In the last two decades, the concept of urban metabolism, aiming to grasp the continuous processes of energy, material and population exchange within and between cities and their extensive hinterlands, has been subject of both extensive empirical research and, increasingly, critical discussion within the social and natural sciences. However, these interdisciplinary challenges have not yet been met with a synthetic response from the design disciplines.
The goals of this one-day conference are, through the lens of urban metabolism, to: generally reassess the planetary rescaling of contemporary urbanization processes; unpack the transformation of spatial forms and structures and subsequently, the emergence of new operative territories for design; explore the agency of design in confronting these challenges.
The conference is free and open to the public. For more information and complete schedule please click here.
Title: DDes Conference: Projective Views on Urban Metabolism
Organizers: Harvard University GSD
From: Fri, 07 Feb 2014 10:00
Until: Fri, 07 Feb 2014 12:30
Venue: Piper Auditorium, Gund Hall, Harvard University
Address: 48 Quincy Street, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
UPDATE: This year’s jury for the Wheelwright Prize will be: Mohsen Mostafavi, Iñaki Ábalos, Sílvia Benedito, Pedro Gadanho, K. Michael Hays, Linda Pollak, Shohei Shigematsu, and Jorge Silvetti.
Launched in September 2013 by students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Open Letters is a print experiment that tests the epistolary form as a device for generating conversations about architecture and design. The project stems from an earnest curiosity about what people have to say to each other about architecture, landscapes, cities, ideas, history, practice, experience and learning.
New issues are released every other Friday, each presenting one open letter, i.e. a letter addressed to a particular party, but intended for publication, about any topic relating to the design disciplines. Past correspondents have written to mentors, chairs, trees, mystical creatures, those in need of advice and to NCARB. All issues can be read online.
A recent topic that has been receiving attention among architects is the issue of designing prisons. The increased awareness of the problem has been spearheaded by Raphael Sperry, founder of Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility, who has been campaigning to have the AIA forbid members from designing execution chambers or solitary confinement units. At the other end of the scale, Deanna VanBuren, a principle of FOURM Design Studio and a member of ADPSR herself, has championed ‘restorative justice’, an approach to the justice system which emphasizes rehabilitation and reconciliation in order to prevent people from re-offending.
Now Glen Santayana, a student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, has used his thesis project to add to this debate, designing PriSchool – a prison which both integrates with a school of criminology and is embedded within the community. Could this radical approach to prison design really be an answer to the stretched prison system in the US (and elsewhere)? Read on after the break to find out more.
When Kanye West spoke with students at my alma mater on Sunday evening, he said “I really do believe that the world can be saved through design, and everything needs to actually be ‘architected.’” In the social media frenzy that followed, a recurring response that I saw on architecture-centric sites was to snicker at West’s use of the word “architect” as a verb. For many, this was symbolic of West’s ignorance and hubris as he presumed to talk about something without knowing anything.
Except, of course, that “architect” is well recognized as a verb. Dictionaries say so, architects say so, and academics say so. If you’re architect Doug Patt and call yourself howtoarchitect on YouTube, you get a contract from MIT Press to write a book—called How to Architect. If you are the French philosopher Louis Marin, you can suggest that “the castle and gardens of Versailles ‘architect’ the Prince to make him not only the absolute of political power, but the center of the cosmos in its entirety,” and you will be counted among the most eminent semioticians of the twentieth century. If you are Harvard architecture theorist K. Michael Hays, you might stand up at an academic conference and say, “There are only certain things that can be done at this moment. Not just anything can be architected at this moment, right? There are limits.” When you do, people will nod and applaud.
But if you are Kanye West and you suggest that “everything needs to actually be ‘architected,’” it disqualifies you to speak about architecture.
UPDATE: The Harvard GSD AASU has released a statement on Kanye West’s invitation and visit, which you can find at the end of the post. Dean Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the GSD, has also commented on the visit.
Kanye West surprised students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) last night by dropping in un-announced before his Sunday night concert at the TD Garden in Boston. He gave a short motivational speech to the crowd that quickly formed in the GSD’s signature “trays.” West told the students:
I just wanted to tell you guys: I really do believe that the world can be saved through design, and everything needs to actually be “architected.” [...] I believe that utopia is actually possible—but we’re led by the least noble, the least dignified, the least tasteful, the dumbest, and the most political. So in no way am I a politician—I’m usually at my best politically incorrect and very direct. I really appreciate you guys’ willingness to learn and hone your craft, and not be lazy about creation.
