Posts tagged with "Harvard":

The Bauhaus and Harvard

, Special Exhibitions Gallery, Harvard Art Museums
The Bauhaus and Harvard — mounted in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany — presents nearly 200 works by 74 artists, drawn almost entirely from the Busch-Reisinger Museum’s extensive Bauhaus collection. Founded in 1919 and closed just 14 years later, the Bauhaus was the 20th century’s most influential school of art, architecture, and design. Harvard University played host to the first Bauhaus exhibition in the United States in 1930, and went on to become an unofficial center for the Bauhaus in America when founding director Walter Gropius joined Harvard’s department of architecture in 1937. Today the Busch-Reisinger Museum houses the largest Bauhaus collection outside Germany, initiated and assembled through the efforts of Gropius and many former teachers and students who emigrated from Nazi Germany, including Anni and Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, Lyonel Feininger, and László Moholy-Nagy. The exhibition features rarely seen student exercises, iconic design objects, photography, textiles, typography, paintings, and archival materials. It explores the school’s pioneering approach to art education, the ways its workshops sought to revolutionize the experience of everyday life, the widespread influence of Bauhaus instruction in America, and Harvard’s own Graduate Center (1950), the first modernist building complex on campus, designed by Gropius’s firm The Architects Collaborative. A complementary exhibition installed in an adjacent gallery — Hans Arp’s Constellations II — features one of the site-specific works commissioned for the Graduate Center. A comprehensive digital resource launched in 2016 provides access to the museums’ more than 32,000 Bauhaus-related objects and shares scholarship on the school’s extensive ties to Harvard and the Greater Boston area. A publication inspired by The Bauhaus and Harvard and its related programming is due out in Fall 2020. Organized by the Harvard Art Museums. Curated by Laura Muir, Research Curator in the Division of Academic and Public Programs, Harvard Art Museums. Support for this project is provided by endowed funds, including the Daimler Curatorship of the Busch-Reisinger Museum Fund, the Charles L. Kuhn Endowment Fund, and the Care of the Busch-Reisinger Museum Collection Fund. The publication is supported by the Harvard Art Museums Mellon Publication Funds, including the Carola B. Terwilliger Fund. In addition, exhibition related programming is made possible by the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, which was established through the generosity of the wife, children, and friends of the late M. Victor Leventritt, Harvard Class of 1935. Modern and contemporary art programs at the Harvard Art Museums are made possible in part by generous support from the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art. Explore more about the Bauhaus centenary: bauhaus100.com Share your experience: #Bauhaus100 #HarvardArtMuseums Related Programming Information about associated programming for The Bauhaus and Harvard, including the opening celebration, film screenings, a symposium, gallery talks, and more, can be found below in the Related Events section. Watch Berlin-based artist Judith Raum present a lecture-performance evoking the figure of Bauhaus weaver Otti Berger, in conjunction with the opening celebration held on February 7, 2019. Two films by Raum are also being presented in the Lightbox Gallery installation Judith Raum: Raveled Fabrics, on view through March 17, 2019.
Placeholder Alt Text

Harvard’s HouseZero is a live-in lab for sustainable renovation

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.
Placeholder Alt Text

Mohsen Mostafavi to resign as dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design

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.
Placeholder Alt Text

What is New England architecture?

