Archive for the ‘GSD’ Category

Preston Scott Cohen is the new Chair of the Architecture Department at Harvard

Graduate School of Design Dean Mohsen Mostafavi (l)
and new Chair of Architecture Preston Scott Cohen (r)

Cohen teaches at Harvard. His Cambridge-based firm has designed work ranging from domestic and commercial interiors to a new building for the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Tel Aviv Museum of Art

His interests include complex geometries and complex spatial configurations.

Amir Building, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, “Lightfall”

Cohen – true to form – began his “thank you” speech by saying,

“This is a great moment, I think, in the history of the school…”

Everybody laughed. Especially the students. He clarified by saying he meant the still-new Dean Mohsen Mostafavi is bringing something extraordinary to the school.

Cohen will begin in the position on July 1. He succeeds Toshiko Mori, who has chaired the department for the past six years. She was well-liked by students and was highly praised today. Mori will take a year off from the Graduate School of Design.

News at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design


Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Please join me for an important announcement and a celebratory reception in the pit tomorrow,
Thursday May 8, at 6:00pm.

Best Regards,

Mohsen Mostafavi

Harvard University / Graduate School of Design /
48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138


Tomorrow I’ll post what I learn.

The Dean, with whom I had a Loeb Fellowship dinner* last week, is full of large ideas and wonderful little changes he’d like to make here. I heard visionary thinking, such as how he’d like to include more landscape design (defined very broadly) and regional thinking into the work we call “architecture;” and I heard his passion for smaller interventions- such as new lighting and a curtain in the GSD’s Piper Auditorium to make it a softer, more intimate place.

Gund Hall, home of the GSD

Dean Mostafavi spoke of eventually adding on to the currently cramped GSD building. (He said he would not choose Rem Koolhaas for that, having already commissioned Rem while at Cornell.)

He also wants to beef up the Harvard publications on architecture.

But I don’t know yet what he’ll announce tomorrow. .

*Last week also included dinners with Kenneth Frampton and Rafael Moneo. I’m going to miss this!

Buckminster Fuller and contemporary design

Buckminster Fuller: In Effect

A conference about Buckminster Fuller’s possible influences on contemporary design.

Friday, April 25, 2008. 10 am – 6 pm Piper Auditorium, Gund Hall, Harvard Graduate School of Design

In anticipation of the upcoming exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe – which will run from June 26 -September 21, 2008


Herzog vs. Eisenman!
Jeff Kipnis moderates and agitates.

Watch the webcast here.

Kipnis: “These are two architects, I think – among three in the world – who really have fought a lifelong battle to rescue architecture from its banality and mediocrity which it can lapse into….” (I think Kipnis would say Rem Koolhaas is the third.)

Kipnis: for Jacques Herzog, “There is a primacy of the sensory pleasures of the building that you take to be a given condition.”

For Peter Eisenman, “The role of architecture is perhaps to cast suspicion on the degree to which the pleasures of the experiences in the building might be the primary role of the architecture and to think about the building might be its primary cultural project…. Peter you certainly don’t produce a sensuous architecture, do you think?”

Changes at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design


Mohsen Mostafavi, in his first speech to the faculty and students of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design since he was named Dean.

See his speech here. Reading between the lines, it seems that Modernism, so important at the GSD, may be less prioritized.