GSD student Sekou Cooke, writer of “Keep Talking Kanye: An Architect’s Defense of Kanye West,” confirmed to an ArchDaily editor that West had in fact seen his post defending West’s right to speak-up about architectural issues and act as a role model for young potential architects of color. Although his visit with the student body was unexpected, West had been invited by Harvard GSD’s African American Student Union (AASU). Following a meeting with the AASU’s core group of leaders—during which West led a conversation regarding under-represented minorities in the design disciplines—the star was inspired to briefly address the rest of the students. West also gifted 300 tickets to his show to the GSD. In fact, in an uncharacteristic moment of insecurity, West told the crowd of students:
Tonight, this show, if you come see it—um, I’m a bit self conscious because I’m showing it to architects. So the stage does have flaws in it. It’s an expression of emotion so give me a pass on that.
See images and video of West’s GSD visit, after the break…
ArchDaily got the chance to briefly speak with Pritzker-prize winning Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura when he (along with the Porto Metro Authority) received the Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design earlier this month. His design for the Metro system in Porto, Portugal garnered high praise from the jury, with member Rahul Mehrotra explaining that the project “shows generosity to the public realm unusual for contemporary infrastructure projects.” Upon receipt of the award, the head of the Porto Metro, João Velez Carvalho, thanked Souto de Moura for his efforts in this “urban revolution” and touted Porto as a destination in which people actively and enthusiastically seek out the architecture of Souto de Moura and fellow Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza.
Souto de Moura spent a few moments with us to describe both the challenges and rewards of working on a project that saw the completion of 60 new stations constructed in 10 years within the sensitive fabric of the city of Porto—a UNESCO World Heritage site.
ArchDaily: What is your opinion of architecture prizes?
Eduardo Souto de Moura: I won’t be modest, I like describing my opinion about them because the profession is so tough and difficult that is it complicated to achieve a high level of quality. So when you’re awarded a prize it’s like a confirmation of your effort. But the other thing is that a project is not the act of an individual, it’s a collective act. When there’s a prize, the press and the people, the “anonymous people,” go see the project and talk about it, critique it. That’s what gives me the motivation to continue in the profession. And every time it gets more difficult.
The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) has announced the 11th Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design award winners: Eduardo Souto de Moura’s Metro do Porto in Porto, Portugal, and the Northeastern Urban Integration Project in Medellín, Colombia.
When commenting on the significance of the two prize-winning projects, jury member Micahel Sorkin stated: “If there are lessons to be drawn for urban design from Medellín and Porto, I think the broader lesson has to do with the disruption of the segregation of the disciplines in the design field. Historically we have understood that Landscape Architecture sits in one place, Architecture in another, and Urban Design and Planning [in another, with all three disciplines] in constant conflict about their territorial rights. One of the things that is revolutionary about the Medellín project is that distinguishing among the disciplines is no longer possible.”
More about the prize-winning projects, courtesy of the GSD:
In 1961, Phyllis Richman, a student at Brandeis University, was considering applying to the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Department of City and Regional Planning. The response from Professor Doebele, which you can read above, was to question the validity/practicality of her desire to enter into higher education, being, as she would surely be, a future wife and mother.
While today it sounds almost quaint in its blatantly sexist assumptions, Ms. Richman’s letter remains, unfortunately, all too relevant. In her article for The Washington Post, Richman says: “To the extent, Dr. Doebele, that your letter steered me away from city planning and opened my path to writing [a career Richman later describes as "remarkably well-suited to raising children"], one might consider that a stroke of luck. I’d say, though, that the choice of how to balance family and graduate school should have been mine.”
She’s absolutely right, of course; the decision was hers and hers alone to make. However, there’s no avoiding that Richman eventually found success in a job that allowed her to live flexibly as a professional and parent. How many women, and for that matter men, can claim that of architecture? How many architects are convinced, just like Ms. Richman, to pursue success in other, more flexible careers?
