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New Material From Harvard Researchers Folds and Changes Shape On Its Own

08:00 - 14 May, 2016

A material produced by Harvard researchers changes size, volume and shape all by itself, reports The Harvard Gazette. The new material, inspired by the “snapology” technique from origami is composed of extruded cubes that have 24 faces and 36 edges.

Platform 8: An Index of Design & Research

19:04 - 1 April, 2016
Platform 8: An Index of Design & Research, Harvard GSD. Platform 8: An Index of Design & Research.
Harvard GSD. Platform 8: An Index of Design & Research.

Platform 8 catalogs a curated selection of work generated in the past year at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Alongside final products of design education, Platform 8 places particular emphasis on collecting and documenting the people and artifacts that shape research-driven design practices. Here, design is presented both as process and as a final product. Indexical structure, punctuated with a collection of portraits, presents a comprehensive picture of the school. Platform 8 shows the intention, direction, and passion seen and experienced every day at the GSD.

AA Visiting School Hawaii

17:50 - 28 March, 2016
AA Visiting School Hawaii, AA Visiting School Hawaii 2016
AA Visiting School Hawaii 2016

The AA Visiting School Hawaii is an architectural workshop dedicated to the investigation of flying machines through fabrication and geometry as well as performance and choreography.

From their earliest use as measurement tools for the city, the 2000 year old history of flying machines is deeply rooted in architectural investigations.

Gliding between its leisure vocation and its scientific relevance, we will immerse into this legacy starting from the world’s oldest from of air-craft: the kite. 

The Top 100 Universities in the World for Architecture 2016

09:45 - 22 March, 2016
The Top 100 Universities in the World for Architecture 2016, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Image © Wikimedia user Fcb981 licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Image © Wikimedia user Fcb981 licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

QS has released its 2016 rankings of the top 100 schools for architecture in the world. The company has produced an annual survey of universities since 2011, now comparing including over 800 universities worldwide across 42 subjects, and rating the top universities based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact. As they did last year, MIT came out top of the list in architecture. Read on for the full rankings list for architecture, and be sure to visit QS's site for the full rankings list which is sortable by subject, country or continent.

edX Offers Free, Online Classes in Architecture, Engineering and Urbanism

06:00 - 14 March, 2016
edX Offers Free, Online Classes in Architecture, Engineering and Urbanism, via edX
via edX

Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX offers more than 800 free, online courses as well as certificates from top universities around the world, including Harvard, MIT and UC Berkeley. The courses cover everything from literature to poetry, medicine, biology, urban planning, engineering, history and architecture. 

Taught mostly in English, the courses have different weekly requirements, and generally require participants to be online at designated times of the day. There are also classes offered in other languages like Chinese, French, Spanish and Portuguese. They also offer certificates that can be purchased at the end of the course, costing between $50-$70.

Dallas Architecture Forum Presents Iñaki Ábalos + Renata Sentkiewicz

12:07 - 25 February, 2016
Dallas Architecture Forum Presents Iñaki Ábalos + Renata Sentkiewicz

Dallas Architecture Forum, a non-profit organization for everyone interested in learning about and improving the architecture, design, landscape and urban fabric of the North Texas region is pleased to continue its 2015-16 Lecture Season with outstanding architect Iñaki Ábalos, Chair of the Department of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Co-Founder and Partner of Abalos+Sentkiewicz Arquitectos in Boston and Madrid, with Renata Sentkiewicz,Co-Founder and Partner at A + S and Design Critic at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Their projects and built work are internationally recognized and have been the subject of 15 individual exhibitions and many collective exhibitions in the most prestigious centers in London, Paris, New York and Venice.

Lacaton & Vassal's Lesson in Building Modestly

10:30 - 20 April, 2015
Lacaton & Vassal's Lesson in Building Modestly, FRAC Dunkerque / Lacaton & Vassal. Image © Philippe Ruault
FRAC Dunkerque / Lacaton & Vassal. Image © Philippe Ruault

The French duo of Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal are known for their delicate interventions, repurposing neglected structures with apparent effortlessness. Originally published on the Harvard Gazette website entitled "They Build, But Modestly," this article recounts the lessons which they offered students in a recent lecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Around 1980, two young architects finished their training in Bordeaux, France, and moved to Nigeria. In that African nation’s remote regions, they were inspired by the simple structures they saw amid the stark, stunning desert landscapes. The houses were open to the air, had utilitarian thatched roofs, and were made with bits of local wood. Modesty prevailed in structures that also invited beauty.

