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AIANY and Center for Architecture Name Benjamin Prosky as Executive Director

Following the resignation of Rick Bell earlier this year, AIANY and The Center for Architecture have appointed Benjamin Prosky as Executive Director. Prosky will assume his new position in early 2016, after stepping down as Assistant Dean for Communications at Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). 

“Ben brings a unique energy, intelligence, and experience to the executive director position,” said Carol Loewenson, incoming president of AIA New York and partner at Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, in a statement. “AIANY is poised for great change: more outreach, greater membership value, deeper connections to the academy, and a stronger role in actively impacting the design of our city. Ben is the right person to imagine the AIANY of the future. We are thrilled to have him on board to lead our organization.”

Calvin Klein Lectures on the Role of Architecture in Fashion

“To me, light and space is the great luxury” - Calvin Klein

Like architecture, fashion is an art dealing with structure and shape, one that relates to the form and function of the human body. Oftentimes the introduction of a small element, such as a zipper or a doorknob, can completely alter the perception of a work. In the end, image is in the details. So it should come as no surprise that legendary designer Calvin Klein holds a strong relationship with architecture.

In his lecture earlier this month at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Klein describes how architecture has played a role in his designs and campaigns over his 40-plus year career. His self-proclaimed love of minimalism is displayed in photoshoots in locations ranging from the white walls of Satorini, to the earthen forms of Taos Pueblo, to Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation, and his Madison Avenue store helped to accelerate the career of acclaimed minimalist architect John Pawson. Watch the video above for more of Klein thoughts on architectural fashion and designs for his own living spaces, and visit the Harvard Gazette here for more on his visit.

Madrid Río Wins Harvard's Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design

Madrid Río, a 120-hectare linear park that transformed the banks of Madrid's Manzanares River, has been awarded the Harvard Graduate School of Design's 12th Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design. Designed by Burgos & Garrido, Porras & La Casta, Rubio & Álvarez-Sala, and West 8, the public park completed its final phase this year - 10 years after being announced as winner of project's international competition.

“The decision to award Madrid Río the Green Prize in Urban Design was motivated by the jury’s desire to highlight the potential for thoughtfully planned and carefully executed mobility infrastructures to transform a city and its region,” commented jury chair Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning at Harvard GSD. “The extent to which the project harnesses the deployment of new infrastructures as an opportunity to repair and regenerate the city through carefully articulated design interventions is particularly valuable within the context of contemporary urbanization globally.”

Courtesy of Harvard GSD Courtesy of Harvard GSD Courtesy of Burgos & Garrido Courtesy of Burgos & Garrido

The Best US Architecture Schools for 2016 are...

DesignIntelligence has released their 2016 rankings of the Best Architecture Schools in the US for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Nearly 1500 professional practice organizations were surveyed this year, as part of the survey's 16th edition, and were asked the following question: “In your firm’s hiring experience in the past five years, which of the following schools are best preparing students for success in the profession?”

This information, along with detailed accounts on the best programs that teach skills in design, communication, sustainability and technology, resulted in the 2016 rankings. The two top schools, Cornell for undergraduates and Harvard for graduates, held their positions as the best programs to attend, according to the study.

Without further ado, the top 10 undergraduate and graduate programs in the US are...

Call for Applications & Nominations: 2016-2017 Loeb Fellowships

Applications are now open for 2016-2017 Harvard GSD Loeb Fellows! The program seeks applications from innovative and visionary practitioners working to improve the built and natural environment. Each year 10 ten outstanding practitioners are offered a ten month sabbatical to deepen and hone their practice and maximize their future impact on the urban environment. Fellows join the GSD community, interact with students and faculty, pursue independent research projects, and audit courses throughout the university.

Obama Awards Everett Fly with National Humanities Medal

US President Barack Obama has awarded San Antonio architect and landscape architect Everett Fly with the 2014 National Humanities Medal. Harvard GSD's first African-American graduate, Fly is being recognized for his work in "preserving the integrity of African-American places and landmarks." 

Erik L’Heureux Wins Harvard GSD's $100,000 Wheelwright Prize

Singapore-based American architect Erik L’Heureux has been selected over two other finalists and 200 applicants to receive the Harvard University Graduate School of Design's (GSD) 2015 Wheelwright Prize. The $100,000 travel grant, now in its third year, was awarded to L’Heureux for his proposal Hot and Wet: The Equatorial City and the Architectures of Atmosphere, which focuses on the "architecture of five dense cities in the equatorial zone - Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Pondicherry, India; Lagos, Nigeria; São Paulo, Brazil - where he will examine traditional and modern building strategies that mediate extreme climate conditions while addressing the mounting pressures of rapid urbanization and climate change."

Richard Rogers Donates His Parents' Home To Harvard GSD

Richard Rogers has announced that the home he built for his parents in Wimbledon, London, will be gifted to Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) for the training of doctorates in the field of architecture. The home, which will be donated by his charity, the Richard Rogers Charitable Settlement, was completed between 1967 and 1968 by Richard and his then wife Su Rogers. Originally designed for his parents, Dr. William Nino and Dada Rogers, the Grade II* listed pre-fabrictated single storey dwelling was later adapted for Rogers' son Ab and his family, before being put on the market in 2013 for £3.2million ($4.8million).

Harvard GSD Shortlists 3 Architects for 2015 Wheelwright Prize

Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) has announced three architects shortlisted for this year's prestigious Wheelwright Prize. The $100,000 grant, which is awarded annually to a single architect to support travel-based architectural research, is “intended to spur innovative research during the early stage of an architect’s professional career” and “foster new forms of research informed by cross-cultural engagement.” 

Similarly to previous years, the shortlisted applicants were chosen from nearly 200 submitters spanning 51 countries. Each finalist will be invited to speak at Harvard GSD on April 16 (starting at noon) to present their work and research proposals. The event will be free and open to the public. A winner will be announced at the end of April.