New England might not garner the attention that other places get for contemporary architecture, but the region has a legacy of world-class architecture, including some great works of modernism. Two iconic monuments of modern architecture in America are in New England—Le Corbusier’s Carpenter Center at Harvard and Alvar Aalto’s Baker House at MIT—along with seminal late-modern buildings such as Boston City Hall and the Yale Center for British Art. Today, many contemporary design stars have built structures across New England, including Frank Gehry, Rafael Moneo, Norman Foster, Herzog & de Meuron, Michael Hopkins, Renzo Piano, Charles Correa, Fumihiko Maki, and Tadao Ando. The finalists for a competition for a new contemporary art museum on Boston’s waterfront included Switzerland’s Peter Zumthor and Studio Granda from Iceland. The only local firm considered for the museum was the then relatively young Office dA; principals Nader Tehrani and Monica Ponce de León went on to fame as architectural educators beyond Boston. Although not unique to New England, the whole mentality of "if-you-are-good-you-must-be-from-somewhere-else" is found here. As one might expect, Boston is the center of most architectural activity in the region. Yet, despite a heroic postwar age of Brutalism, too much contemporary architecture barely rises above the level of commercial real estate. With the exception of Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Institute of Contemporary Art and David Hacin’s District Hall, much of the frantic new downtown construction features the kind of glass boxes that pierce city skylines from Dubai to Shanghai. The city’s embarrassingly named Innovation District (often called the Inundation District due to its propensity for flooding) is scaleless, overbearing, and disconnected from the soul of Boston. OMA’s new scheme for the area—which the architects gratuitously refer to as “a dynamic and vibrant area that is quickly emerging as one of the most exciting neighborhoods and destinations in the country”—is an 18-story glass cube with the dreary moniker of 88 Seaport Boulevard. One might have hoped for more from OMA’s first Boston commission. The block will offer almost half a billion square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of retail, and a paltry 5,000 square feet for civic and cultural use. Its gimmick is slicing the building into two sections with some terracing and plantings sandwiched in between. OMA disingenuously claims this double-volume exercise “creates diverse typologies for diverse industries,” and furthermore “generates an opportunity to draw in the district’s public domain.” In short, Boston will get an off-the-shelf dystopian nightmare. However, the Engineering Research Center at Brown University by KieranTimberlake is not just another knockoff. Although flush from the controversial but triumphant U.S. Embassy in London, the Philadelphians’ latest New England project is what good contemporary architecture ought to be. The $88-million, 80,000-square-foot laboratory and classroom building is both understated and environmentally responsible. Its 22 pristine labs steer the Ivy League school into uncharted territory in nano research, energy studies, and information technology. The ERC is a triumph, especially given Brown’s decades of struggle to find an appropriate contemporary architectural voice. Recent work on the Providence campus includes an international relations institute by Rafael Viñoly—the design of which was dumbed down to mollify historic preservationists; a tepid Maya Lin sculpture; and an awkwardly sited Diller Scofidio + Renfro art center that was commissioned to show that Brown could do trendy and edgy. These common missteps are best exemplified by the university’s first competition for an athletic center. Although the competition was officially won by SHoP, the donor sponsoring it declared his dislike of modern architecture and demanded the school hire Robert A.M. Stern instead. The cutesy Georgian result is predictably bland. The ERC was ahead of schedule and under budget, and rather than treating Rhode Islanders as rubes, the architects created what Stephen Kieran calls “a nice piece of Providence urbanism.” While the firm’s great strength is diminishing the environmental impact of their buildings, the ERC also contributes a handsome facade to the campus’s traditional buildings. The fiberglass-reinforced concrete fins, the building’s signature element, impose a timeless probity worthy of Schinkel. If KieranTimberlake grows weary of being identified as the designers of the $1-billion embassy that Trump slammed as “lousy and horrible,” imagine how tired Tod Williams and Billie Tsien must be of consistently being tagged with the label “designers of the Obama Library.” Is a client choosing them because of the reflected fame? Will all new works by the New York-based architects be measured against that Chicago shrine? Yet Williams and Tsien have created a number of noteworthy academic works in New England that deserve similar attention, including buildings at Bennington and Dartmouth. Their theater and dance building at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, is almost complete. Here, the very long shadow is not cast by the architects’ own projects, but by Louis Kahn’s library across campus. Kahn’s brick tribute to 19th-century Yankee mills—and the symmetry of Georgian style—is one of the great pieces of architecture in New England. The big block of the drama building by Williams