The lessons of building in Africa stayed with Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal in their Paris-based practice, Lacaton & Vassal: use what is there, stay simple, embrace open air, and honor light, freedom, and grace. They practice social architecture based on economy, modesty, and the found beauty of environments.

Palais de Tokyo Expansion / Lacaton & Vassal. Image © 11h45 Nantes School of Architecture / Lacaton & Vassal. Image © Philippe Ruault Palais de Tokyo Expansion / Lacaton & Vassal. Image © 11h45 23 Semi-collective Housing Units / Lacaton & Vassal. Image © Philippe Ruault +8

Harvard's Material Processes and Systems Group Investigates Structural Ceramics

10:00 - 1 April, 2015
Harvard's Material Processes and Systems Group Investigates Structural Ceramics, © Martin Bechthold
© Martin Bechthold

With "Protoceramics," the Material Processes and Systems Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (MaP+S) sought to investigate the architectural possibilities of a material that might often be overlooked: thin, large-format ceramic tiles designed to act as interior finishes or exterior cladding. Instead of accepting the tiles' designation as a surface finish, the team investigated three ways to use them as a self-supporting structural component as part of their ongoing experiment to produce "novel material formations with a special interest in tectonic performance." The three techniques employed focused on the acts of cutting, folding and bending.

© Martin Bechthold © Martin Bechthold © Martin Bechthold © Martin Bechthold +17

Free Online Architecture and Design Courses

10:00 - 5 March, 2015
Free Online Architecture and Design Courses, Courtesy of shutterstock.com
Courtesy of shutterstock.com

Thanks to the increasing popularity of massive open online courses -- or MOOCs as they’re commonly referred to -- learning has never been easier (or more convenient). Sites like Coursera and edX offer free classes online from accredited and well-known universities across the globe, including Harvard, MIT and the University of Hong Kong. While some classes are more structured and include a set lesson plan, homework assignments, quizzes and the option to receive a certificate at the end, others can be set at your own pace and approached more independently.

Following our wildly popular article on Four Ways to Learn About Architecture for Free, we’ve compiled a list of upcoming online classes related to architecture, engineering, urbanism and design. So whether you’re looking to embark on a new topic or dive deeper into an already familiar subject, take a look at these free online courses after the break. 

Pro Bono Architecture and Designing for the Public Interest

18:00 - 19 February, 2015
Pro Bono Architecture and Designing for the Public Interest, New Carver Apartments / Michael Maltzan Architecture. Image © Iwan Baan via Harvard Magazine
New Carver Apartments / Michael Maltzan Architecture. Image © Iwan Baan via Harvard Magazine

Speaking of the public image of the architect, Stephanie Garlock laments that it is often akin to "Ayn Rand's Howard Roark— arrogant, individualistic, and committed to the genius of artistic vision above all." In a feature piece for the March/April edition of Harvard Magazine, Garlock explores the potential for architects to affect wider social change and move "[b]eyond 'Design for Design's Sake'."

A Matchmaker For People and Art: Kulapat Yantrasast

00:00 - 2 February, 2015
A Matchmaker For People and Art: Kulapat Yantrasast, Kulapat Yantrasast at an exhibition design meeting. Image Courtesy of wHY
Kulapat Yantrasast at an exhibition design meeting. Image Courtesy of wHY

Last month we spoke with Kulapat Yantrasast, Co-Founder and Creative Director of the LA-based design firm wHY. On the heels of the opening of Harvard Art Museums - for which Yantrasast collaborated on the designs of the exhibition spaces - we wanted to learn more about his approach to designing the galleries for Harvard. “One of the things that I'm super sensitive about is the identify of the experience. Harvard, in particular, is a university museum.  So first and foremost it's a place for students and faculty to spend time looking at things closely. Because of that, we want to make sure that a group of 15 people can sit or stand around an art object and could really have a discussion,” Yantrasast explained.

wHY has carried out a wide range of museum and gallery projects, including the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Royal/T project and the renovation of the galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago. Read the full interview with Yantrasast below to learn more about the challenges of gallery design and how technology is affecting museums exhibitions. 

