GSD-Courances Design Residency names inaugural participants

Gardens at Chateau de Courances, a 16th century domaine located in the Ile-de France region that will host two MLA candidates each summer for a fully funded, three-week residency.

The GSD-Courances Design Residency, a newly formed summer program established by the Château de Courances and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, has named its inaugural participants. Mariel Collard (MLA/ MDes ’19) and Juan David Grisales (MLA/ MDes ’20), both dual degree candidates in the Master in Landscape Architecture I AP and the Master in Design Studies programs, will spend three weeks living and working at the 16th century domaine located in the Ile-de-France region, 50km south of Paris.

The hands-on residency, which includes work alongside farmers and landscaping crew for the property’s certified organic farm, gardens, and park, will expose participants to a range of relevant topics including sustainable land management, conservation, and the role of historic sites in contemporary society. Collard and Grisales will also each pursue an independent project or research topic based on their personal interests.

“It is our hope that the residency will inspire new modes of thought, discourse and engagement around such topics as sustainable land management, agriculture, conservation, stories of place, and the role of historic sites in contemporary society,” states the program brief.

Open to current candidates for the Master in Landscape Architecture degree, the program will select two participants each year to travel to France from late July to early August. The residency is fully funded through the Penny White Fund and the generous support of the Château de Courances. The next cycle of applications will be due in January 2019.

Learn more about this year’s winners and their proposals:

Mariel Collard (MLA/ MDes ’19)

GsdCourancesResidency_Mariel CollardMariel Collard is a Mexican architect and currently a dual degree student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She works at the intersections of architecture and landscape considering the built and the living environment alike. In her current research on environmental migration and retreat, she uses design as a research and practice tool to engage with vulnerable environments, question current rebuilding responses and think critically about resilience. She focuses her work on the Latin American territory, particularly Mexico. Mariel obtained her Professional Degree in Architecture from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, and she worked independently and in collaboration with Estudio MMX prior to her studies at the GSD. She is currently a dual candidate in the MLA I AP and the MDes Risk & Resilience programs.

During the residency at the Château de Courances, Mariel will use the tree as a defining element of the Gâtinais to study the territory through the concept of région naturelle. She will explore the history of this “natural region” through the investigation of orchards, as they have contributed to shape and define this cultural landscape by establishing the relationships between human rural occupation and the plant world. In alignment with the Château’s continuing efforts to develop the Jardins de Courances initiative, this research is an opportunity to evaluate current agricultural practices as we envision their future, and moreover, consider new possibilities in the relationships that the urban has with the rural and cities with their food.

Juan David Grisales (MLA/ MDes ’20)

Juan_smallJuan David Grisales is a registered Colombian architect and urban planner and is currently pursuing a joint degree in Landscape Architecture and Design Studies (Urbanism, Landscape, and Ecology) at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. After receiving his undergraduate degree at Cornell University, he returned to Colombia to work as an urban designer on a metropolitan masterplan for the Coffee Region with the planning department of the City of Pereira. Juan David has served as Adjunct Professor of Architecture at the National University of Colombia and the Catholic University of Pereira. There, he also established an interdisciplinary research group to analyze and assist informal settlements of rural inhabitants that had been displaced by the armed conflict in Colombia. He is currently a dual candidate in the MLA I AP and the MDes Urbanism, Landscape, and Ecology programs.

Juan David’s research at Courances will analyze various socioeconomic components in conceiving the Château de Courances as a new landscape of production in order to better understand the impact of this innovative agricultural and recreational complex not just in terms of the production and distribution of agricultural products and profit, but also in terms of the availability of jobs and other opportunities it may generate for people in the region.