Grounded Visionaries: Pedagogy and Practice

The intellectual and imaginative contributions of the Harvard Graduate School of Design are exemplary, global, and distinct. These contributions—whether by alumni, faculty, or students—engage with the realms of ideas and implementation, design and impact.

We believe strongly in the value of learning from and caring for others. That is why our approach to the built environment is always attuned to cultural, social, economic, and physical global conditions. But for our projects and proposals to be effective, we must also be at the vanguard of disciplinary knowledge. It is this combination of knowledge and global purpose that forms the ethos and shapes the work of the School.

Inequity and risk are two of the defining characteristics of our contemporary society. From climate change to limited resources, inadequate housing, and lack of public infrastructure and amenities, it is our responsibility to imagine and design alternative proposals that are at once beautiful and just.

This exhibition on Pedagogy and Practice provides a glimpse into the world and unique investigations of the Graduate School of Design. For us, the term Grounded Visionaries provides a framework, a dialectical strategy, that helps to reinforce the relational opportunities and necessities that lie between vision and action. This is no small project, but one that calls on the full extent of our talents and commitment.

—Mohsen Mostafavi
Dean of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design

Exhibition Guide

This exhibition presents eight critical themes for design today:

designing meaningful spaces

theorizing new modes of urban engagement

addressing our current ecological crisis

redefining health, education, and housing

mapping the rapid emergence of new global conditions

generating new forms, materials, and techniques

reconceptualizing wider territories

creating imaginative sensorial realms

Curatorial Team
Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design
K. Michael Hays, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory
Peter Sealy, March II ‘08, PhD Candidate
Irene Chin, MDes ‘15
Dan Borelli, MDes ‘12, Director of Exhibitions
Benjamin Prosky, Assistant Dean for Communications

Curatorial Advisors
Iñaki Ábalos, Professor in Residence and Chair of the Department of Architecture
Pierre Bélanger, MLA ‘00, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Co-Director of the Master of Design Studies Program
Rahul Mehrotra, MAUD ‘87, Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design
Kiel Moe, MDes ‘03, Associate Professor of Architecture & Energy and Co-Director of the Master of Design Studies Program
Charles Waldheim, John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture

Exhibition Design
Eric Höweler, Assistant Professor of Architecture
Sofia Balters, MArch ‘17
Evan Farley, MArch ‘17
Julian Funk, MArch ‘16

Campaign Graphic Design
Hunter Tura, MArch ‘00, President and CEO, Bruce Mau Design and creative team

Exhibition Team
Dan Borelli, Frank Braman, Irene Chin, Ray Coffey, Anita Kan, Sarah Lubin, Jack Mauch, Matt Murphy, Reid Schwartz, Peter Sealy, Joanna Vouriotis and David Zimmerman-Stuart

Melissa Vaughn

Special Thanks
Patricia Roberts, Executive Dean; Mark Goble, Chief Financial Officer; Beth Kramer, Associate Dean for Development and Alumni Relations; Kevin Derrick, Lindsey Grant, Terri Park, Carra Clisby, Noam Dvir MAUD ‘14, Daniel Rauchwerger MDes ‘15, and Marrikka Trotter, MDes ‘09, PhD Candidate

For more information, please visit the campaign website at