home to Harvard GSD earlier this year, despite the building briefly going on the market for nearly $4.8 million in 2013. The new Harvard GSD fellowship is open "accomplished professionals and scholars working in any field related to the built environment.... And is dedicated to advancing research on a wide range of issues—social, economic, technological, political, environmental—that are critical to shaping the contemporary city," said the school in a press release. "The Fellowship is inspired by Lord Rogers’s commitment to cross-disciplinary investigation and engagement, evident across his prolific output as an architect, urbanist, author, and activist." By occupying the building, the school said they aim to ensure that the property continues to be used as a residence. Six fellows will be granted three-month terms at the house each year along with travel expenses to London, and $10,000 cash prize. "The goal of the residency program is to support research that addresses alternative and sustainable urban futures," the school said. The Harvard GSD is now accepting applications to the fellowship. Candidates are required to have completed a Bachelor’s degree, though the school stated their preference for "advanced degrees." A CV, portfolio of design work and/or research work, and research proposal must be submitted by November 28 of this year. More information can be found here. Winners will be announced in early December 2016.