and Tsien wisely does not choose to echo Kahn but is curiously almost a throwback to the early Brutalism of I. M. Pei. It establishes a more rugged character with a marvelous texture composed of gray Roman bricks. A more satisfying Granite State structure by Williams and Tsien is a library, archives, and exhibition complex at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. MacDowell is a century-old artists’ colony where thousands of painters, writers, and musicians, including James Baldwin, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, and Willa Cather, have sought quiet and isolation in a collection of rustic cabins in the woods. Thornton Wilder wrote his classic play Our Town during his time here. Williams and Tsien’s sensitive addition to the colony’s 1920s library is only 3,000 square feet, cost around $2 million, and is an exquisitely crafted gem. The single-story library is constructed of a nearly black granite. Set in a birch grove created by the leading modern landscape architects in Boston, Reed Hilderbrand, this gathering place for residents appears at one with the rocky soil and forests of Northern New England. A 23-foot-tall outdoor chimney flanking the entrance plaza to the library makes reference to the hearths in all of the MacDowell studios. It also looks like a primitive stele, giving the entire ensemble an aspect that is more primal than modern. Another prominent New York architect, Toshiko Mori, has produced a simple yet elegant warehouse for an art museum in the faded seaport and art destination of Rockland, Maine. Built to house a long-time contemporary art cooperative that had no permanent collection and only inadequate facilities for exhibitions and classes, the saw-toothed clerestories at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) make reference to New England factories while bringing in what the architect calls “that special Maine light.” Like those functional structures, Mori used economical, non-custom materials such as plasterboard and corrugated zinc that wrap the exterior, embracing the lack of funds to her advantage. Despite the nod to Rockland’s working class vibe, Mori created a thoughtfully wrought sophisticated work of art on an unremarkable side street. Mori’s Japanese heritage comes through in her subtle proportions based on a 4-foot grid. The CMCA offers a refreshing contrast to extravagantly costly new museums by superstar architects—the 11,000-square-foot arts center cost only $3.5 million. Mori has crafted a museum based on flexibility rather than attitude. A summer resident of nearby North Haven, she endowed her simple statement with an air of Yankee frugality. But perhaps the most encouraging new project is the $52-million John W. Olver Design Building at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. A cooperative venture of three departments in three different colleges—architecture, landscape, and building technology—the autumn-hued, aluminum-wrapped school embodies the dynamic spirit of New England’s first publicly supported architecture program. The 87,000-square-foot studio and administrative space is the work of Boston–based Leers Weinzapfel and landscape designer Stephen Stimson, with contributions from the faculty-cum-clients. Construction Technology chair Alexander Schreyer, for example, a guru of heavy-timber structural systems, helped fashion what is perhaps the largest wood-frame building on the East Coast. The zipper trusses that span the 84-by-56-foot, two-story-high common area demonstrate the inventiveness of wood technology. The glulam trusses arrived on-site precut and were snapped together with pins. In short, the academic contributors got to show off their research and also benefit from it. In a region noted for some of the nation’s oldest and most renowned design schools, the Design Building announces the arrival of the new kid on the block. Its handsome envelope is pierced by asymmetrically placed tall and narrow fenestration as a nod to the doors of the tobacco barns that are the university’s neighbors in Massachusetts’s Pioneer Valley. From its roots as a fledgling offering in the art department in the early 1970s, design education at UMass has grown into a powerhouse. As the core of a complex of postwar and contemporary architecture, the Design Building helps to bring Roche Dinkeloo’s Brutalist Fine Arts Center into contact with a business school designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). While BIG’s work is sometimes incredibly innovative, the firm’s UMass project looks as if it might be another example of a second-tier work foisted on a boondocks location. Less flashy than its newer neighbor, Leers Weinzapfel’s Design Building is nonetheless a bold, homegrown achievement. New England’s patrimony is a tapestry of local and outside talent. A significant regional building would not be a postmodern structure in the shape of a lighthouse or a neotraditional re-creation of a Richardson library, but something like the UMass studios. Capturing the spirit of the best of New England design depends little upon reputation and huge expenditure. Rather, there is a direct correlation between realizing a quality work of art and understanding the region’s history of wresting a hard-won life from the granite earth. The challenge for successfully practicing architecture in New England is accepting an uncompromising intellectual toughness that demands respect for the eminently practical as well as the aspirational.
Placeholder Alt Text