More about Richman’s letter, and where Denise Scott Brown comes in, after the break…
Brooklyn-based architect and Harvard GSD alumni Gia Wolff has been awarded the $100,000 Wheelwright Prize for her proposal Floating City: The Community-Based Architecture of Parade Floats. Now in its first edition, the Wheelwright Prize is a travel grant issued by Harvard University in an effort to foster new forms of architectural research led by cross-cultural engagement.
Mohsen Mostafavi: “The positive response to the Wheelwright Prize has been extraordinary. It is inspiring to see so many talented architects with clear agendas and visions. I am delighted for Gia Wolff, the winner of the prize. Her proposed investigations at the intersection of design, performance, and temporality will surely provide us with new insights and new directions for the future of architecture.”
Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) recently held a lecture featuring performance artist Marina Abromović alongside OMA principle Shohei Shigematsu in the anticipation of the Marina Abromović Institute for the Preservation of Performing Art (MAI) 2014 opening. In the lecture, Shigematsu speaks about the process in which they transformed a former theater in Hudson, New York, into a structure that’s capable of assisting the institute’s mission to develop new kinds of performance, while functioning as a space for preserving and hosting historic performance pieces. Shigematsu references OMA’s history of designing spaces that combine architecture and art, such as the Quebec National Museum and a recent collaboration with Kanye West.
More on this discussion after the break…
Who should design public spaces? Can public space make a meaningful contribution to solving the world’s environmental problems? How should the success of a public space be measured?
These questions, as well as many more, will be discussed by public space scholars, practitioners, and activists at Harvard University’s upcoming conference on public space, Putting Public Space in its Place. The conference will focus on physical public space, ranging from parks, streets, sidewalks, and other temporary spaces.
Janice E. Perlman, author, researcher and CEO of The Mega-Cities Project, discusses her work in this lecture at the Harvard GSD for the “Urbanization Seminar Series”. This in-depth lecture, titled “Mega-Cities, the Urban Poor and the Place of Planning” covers Perlman’s research and observation in India’s slums, noting the way people upgrade the status of the slum and their own opportunities through minor reforms on small-scales.
This past Tuesday, Kengo Kuma of Kengo Kuma and Associates, Tokyo, lectured at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). His discussion centered around the epochal challenge architecture must respond to following the great disaster of March 11, 2011. The tsunami, which flattened the Tohoku coastline in a matter of seconds, and catastrophic nuclear accident that followed proved our infrastructure to be insufficient in the age of technology. With this realization, Kuma understands that we must learn from what happened and “start again from scratch”.
Founder of Amateur Architecture Studio and Head of Architecture at the China Academy of Art, Wang Shu was the first Chinese architect to hold Harvards Graduate School of Design (GSD) Kenzo Tange professorship. The Harvard lecture honors architect Kenzo Tange by bringing distinguished architects from around the globe to the GSD.
Wang Shu’s practice caught the world’s attention with their pavilion for the 10th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2006. As a critique of the architectural profession, excessive building and the on-going demolitions caused by the rapid urbanization of China, their installation ‘Tiled Garden’ was constructed of 66,000 recycled tiles salvaged from demolition sites. Their work is embedded in the history and traditions of Chinese culture, referencing everyday building tactics and the Chinese vernacular tradition of building, hence their practice name “amateur architecture”.
Reference: The Harvard GSD
Architects: Ren Tian, Gu Lik Hang, Patchara Wongboonsin
Location: Cambridge, MA, USA
Project Area: 144 sqf
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Ren Tian, Patchara Wongboonsin
Earlier this week Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, founding principals of Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, lectured at Harvard GSD about Evolutionary Infrastructures. The multidisciplinary firm has distinguished themselves with their holistic design approach, successfully integrating the disciplines of architecture, art, infrastructure, and landscape design.
Their projects have been received internationally attention; the Olympic Sculpture Park for the Seattle Art Museum, which was the winning design of an international competition and has been recognized at Barcelona’s World Architecture Festival (Nature Category Winner), by ID Magazine Environments Design Awards (Best in Category), and was awarded the Veronica Rudge Green Prize in urban Design from harvard University. The Diana Center at Barnard College was chosen as the winning design of a national design competition and received a Progressive Architecture Award and an ArchDaily 2010 Building of the Year winner.
Weiss/Manfredi has received the Academy Award in Architecture and the Gold Medal of Honor by AIA New york City chapter. ArchDaily had the chance to interview Weiss/Manfredi earlier this year. Be sure to check it out.