Courtesy of wHY - © Photograph by David Heald Courtesy of wHY - © Photograph by David Heald Courtesy of wHY - © Photograph by David Heald Courtesy of wHY - © Photograph by David Heald +13

Critical Round-Up: Renzo Piano's Harvard Art Museums

01:00 - 23 November, 2014
Critical Round-Up: Renzo Piano's Harvard Art Museums, © Nic Lehoux
© Nic Lehoux

With the opening of the Harvard Art Museums a week ago today, Renzo Piano was able to finally complete on a project which, in various guises, has been in progress for seventeen years. The relationship between Piano and Harvard began with a 1997 plan to build a new branch of the Fogg Museum on the Charles River and ended, after objections from locals and then the 2008 recession, in the decision to consolidate the university's three museums (The Fogg, Busch-Reisinger and Arthur M Sackler Museums) under one roof.

With its long history, restricted space, the listed facade of the original Fogg Museum and the ultimate difficult neighbor in Le Corbusier's Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, the Harvard Art Museums project was inevitably going to cause a fuss on completion. So how did Piano do? Find out what the critics said after the break.

© Nic Lehoux © Michel Denancé © Nic Lehoux Courtesy of Renzo Piano Building Workshop +9

David Adjaye to Receive Du Bois Medal at Harvard

00:00 - 26 September, 2014
David Adjaye to Receive Du Bois Medal at Harvard, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.. Image Courtesy of Adjaye Associates
Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.. Image Courtesy of Adjaye Associates

On September 30, Mohsen Mostafavi will present David Adjaye with the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, Harvard University’s highest honor in the field of African and African American studies, at the Hutchins Center Honors. Since 2000, the Du Bois Medal has been awarded to individuals from across the globe in recognition of their contributions to African and African-American history and culture. Adjaye is one of nine luminaries receiving this year’s award, including Oprah Winfrey and the late Maya Angelou. More information about the ceremony can be found here.

Rem Koolhaas' Current Fascinations: On Identity, Asia, the Biennale, & More

01:00 - 19 March, 2014
Rem Koolhaas' Current Fascinations: On Identity, Asia, the Biennale, & More, Courtesy of Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture, and Design, via Flickr
Courtesy of Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture, and Design, via Flickr

In this interview, originally published in The Architectural Review, Andrew Mackenzie sits down with OMA founder Rem Koolhaas to discuss the Venice Biennale, the extinction of national identities, his fascination with Asia, the link between De Rotterdam and Delirious New York, and the future of the profession.

Your proposition for this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale asks whether national identity has been, as you say, ‘sacrificed to modernity’. Some might view this as a project of reclamation, not unlike Frampton’s regionalism. How would you differentiate your proposition from Frampton’s?

Well, Kenneth Frampton is a smart guy, but the problem is that he looked at regionalism as an antidote to cosmopolitan development. In so doing he perverted the cause of regionalism, because suddenly regionalism was mobilised as a private cause that it couldn’t sustain. However, the question of national identity is an open one. For instance, at first sight the Netherlands is a very internationalist country, but looking closely you can see an enormous return of, not vernacular, but quasi-vernacular architecture and quasi-old fortresses that are newly built with a national flavour. Look at Zaandam, and that huge assemblage of so-called vernacular buildings.

TERMES: A Robotic Swarm That Collectively Constructs Modular Structures

00:00 - 25 February, 2014

Termite mounds offer a fascinating architectural quandary: how is it possible that these towering structures (which include complex systems of openings, passages, large volumetric spaces, and even active ventilation systems and humidity regulation) are constructed with no centralised control or planning? The spatial complexity that these thousands of insects can collectively achieve has inspired a Harvard team to create TERMES, a project focused on programming an artificial robotic swarm to build modular structures.

Kanye West Drops In on Harvard's GSD

00:00 - 19 November, 2013
Kanye West Drops In on Harvard's GSD, © Noam Dvir, Instagram User dvirnm
© Noam Dvir, Instagram User dvirnm

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...

Lecture: What Was Metabolism? Reflections on the Life of Kiyonori Kikutake / Toyo Ito

13:00 - 10 November, 2012

This lecture, brought to you by the Harvard Graduate School of Design, explores the Metabolism movement of the 1960s and its influence on Japanese Architecture through today.  Toyo Ito reflects on the life of Kiyonori Kikutake and the continued relevance of his works and ideas in today’s design culture.

Continue reading for more…

Harvard Reaches 50 LEED Certified Projects

19:00 - 23 August, 2011
10 Akron Street © Harvard Office for Sustainability
10 Akron Street © Harvard Office for Sustainability

The U.S. Green Building Council has recently announced that Harvard University has achieved a worldwide first – the construction and completion of 50 LEED certified buildings. It is also a great feat for an institution as large as Harvard. They were able to successfully coordinate a decentralized campus with separate buildings that each have their own organizational structures. Read more about the five lessons they learned along the way after the break.