Harvard study suggests open-office layouts hurt communication

Open-plan offices are all the rage. Companies continue to strip away walls, push desks together, and create higher energy environments in the name of fostering face-to-face interaction, but a new article titled "The impact of the ‘open’ workspace on human collaboration" published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences presents findings that suggest that open office designs might actually reduce in-person interaction. The article reports on a study conducted by Ethan Bernstein and Stephen Turban of Harvard Business School that is the first to quantifiably measure human interaction before and after implementing an open-office floorplan. The researchers tracked productivity among 52 individuals and discovered that taking away physical barriers caused employees to erect their own methods of isolation. The sample population was outfitted with badges that would measure the frequency and length of conversations, and that data was combined with email and instant message tracking. At the end of the 15-day study, researchers had found that employees spent 72 percent less time interacting in person and instead sent 56 percent more emails and 67 percent more instant messages, and that those messages were 75 percent longer on average. The company also reported that overall productivity had decreased after the layout change, which researchers attributed to less information being conveyed over email than in person. This dramatic change in interaction patterns was attributed to employees' increased visibility and lack of privacy. Once coworkers were able to see each other’s screens and more easily overhear conversations, they reportedly wore headphones more, cutting down on approachability, and tried to look busy at their computers, which meant sending more emails. Ultimately, the report found that the projected increases in productivity and promised spontaneous meetings ran up against the fundamental human need for privacy. Researchers also cautioned that while removing barriers would seem like an intuitive way to have employees engage with each other, mandated social interaction was much less efficient than occasional meetings. The downsides of designing office- and barrier-free workplaces, other than the acoustic challenges, aren’t new. AN questioned the trend in 2013 after a series of articles raised concerns that the privacy-communication tradeoff wasn’t working in employees' favor. A growing number of workers are also searching for quieter environs and wellness spaces outside of the office. While it’s unlikely that this report will be the final nail in the coffin of trendy industrial workplaces with rows of undifferentiated benching, it may help architects and interior designers keep privacy in mind when designing these spaces in the future.
Placeholder Alt Text

UVA School of Architecture appoints Felipe Correa as new Chair of Architecture

The University of Virginia School of Architecture has appointed Felipe Correa as the Vincent and Eleanor Shea Professor and new chair of architecture. Correa is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Architecture in Urban Design program at the Graduate School of Design of Harvard University. He will start the new position on July 25. Felipe Correa is a renowned architect, urbanist, author and professor. He founded and manages Somatic Collaborative, a research-based architecture, landscape and urbanism studio based in New York and Quito, Ecuador. Correa has been teaching at Harvard since 2008. Since 2009, he has served as director of the MAUD program of the GSD. His research, design and writing have been distributed widely. At Harvard, Correa was the co-founder and Principal Investigator of the South America Project, a trans-disciplinary platform that studies design issues of the South American continent. Correa is also releasing a new book in October titled the São Paulo: A Graphic Biography, which interrogates the Brazilian city’s fast-paced growth and socio-economic divide between the city’s financial center and its periphery in the post-industrial context. “As one of the leading scholars on architecture and urban design in Latin America, Felipe brings a wealth of knowledge, creativity and experience to UVA,” said Ila Berman, Dean of the School of Architecture, in a press release. “He will be a tremendous addition to the leadership team of the Architecture School and we’re extremely excited to welcome him to the community.” Correa succeeds Bill Sherman, Lawrence Lewis, Jr. Eminent Scholar Professor and current chair of architecture.  
Placeholder Alt Text

