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Meet the 2016–2017 Loeb Fellows

This year’s cohort of Loeb Fellows at the Harvard Graduate School of Design continues the program’s tradition of defying simple categorization, and shares a belief that lies at the program’s core: design has the power to advance positive social outcomes. The range of accomplishments that they bring to the fellowship both illustrates and fuels this belief.

Loeb Fellows enrich the GSD community professionally, pedagogically, and personally. Over the course of the fellowship year, they undertake independent study in consult with the Fellowship Curator, while also attending a weekly group seminar and other fellowship events. They embed themselves directly in the academic life of the School, serving as mentors and critics for GSD students, and resources for GSD faculty. Fellows also audit classes at the GSD and throughout the University.

“Loeb Fellows strike a balance at the GSD between ally and provocateur, student and mentor,” says John Peterson (LF ’06), the Loeb Fellowship’s curator and founder of nonprofit Public Architecture. “The program is wholly unique in design education and this year’s fellows are an exciting group of artists, designers, critics and activists.”

The 2016–2017 Loeb Fellows are:

  • Karen Abrams, Diversity and Community Affairs Manager, Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment. Abrams’s civic engagement toolkits help low-income communities of color participate in land use and design decision-making and reimagine their neighborhoods.
  • Greta Byrum, Director, New America Resilient Communities Program, New York, NY. Byrum has demonstrated how community-led technologies can support digital justice, expand social capital, and strengthen climate resiliency. 
  • Emi Kiyota, Founder and Director, Ibasho, Washington, DC. Following the 2011 Japan tsunami, Kiyota’s Ibasho café represented a place of belonging and purpose for vulnerable elders and a haven of support for all generations.
  • Mark Lamster, Architecture Critic, Dallas Morning News; Professor in Practice, University of Texas at Arlington. Lamster has elevated the City of Dallas’s conversation on architecture and urban planning and championed progressive policies, preservation, and higher design standards for all citizens. 
  • Pallavi Kalia Mande, Director, Charles River Watershed Association Blue Cities Initiative, Boston, MA. Mande’s water-centric environmental restoration work in the Boston metropolitan area has emphasized community collaboration to ensure environmental justice for vulnerable populations.
  • David Molander Multimedia Artist, Stockholm and New York, NY. Molander’s artifacts, public installations, film, and publications raise crucial questions of how and why we build our cities, who benefits, and who makes the decisions.
  • Alessandro Petti, Cofounder, Campus in Camps and DAAR, Italy and Palestinian Territories. The educational programs Petti has developed generate community-driven spatial and social solutions that combat the political and social exclusion in Palestinian refugee camps.
  • Emmanuel Pratt, Cofounder, Sweet Water Foundation, Chicago, IL. For Pratt, urban agriculture and youth development are the means to achieve food security, neighborhood stabilization, and ecological sustainability for vulnerable communities.
  • Rahel Shawl Zelleke, Architect and Principal, RAAS Architects, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Bridging traditional and contemporary approaches, Zelleke has elevated design expectations in Ethiopia and mentored developing professionals for an architecture that is equitable and true to its environment.

Now in its fifth decade, the GSD’s Loeb Fellowship was the inspiration of John L. Loeb (AB ’24). While chairman of the GSD’s development program in the 1960s, Loeb imagined bringing accomplished, mid-career practitioners to the GSD and Harvard for a year to, in his words, “have the run of the place.” Loeb was convinced they would return to their work with new ideas and energy, and foresaw their forming a powerful network of colleagues. Loeb and his wife Frances endowed the Loeb Fellowship as part of a gift to the GSD’s 1968 capital campaign.

Today, Loeb Fellowship alumni are leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors at every level of important decision-making throughout the nation, and increasingly the world. In 1988, the Loeb Fellowship received a National Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects “for improving the quality of the built and natural environment through the education of the practitioners who affect that environment.”

To learn more about past, present, and future Loeb Fellowship news and projects, please visit the fellowship’s blog, LOEBlog.

And to meet this year's Loeb Fellows and hear about their work, come to one of the upcoming “Meet the Loebs” events:

Monday, September 12, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Gund Hall, Stubbins Room 112
Greta Byrum, David Molander, and Mark Lamster

Tuesday, September 13, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Gund Hall, Stubbins Room 112
Karen Abrams, Pallavi Mande, Emmanuel Pratt

Thursday, September 15, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Gund Hall, Room 124
Alessandro Petti, Emi Kiyota, Rahel Shawl Zelleke