Still Life: A Harvard GSD Exhibition 2015–2016

A plain plywood wall obstructing student models brightly cross lit in blue and pink hues. Square windows showcase selected views.

Photo: Justin Knight

The ninth edition of Platform, produced by a faculty-student team, documents student work produced at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) over the prior year. This edition invokes the still life as a device to organize works from across the School, which are in a sense remade as they are presented and re-presented in compositional groupings. Through such relational techniques, new ideas emerge. In this way, the still life highlights an imperative central to our projects at the GSD, which are generative of multiple representations. Every project has its context and must negotiate creativity, social impact, aesthetics, and usefulness. Out of such multiplicity—from site to program and construction to use—a project gains its specific qualities as a catalyst for discovery and generosity to others.

Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Faculty of Design, Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design

The Platform: Still Life exhibition expands upon concepts developed for the publication by offering a particular spatial logic for the lobby of Gund Hall. Challenging conventional ways of viewing the work of the GSD, projects from academic programs including architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and design, and design studies are arranged together into a single still life. Physical models are packed inside a narrow “front of house” wedge where hundreds of white and brown chipboard models are coated with syrupy pinks and blues. The majority of the lobby space is deemed “back of house.” Here, the viewer may sift through student drawings and films in a series of crates, moments before the work is staged. The space emphasizes the importance of the process of production within the School, something that is under construction and constantly in flux.

Jennifer Bonner (MArch ‘09), Assistant Professor in Architecture, Editor & Curator of Platform: Still Life


This exhibition was initiated by Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Faculty of Design, Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design
Patricia Roberts, Executive Dean
Beth Kramer, Associate Dean for Development & Alumni Relations
Ken Stewart, Assistant Dean for Communications & Public Programs

Curatorial Team:

Jennifer Bonner (MArch ‘09), Assistant Professor in Architecture
Michelle Benoit (MLA ‘18)
Patrick K. Herron (MArch ‘16)

Design Team:

Patrick K. Herron, Lead Designer
Jennifer Bonner, Assistant Professor in Architecture
Adam DeTour, Still Life Photographer
Neil Donnelly, Graphic Designer (Platform: Still Life publication) with Michelle Benoit (MArch ‘17), Evan Farley (MArch ‘17), and Shaowen Zhang (MArch ‘18)

Exhibitions and Communications Team:

Dan Borelli (MDes ‘12), Director of Exhibitions
David Zimmerman-Stuart, Exhibitions Coordinator
Travis Dagenais, Communications Manager

Installation Team:

Jef Czekaj, Ray Coffey, Anita Kan, Yuanxi Li, Sarah Lubin, Jesus Matheus, Matt Murphy, William Talbot Penniman IV, Reid Schwartz, Joanna Vouriotis, and Seok Min Yeo

Video Credits:

Johanna Faust (MArch ’17), Carol Jin Jin Chui (MArch ’17), Frankie Cheuk Fan Au (MArch ’16), Benzion Rodman (MArch ’17), Emma Silverblatt (MArch I ’17), Andrew Nahmias (MArch ’16)