Here are the winners of the Society of Architectural Historians 2018 awards

On April 20, the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) announced the 2018 awardees of the SAH Publication Awards and the SAH Award for Film and Video. The seven awardees are divided into six categories, ranging from exhibition catalogues to documentary film. The Society of Architectural Historians is an international organization advocating the study and preservation of architecture and urbanism. The organization was founded in 1940 at Harvard University, but is now located in Chicago’s Charnley-Persky House, a residence designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan. Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award: This award annually recognizes distinguished scholarly publications in the field of architectural history by a North American scholar. There are two winners: Kathryn E. O’Rourke Modern Architecture in Mexico City: History Representation, and the Shaping of a Capital O’ Rourke’s Modern Architecture in Mexico City presents a narrative of Mexico City’s distinctive modernist movement, one blending Aztec motifs and International Style architecture within the same context. O’Rourke looks toward educational centers, government ministries, and private residences to construct her interpretation of this distinct historical moment. Mrinalini Rajagopalan Building Histories: The Archival and Affective Lives of Five Monuments in Modern Delhi Rajagopolan’s Building Histories examines the historical memories constructed around “five medieval monuments in Delhi–the Red Fort, Rasul Numa Dargah, Jama Masjid, Purana Qila, and the Qutb complex.” Through archival research, the author seeks to demonstrate how colonial and post-colonial authorities have manipulated architectural history and artifacts to suit their political needs.   Philip Johnson Exhibition Catalogue Award: This award acknowledges an exhibition catalogue that explores architectural history in a unique and engaging way. Nina Stritzler-Levine and Timo Riekko, Editors Artek and the Aaltos: Creating a Modern World Atrek and the Aaltos: Creating a Modern World began as a Bard Graduate Center exhibition focusing on Finnish architects Alvar Aalto and Aino Marsio-Alto and their design company, Artek. A catalogue of this exhibition, the book features images of over three hundred objects designed by the company and critical interpretations of their work.   Spiro Kostof Award: This award recognizes interdisciplinary studies of urban history that advance our understanding of urban development. John North Hopkins The Genesis of Roman Architecture Hopkins’ The Genesis of Roman Architecture tracks the development of Roman architecture as the dominant stylistic influence of the Mediterranean world. Additionally, the book examines cultural exchanges between the growing Roman Republic and neighboring civilizations and their impact on Roman artistry.   Honorable Mention Michele Lamprakos Building a World Heritage City: Sanaa, Yemen Building a World Heritage City examines Yemen’s capital as a historic city that has continued its traditional building methods and ways of life to the present day. With the backdrop of the ongoing Yemeni Civil War, the book provides an eloquent account of the threatened ancient settlement.   Elisabeth Blair MacDougall Book Award: The MacDougall Book Award annually awards a distinguished work focusing on the history of landscape architecture. John Beardsley, Editor Cultural Landscape Heritage in Sub-Saharan Africa Beardsley’s Cultural Landscape Heritage in Sub-Saharan Africa is a collection of essays focusing on pre-colonial African landscaping. The sites discussed in the book range from pathways to ceremonial spaces. Through this discussion, the author highlights how these sites were perceived by colonial authorities and by contemporary nation-building policies.   Founders’ JSAH Article Award: The Founders’ Award recognizes an article published in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. Sabine von Fischer “A Visual Imprint of Moving Air: Methods, Models, and Media in Architectural Sound Photography, ca. 1930” Von Fischer’s “A Visual Imprint of Moving Air” examines the role of photography and images in the early 20th century study of architectural acoustics. In particular, von Fischer focuses on the experiments of Franz Max Osswald, a Swiss academic who used the schlieren technique for photographic sound.   SAH Award for Film and Video: This award recognizes a film or video that deepens the understanding of the built environment and delivers it to a new audience. Peter Rosen, Director Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future Rosen’s documentary on Eero Saarinen chronicles the life and work of the Finnish-American architect, and is part of PBS' American Masters television series. The film includes interviews with contemporary architects Cesar Pelli, Robert A.M Stern and Rafael Vinoly.
Placeholder Alt Text

These three new developments could reshape Harvard Square

On June 1, a few dozen Cambridge, Massachusetts, officials, business leaders, and other key figures in the area gathered around a breakfast spread in Parsnip, a tony neighborhood restaurant owned by the billionaire investor Gerald Chan. They were there to glimpse a long-awaited plan for another one of Chan’s properties, the long-vacant Harvard Square Theater at 10 Church Street. Anthony Galluccio, Chan’s attorney and the former mayor of Cambridge, unveiled a bold proposal to knock down the 82-year-old cinema and replace it with a 60,000-square-foot mixed-use building with two theaters below-grade, street-level retail, and five stories of office space.

