Coupling an intensive critical and theoretical approach with practical, lab-based projects, Technology advances innovative methods for making and understanding form and technologically driven design through technological experimentation. As a separate concentration area within the Master in Design Studies program, the Technology track allows post-professional students to pursue a broad spectrum of inquiries, including design computation, digital fabrication, robotics, and the exploration of responsive environments. Cutting across scales, students engage subjects from the level of a single artifact or building to landscapes and urban systems. Despite the range of scales and subjects, each project shares this in common: a commitment to challenge existing modes of practice and design through technological invention.
With a roster of faculty members, each recognized experts in a respective specialty, the program offers students full access to state-of-the-art facilities—fabrication labs, robotics, CNC equipment, and rapid prototyping—as well as to courses and initiatives across the GSD and throughout Harvard University. Underscoring its emphasis on innovation and empiricism, the concentration area is closely aligned with several of the school’s research initiatives, particularly Design Robotics and Responsive Environments and Artifacts, where students can develop fully conceived prototypes.
Within Technology there are four sub-areas of concentration:
Design Computation includes programming, algorithm design and scripting techniques, parametric modeling and dimensionally-driven design, advanced visualization and animations as well as other computational approaches to design.
Responsive Environments pursues the design of virtual and physical worlds as an indivisible whole. Recognizing the all-pervasive nature of digital information in buildings and in the public realm, students investigate new hybrid spaces and environments that seamlessly integrate digital information and communication within purposefully conceived physical environments.
Advanced Materials and Systems courses study smart materials and environments, high performance materials and advanced structural materials and systems. Recent interests include high-performance ceramics and adaptive materials.
Digital Fabrication and Robotics leverage technology transfer in the investigation of new design opportunities that arise through the advent of cutting edge computer-controlled and robotic fabrication approaches. Prototyping efforts are supported through our state-of-the art fabrication lab that includes industrial robots as well as several CNC tools, rapid prototyping and other devices. Our students often work closely with the Design Robotics Group.
Faculty and Associated Programs
Martin Bechthold, Professor of Architectural Technology
Stephen Ervin, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture
Chuck Hoberman, Lecturer in Architecture
Chris Hoxie, Lecturer in Architecture
David Mah, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture
Panagiotis Michalatos, Assistant Professor of Architecture
Kiel Moe, Associate Professor of Architecture & Energy
Mark Mulligan, Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture
Nashid Nabian, Lecturer in Urban Planning and Design
John Nastasi, Lecturer in Architecture
Hanspeter Pfister, (FAS) Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science; Director of Visual Computing in the Initiative in Innovative Computing
Leire Asensio Villoria, Lecturer in Architecture
Rachel Vromann, Manager, Digital Fabrication Laboratory
Andrew Witt, Assistant Professor in Practice in Architecture
MDesS students running a 2012 Smart Geometry fabrication workshop together with Martin Bechthold and Nathan King.