A look back at an eventful academic year

A look back at a few of the projects and moments that marked the past year at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Please also visit Dean Mohsen Mostafavi’s year in review.

June 2016

Platform 8 is named a winner in Design Observer/AIGA’s 50 Books | 50 Covers competition. “For me, this publication is an effort to simultaneously present an archaeological documentation into the working concepts of design and research—a reveal, exposing a particular moment of design culture at the Harvard GSD—and to provide a projective platform for defining new possibilities,” writes Platform 8 editor Zaneta Hong (MLA ’07).

alpine shelter 2Alpine Shelter Skuta, designed by Frederick Kim, Katie MacDonald, and Erin Pellegrino (all MArch ’16), is honored in Core77’s annual Design Awards.

July 2016

Career Discovery, the GSD’s six-week summer program for those interested in exploring design and design culture, celebrates its 45th anniversary.

August 2016

The Bauhaus Special Collection is launched by the Harvard Art Museums. The comprehensive new digital resource, showcasing some key GSD figures, indexes more than 32,000 works and items—photographs, textiles, paintings, periodicals, and other curiosities—that comprise the museums’ Bauhaus-related archives, among the world’s first and largest such collections.

The City Form Lab at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design uses a novel fabrication method to design and build a grid structure for the Gund Hall courtyard.

September 2016

“Towards a Critical Pragmatism: Contemporary Architecture in China” exhibition opens in the main gallery of Gund Hall. With the aim of encouraging further conversation about the present and future state of China’s architecture culture, the exhibition highlights several buildings in five thematic categories—cultural, regeneration, digital, rural, and residential—and showcases the architects’ commitment to conceptual criticality and quality of production.

“Towards a Critical Pragmatism: Contemporary Architecture in China” in the main gallery of Gund Hall.

The GSD welcomes the 2016-2017 class of Loeb Fellows.

10012016_Alumni_Reunion_816Alumni from classes ending in 1′s and 6′s returned to campus for Reunion Weekend. Events included a mentoring breakfast with students, discussion sessions with leadership from each of the program areas, and tours of design spaces around Harvard and Boston.

A group of students travel to Japan to begin the Fall 2016 studio abroad program led by Toyo Ito, design critic in architecture.

Megan Panzano (MArch ’10), design critic in architecture, receives the Harvard Excellence in Teaching Award for her instruction in the Harvard College Architecture Studies track for undergraduate students.

October 2016

The GSD launches the Richard Rogers Fellowship, a research residency for experts and practitioners whose work is focused on the built environment and its capacity to advance the quality of human life. Lord Richard Rogers and his wife, restaurateur Lady Ruth Rogers, visit and speak at the GSD as the School’s Senior Loeb Scholars.

Rem Koolhaas, professor of architecture and urban design, shares his current preoccupations during an evening lecture. “We are in a radically divided world” in which “architecture is not dealing with those political issues in a really sophisticated way,” Koolhaas told the audience.

The GSD celebrates the life and work of Zaha Hadid with an event at the School featuring some of Hadid’s closes collaborators and friends. During the event, the GSD announces the establishment of the Zaha Hadid/Omniyat Fellowship Fund to provide financial aid to qualifying students.

Image from Patrik Schumacher, Elia Zenghelis, Xin Zhang, “Zaha Hadid: A Celebration” event
Dean Mohsen Mostafavi, Xin Zhang, Elia Zenghelis, and Patrik Schumacher at “Zaha Hadid: A Celebration.”

The Kid Gets Out of the Picture at the GSD, curated by assistant professor Andrew Holder, opens in Frances Loeb Library. The exhibition uses the vocabulary of early nineteenth-century picturesque landscape architecture to explore design in a contemporary context.

Oct. 27, 2016: Artist Christo discusses The Floating Piers, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s most recent finished work, conceived in 1970 and realized in the summer of 2016, along with two upcoming projects: Over the River, for the Arkansas River in Colorado, and The Mastaba, for the United Arab Emirates.Artist Christo speaks as part of the Rouse Visiting Artist Program. “Because I’m a very optimistic person, I think everything will work out,” he said. “I know we live in difficult times, but if I’m not an optimist, I would never do this work.”

November 2016

The GSD, in partnership with the Harvard University Office of the Executive Vice President, Harvard Campus Services, Harvard Planning Office, Graffito SP, and the Zone 3 initiative, announces a design-build competition in North Allston for GSD students. The competition site, known as the Grove, sits at the critical neighborhood intersection of Western Avenue and North Harvard Street.

President Barack Obama announces his intent to appoint two GSD faculty members to the United States Commission of Fine Arts: Toni L. Griffin (LF ’98), professor in practice of urban planning; and Alex Krieger (MCP ’77), professor in practice of urban design.