Two renderings released to the public show a light-filled atrium enclosed by glass and visible from the street through a gap in the facade, which is composed of alternating bands of glass and textured cork-and-cement panels rising out like classical pilasters. The design, by architects Paulo Martins Barata and Luís Teixeira of the Portuguese firm Promontorio and Elizabeth Whittaker of Boston-based Merge Architects, “will be contemporary in its presence and identity, while remaining culturally respectful of the overall architectural language throughout Harvard Square,” according to a statement from Whittaker.

Chan’s plans for the cinema building were well-received, staking out a rare bit of common ground in the long-running and increasingly heated debate over the future of Harvard Square. The cinema is the latest and perhaps most striking change in a flurry of new development that will transform Harvard Square for good—and, some local activists fear, for the worse.

Although the cinema building dates to 1925, preservationists did not object to calls for its demolition. Charles Sullivan, executive director of the Cambridge Historical Commission, described it as a “big brick box” interrupting the flow of Church Street.

Not all the changes to the neighborhood, however, are being welcomed quite so warmly. Take the block enclosed by Brattle, Mt. Auburn, and John F. Kennedy Streets, for example. Developer Regency Centers owns three adjacent buildings on the site, and has plans to replace one with a new five-story structure. In addition to restoring the historic facade of the neighboring flatiron Abbott building, Regency would widen the retail footprint on site, replacing the “World’s Only Curious George Store” with a concourse and escalator at the head of the building’s prominent frontage onto Harvard Square.

Some worry the overhaul will amount to a glorified mall, attracting chain stores instead of locally owned businesses and turning the site’s back on the center of the square.

“This has been a longstanding issue in Harvard Square,” said Charles Sullivan of the Cambridge Historical Commission. As a practical matter, however, Sullivan said Regency is not calling for a mall, because all of the building’s stores would open onto the street, not an enclosed concourse. City officials are in discussions with the developer about how many stores would be allowed in the new building; current proposals range from five to nine.

Perhaps the most contentious property in Harvard Square is also its smallest. After three decades as an eclectic newsstand, a former subway-station headhouse at the heart of the square has become a stand-in for a broader debate about the character of the neighborhood. The Harvard Square Subway Kiosk was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, but its future remains unclear.

A $4.6 million renovation plan for the square initially called for the kiosk’s demolition, but last year Cambridge City Council launched a study to landmark the building in response to public outcry. A city-appointed committee evaluating options for the kiosk’s future had its first meeting in May.

Denise Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, would like to see the kiosk become a permanent showcase for area businesses, featuring wares from a rotating cast of small businesses in the neighborhood. That would mean the end of Out of Town News, the 500-square-foot kiosk’s current tenant, which Jillson derides as a purveyor of tobacco, lottery tickets, and pornography.

About 15 years ago, development in Harvard Square settled into a relative lull, said Sullivan. With several high-profile projects underway today, however, tensions run high once again.

“As real estate development waxes and wanes, the temperature of the discussion changes accordingly,” said Sullivan. “There probably have been dozens of watershed moments in the history of the Square. It’s always evolved.”

Placeholder Alt Text

Society of Architectural Historians announces 2016 SAH Awards

The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) has named its 2016 SAH/Mellon Awards Recipients. This year’s winners are Peter Christensen, Itohan I. Osayimese, and Robin Schuldenfrei. The award is specifically designed to provide financial support for scholars in the process of publishing their first monographs related to the history of the built environment. Often scholars are responsible for paying for the rights and permissions for images, as well as commissioning new maps, charts, and line drawings. Peter Christensen’s forthcoming book, Germany and the Ottoman Railways: Art, Empire, and Infrastructure (Yale University Press) covers his research on the politics surrounding the construction of train stations, settlements, and other infrastructure in the context of the Ottoman railway network. Christensen is assistant professor of art history at the University of Rochester Itohan I. Osayimese’s Colonialism and the Archive of Modern Architecture in Germany (University of Pittsburgh Press) explores the relationship between colonialism and German modernist architecture from the 1850s to the 1930s. Osayimese’s ties the forms of German modernism to the country’s colonial endeavors in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Osayimese is an assistant professor of the history of art and architecture at Brown University. Luxury and Modernism: Architecture and the Object in Germany 1900–1933 (Princeton University Press) by Robin Schuldenfrei examines the divide between modernism’s democratic and utopian ideals and existing design and production structures. Schuldenfrei is the Katja and Nicolai Tangen Lecturer in 20th-century Modernism at The Courtauld Institute of Art. Founded in 1940 at Harvard University, the Society of Architectural Historians works with scholars and professionals. The SAH provides historical services and guidance to its 3,000 members and 800 institutional members in 56 countries. Architecture, urbanism, and landscape history are all covered by the SAH. The SAH also maintains the Archipedia online encyclopedia of American architecture.
Placeholder Alt Text