“The strength and diversity of the applications are growing each year, making the jury’s job increasingly difficult,” said K. Michael Hays, Wheelwright Prize organizing committee member and 2015 jury chair. “It’s gratifying to see so many young architects approach their work as part of larger intellectual projects.”

The shortlisted architects are...

"Data Across Scales: Reshaping Design" at Harvard GSD

On April 17, Harvard GSD will host this year's annual interdisciplinary Doctoral Conference, "Data Across Scales: Reshaping Design." The conference invites design reachers and practitioners to examine the role and potential of data in design. Particularly apt for the technology-centric times of present, "Data Across Scales" focuses on the proliferation of information technologies within personal and professional contexts.

Harvard GSD Talk and Exhibition "Housing in Extreme Environments: Alpine Shelter" Opens Tomorrow

The extreme climatic conditions of the North introduce a design paradox for architects. The fragile environmental conditions require incisive designs that respond to irregular loading from strong winds, heavy snowfalls, avalanche risk zones, and extreme cold. The studio investigated a prototypical design: a unit with sleeping and cooking space for up to eight people, on a mountain site in Slovenia. The talk (on Friday, February 13th) serves as an opening for the exhibition on this project, curated by Spela Videcnik, John T. Dunlop Design Critic in Housing and Urban Development, with Rok Oman, featuring the work of her Fall 2014 studio, displayed on the Experiments Wall (in Gund Hall). Construction of the shelter is planned for summer 2015. 

Harvard GSD To Host Exhibition Exploring 'Dualisms' In Architecture

A new exhibition at the Harvard Graduate School of Design by Iñaki Ábalos and Renata Sentkiewicz (Ábalos+Sentkiewicz) will explore Dualisms in architecture: the notion that most historic architecture takes its "composite tension from two theoretically incompatible morphological organisations that correspond to different disciplines or languages." Suggesting that these organisations can possess elements of "compatibility and incompatibility" simultaneously, the appearance of "a kind of hybrid 'Frankenstein's monster'" is characterized by dualism in architecture. For the curators, Dualisms act not only performatively, but also in a creative and composite way. "They are, at once, constraints and formative opportunities."

© Justin Knight © Justin Knight © Justin Knight © Justin Knight

Harvard GSD To Host Exhibition Exploring The Architecture And Symbolism Of National Libraries

National libraries, often monumental in scale and "dominated by nationalistic ambitions and overwhelming architectural details," will be the subject of a new exhibition opening later this month at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). Icons of Knowledge: Architecture and Symbolism in National Libraries seeks to examine why national libraries are amongst the most symbolic icons of modern day countries. In the global milieu of the "rapid digitisation of print," this exhibition aims to shed light on why nations are "vehemently investing resources in the construction of buildings that will project their cultural legacy and house the most precious treasures of their written history."

2015 Wheelwright Prize

The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) is pleased to announce the third edition of the Wheelwright Prize, an open international competition that awards $100,000 to a talented early-career architect to support travel-based research. The 2015 Wheelwright Prize will begin accepting applications online on January 5; the deadline for submissions is January 30. This annual prize is dedicated to fostering new forms of architectural research informed by cross-cultural engagement.

Video: Harvard Art Museums Construction Time-Lapse

Harvard Art Museums have released this time-lapse video of their recently completed four-year renovation and expansion project carried out by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Payette. Filmed from June 2010 – November 2014, the video shows the amount of work that went into renovating, expanding and uniting the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum under the same roof. Watch as snow falls (and then melts) on the construction site in the full video above and learn more about the project here

Reflections on the 2014 Venice Biennale

Fundamentals, the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale, will close its doors in a matter of days (on the 23rd November). From the moment Rem Koolhaas revealed the title for this year’s Biennale in January 2013, asking national curators to respond directly to the theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014’, there was an inkling that this Biennale would be in some way special. Having rejected offers to direct the Biennale in the past, the fact that Koolhaas chose to act not only as curator but also thematic co-ordinator of the complete international effort, was significant. This announcement led Peter Eisenman (one of Koolhaas' earliest tutors and advocates) to state in one interview that “[Rem is] stating his end: the end of [his] career, the end of [his] hegemony, the end of [his] mythology, the end of everything, the end of architecture.”

13 Projects Win Regional Holcim Awards 2014 for Asia Pacific

Teams from Thailand and New York have received top honors in the 2014 regional Holcim Awards for Asia Pacific, an award which recognizes the most innovative and advanced sustainable construction designs. Among the top three winners are the “Protective Wing” bird sanctuary and a locally-adapted orphanage and library in Nepal. 

The 13 recognized projects will share over $300,000 in prize money, with the top three projects overall going on to be considered for the global Holcim Awards, to be selected in 2015.

The full list of Asia Pacific winners, after the break…

AD Interviews: Mohsen Mostafavi / Harvard GSD

During his recent trip to Chile, organized by the Harvard David Rockefeller Center For Latin American Studies, we caught up with the Dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD), Mohsen Mostafavi, to see what challenges he thinks are facing the future of architecture education and to learn more about his work on ecological urbanism.

 “[Architecture is] both a singular discipline, but at the same time it needs to be a collaborative discipline. It’s at once focusing on disciplinary knowledge but at the same time trans-disciplinary practicing; therefore it means that architectural education has to find new venues for collaboration,” he said. 

"I think the GSD is very well-positioned to address key societal issues today because first, we’re a very multidisciplinary school in the sense that we believe strongly both in the focus of individual disciplines like architecture, but also on the inter-relationship between architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and urban design. "

Watch the full interview above to see what else Mostafavi had to say about architecture school, the role of architecture in society and ecological urbanism.