The GSD launches the Phil Freelon (LF ’90) Fellowship Fund to provide financial aid to students attending the GSD with the intent to expand academic opportunities for African American and other under-represented architecture and design students.

“Indonesia’s Urban Story” an exhibition produced by the City Form Lab at the GSD in partnership with World Bank Indonesia, opens on Harvard Plaza. “The exhibit attempts to shed some light onto the fascinating challenges the country is facing with rapid urban growth,” says Andres Sevtsuk, assistant professor of urban planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and principal investigator at the City Form Lab.

December 2016

Harvard Design Magazine launches its 43rd issue, entitled “Shelf Life” and themed around storage.

January 2017

The GSD student organization Women in Design travels to Washington, D.C. to join the Women’s March on Washington.

Over J-term, a group of eight GSD students work with Autodesk in South Boston and researchers from Tokyo University to design and build the Komorebi Pavilion: a fully transparent structure using advanced computational analysis to guide its form-making. The project emerged from a challenge issued by structural engineer Jun Sato during a two-day workshop he led last fall, in collaboration with Mark Mulligan (MArch ’90), associate professor in practice.

Jun Sato Workshop
Students hear from Jun Sato during a two-day workshop at the GSD.

Muji chairman Masaaki Kanai and product designer Naoto Fukasawa lecture at the GSD as part of the Rouse Visiting Artist Program. The following day, Fukasawa leads a workshop for GSD students on the value of good design at a tangible scale organized by Mark Mulligan (MArch ’90), associate professor in practice.

February 2017

The GSD launches its first so-called massive open online course (MOOC): “The Architectural Imagination,” led by K. Michael Hays, the Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Designing Planes and Seams ExhibitDesigning Planes and Seams, an exhibition interested in the parallels between clothing design and landscape architecture, opens in Frances Loeb Library. It is co-curated by Harold Koda (MLA ’00), former Curator-in-Chief of the Anna Wintour Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Ken Smith (MLA ’87), design critic in landscape architecture; and Anita Berrizbeitia (MLA ’87), professor of landscape architecture and chair of the landscape architecture department.

Twelve Gund Hall bathrooms are officially designated as all-gender. The new signage is part of a joint initiative of Student Forum, Women in Design, and Queers in Design, in collaboration with Student Services and Building Services.

The School announces the inaugural class of Richard Rogers Fellows, following the November launch of the Richard Rogers Fellowship. Projects that the six inaugural fellows will bring to the house this year include examinations of public and affordable housing; how food and cooking transform cities; and citizen-driven urban regeneration initiatives, particularly in London and Berlin.

Rem Koolhaas, professor of architecture and urban design, leads students participating in the Spring 2017 studio abroad program in Rotterdam on a tour of the city center.

Artist Jeff Koons speaks as part of Rouse Visiting Artist Program. “The object, when you confront it, is only a transponder,” said Koons. “It’s only something to excite you about your own human potential. At the end, that’s what I care about.”

Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima, founders of the design firm Atelier Bow-Wow and the GSD’s 2016 Dunlop Visiting Professors, discuss the spring 2017 exhibition Architectural Ethnography, which they curated. The pair also hosted a drawing workshop for students.

Atelier Bow-Wow investigates the living condition of people through various fieldwork and design practices. They observe architecture and its environments from a behaviorological point of view and always invent unique visual representations specific to the subject and scope at hand, like the book Graphic Anatomy (Toto, 2007). Their interests range broadly from the relationship between house typologies and urban fabric to the relationship between public space and unlocked common resources. This approach has enabled Atelier Bow-Wow to rediscover architecture as a central means of practicing livelihood and to develop the concept of “architectural ethnography.” The show will guide you to experience their ecological thought on life and architecture.
Atelier Bow-Wow’s interests range broadly from the relationship between house typologies and urban fabric to the relationship between public space and unlocked common resources. This approach has enabled Atelier Bow-Wow to rediscover architecture as a central means of practicing livelihood and to develop the concept of “architectural ethnography.” The show will guide you to experience their ecological thought on life and architecture.

John Collins, a.k.a. the Paper Airplane Guy, sends his world-record breaking plane through the Gund Hall trays. Collins led a workshop and delivered a lecture as part of the Master in Design Engineering (MDE) program jointly offered by the GSD and the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). The Harvard Gazette produces a series of videos on the visit.

March 2017

The GSD celebrates the centennial birthday of I. M. Pei (MArch ’46) with a special event featuring Henry Cobb (AB ’47, MArch ’49), Bartholomew Voorsanger (MArch ’64), and Calvin Tsao (MArch ’79), among others. An exhibition on Pei’s time at the GSD as a student and teacher opens at the Frances Loeb Library.