Hopkins Architects moves forward with revamp of Sert’s Holyoke Center at Harvard

British firm Hopkins Architects (formerly Michael Hopkins & Partners) has been granted planning permission from local authorities to build the new Smith Campus Center for Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hopkins was selected for the project back in 2013, but plans are now becoming clear with new renderings of the project. Included in the plan are shopping areas, cafes, and student exhibition areas. These areas will look out onto the open space laid out in front of the building, while sitting alongside and sheltering the study spaces inside. Such a scheme creates a defined hierarchy within the structure. Outdoor social space is separated from the quieter, more formal areas of study via the threshold of shopping, cafe, exhibition spaces, and reception area. The plan will become part of the Josep Lluis Sert's 1960s design for the Holyoke Center. Joining onto the exterior facade (as seen in the pictures) will be a steel structure, clad mainly in glass with softwood and concrete interior. After being appointed to the project in 2013, Hopkins Architects' vision for the Smith Campus was formed after asking students, faculty and staff about what they thought the campus should be. An exhaustive study into this comprised public meetings, over 25 focus groups, and almost 6,000 responses to University-wide survey. “One of our key design objectives was to ensure that the building engages the vibrancy of all of Harvard Square,” said Tanya Iatridis, senior director of University planning, speaking to the Harvard Gazette. “The new Smith Campus Center will embody the aspirations and values that we hold dear and seek to preserve. It will draw us together more closely, strengthening the sense of community at Harvard by encouraging spontaneous interactions among students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the broader community,” Harvard President Drew Faust told the Harvard Gazette. “While plans are not yet final, and we have more feedback to gather, we are all pleased with the project’s direction and progress.” Joining Hopkins will be U.K.-based firms, Arup on the engineering team and  Faithful + Gould as project management consultants. It won't be an all British show however, as U.S. practice Bruner/Cott will be executive architect and Cambridge firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates will serve as landscape architect. The project is expected to break ground later in 2016 with the new campus expected to open in 2018.
Placeholder Alt Text

Harvard GSD material processes students build an intricate ceramic wall at Cevisama

Cevisama is the largest annual ceramic and terracotta exhibition in the world. Architects and designers from the whole world are here, but there is almost no North American representation—either displaying products, media reporting on building advances with the material, or architects looking for new products. Thus it was surprising to run across this Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) project from their Material Processes and Systems Group student studio. It is one of the most advanced and exciting projects in the entire fair. Have a closer look below.
Placeholder Alt Text

Harvard experiments with new science and engineering facilities designed by Behnisch Architekten

Harvard University has submitted plans by Behnisch Architekten with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) for a six story, 500,000-square-foot science and engineering complex on its Allston campus. Stuttgart- and Boston-based Behnisch Architekten is designing new laboratories, classroom space, research facilities, and retail space for the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The home of the Earthwatch Institute, at 114 Western Avenue, will also be renovated by the architects. The design responds to the layout of Harvard Yard, a "human scale" network of communal space. Like most of Behnisch Architekten's projects, the structure will capitalize on ecological principles: natural ventilation, renewable energy from geothermal and wind, roof gardens, and heat recovery and retention. In a statement, Matt Noblett, partner at Behnisch Architekten, explained the synergistic aspects of his firm's design: “The design of the Science and Engineering Complex project pulls together a number of threads of contemporary life certain to influence coming generations: the engineering enterprise as a decisive influence in the discovery and resolution of some of the world’s most intractable problems; cross-disciplinary efforts as critical to major research initiatives; and genuine leadership in the area of sustainable design and urban development.”