I. M. Pei: A Centennial Celebration
Henry Cobb (AB ’47, MArch ’49) speaks about his friend and colleague, I. M. Pei.

The Department of Landscape Architecture announces the 2017 Penny White Project Fund recipients. The regions of research for the selected student projects span the planet and address a range of critical conditions, technologies, and processes relevant to the advancement of the discipline of landscape architecture and contemporary urbanization today.

Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum speaks as part of the Aga Khan Program Lecture Series. “When I went into practice, and was looking for a language of architecture…that’s when a sort of crisis hit me. What would be my language? And that is when I started looking to the land and the landscape, the history,” she told the audience.

Still Life: A Harvard GSD Exhibition 2015–2016 opens in the main gallery of Gund Hall. (The annual Platform exhibition runs thematically parallel to the corresponding Platform publication.) Challenging conventional ways of viewing the work of the School, projects from academic programs including architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and design, and design studies are arranged together into a single still life.

Stil Life - Platform 9 Exhibit Still Life A Harvard GSD Exhibition 2015–2016 March 20­–May 12, 2017
“Still Life: A Harvard GSD Exhibition 2015–2016” in the main gallery of Gund Hall.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh presents the 17th annual John T. Dunlop Lecture in Housing and Urbanization. “The challenge is to embrace our success as a city while retaining the core values that got us here,” Walsh says. “Those values center on inclusiveness, on opportunity, on social and economic diversity. We are a community that welcomes all and leaves no one behind. These aren’t just ideals. They are pragmatic needs.”

04282017_WeThe Publics_2The participatory exhibition We the Publics, located on the Gund Hall Experiments Wall, invites the GSD community, practitioners in the built environment, and other members of the general “Publics” to help craft a “shared Declaration.”

The GSD’s Theory and History Platform, alongside the PhD Program in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, sponsor a two-day conference entitled “Objects, Contexts, Canons and Experiments: Four Conversations on Theory and History.”

April 2017

A design by three Master in Design Studies students wins the Allston/Grove design-build competition launched in November. The project, WE ALL, is set to open this summer.

Student editors from 20 different design schools around the world gather at the GSD to talk about the possibilities and consequences of student publications in design. Organized by the GSD publication/ student group Open Letters, the event includes a display of student publications in the library accompanied by a set of historical student publications from the Special Collections.

Gathering of students from 20 different schools to talk about student-run publications
Student editors from design schools around the world gather at the GSD.

The GSD hosts an architecture film soirée on the work of architect Diébédo Francis Kéré. It includes the film Sensing Spaces: Architecture Re-Imagined by British filmmaker Candida Richardson, among others.

The mayor of Mexico City, Miguel A. Mancera, talks urban planning and climate change during a lecture, part of a two-day event on the challenges facing 21st-century cities.

The Doctor of Design program celebrates its 30th anniversary with a two-day event. Peter Rowe, Raymond Garbe Professor of Architecture and Urban Design and Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, delivers the event’s keynote address.

The GSD receives a Best Website nomination in the 21st annual Webby Awards, following the redesign and launch of the School’s new website.

Author Jonathan Franzen reflects on the environment, free speech, and current political climate during a lecture, part of the Rouse Visiting Artist Program.

Results of the 2017-2018 Student Forum elections are announced. Taylor Halamka (MArch ’19) will serve as the GSD’s next Student Forum President, succeeding Lane Raffaldini Rubin (MArch ‘19, MLA ‘19).

GSD students and alumni contribute to Harvard’s ARTS FIRST festival with the installations What’s Hanging Over Your Head? by GSD’s African American Student Union; Art of Residue by Yaqing Cai and Haoxiang Yang (both MArch ’17); and IMPULSE by Lateral Office, co-founded by Lola Sheppard (MArch ’01) and Mason White (MArch ’01), and DS Design.

May 2017

The 2017 Plimpton-Poorvu Design Prize winners are announced. The annual competition recognizes two viable real estate projects completed by an individual or team as part of the GSD curriculum. This year’s winning designs feature mixed-use developments located in Miami Beach and the North End of Boston.

Samuel Plimpton MBA ’77, MArch ’80 and William J. Poorvu MBA ’58 joined in Gund Hall for a reception and review of the winner and runner up of the 2017 Plimpton-Poorvu Design Prize.
The 2017 Plimpton-Poorvu Design Prize student winners and runner ups with GSD faculty and Dean Mostafavi.

Katherine Farley (MArch ’76) is named 2017 Class Day speaker. Farley recently retired as Senior Managing Director of Tishman Speyer, responsible for their Brazil and China businesses and Global Corporate Marketing, after a 32-year career at the company.