Archinect

Harvard GSD M.Arch.I (Lian)

Lectures and exhibitions, life in the trays, happenings around the GSD and beyond.

  • Deciphering Tracks

    Hello Archinect!

    In his (free and open to the public) lecture today at the GSD, structural engineer Guy Nordenson cited this passage from Carlo Ginzburg on "Clues." It speaks about the decoding that we do of our environment every day--but which, because we are so immersed in its methods, can be difficult for us to identify and articulate:

    "Man has been a hunter for thousands of years. In the course of countless pursuits he learned to reconstruct the shapes and movements of his invisible prey from tracks in the mud, broken branches, droppings of excrement, tufts of hair, entangled feathers, stagnating odors. He learned to sniff out, record, interpret, and classify such infinitesimal traces as trails of spittle.

    This knowledge is characterized by the ability to move from apparently insignificant experiential data to a complex reality that cannot be experienced directly. And the data is always arranged by the observer in such a way as to produce a narrative sequence, which could be expressed most simply as “someone passed this way.” Perhaps the very idea of narrative (as distinct from the incantation, exorcism, or invocation) was born in a hunting society, from the experience of deciphering tracks."

    Can we say that the construction and deployment of these narratives, in the shaping of people's lives, is the work of the architect?

    Thanks for reading, and happy weekend!
    -Lian

    P.S. I'm using Peter Brooks' modified version of the Tedeschi and Tedeschi translation, found here.

    P.S. You can watch Guy Nordenson's lecture here. I recommend it!


  • The coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.

    Hello Archinect! My studio critic read to us the code for the Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner series today, as part of a discussion about what code (which our section is going to often interpret in terms of the constraint) can mean in the context of artistic and architectural production. And this...


  • Spring 2011

    Hello Archinect, I'm baaaack! The holidays were super: I investigated the, uh, sub-urbanism of Burnaby (part of metro Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada), the landscape of the ski trails of Kananaskis (in the Alberta rocky mountains), the interior architecture of West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton...


  • Not the GSD

    Hello Archinect! I'm taking a course at the Kennedy School over J (January) term. So today, two weeks before the course begins, I was able to pick up my course binder--which, as you can see, looks like this: It is not the GSD. Happy holidays, and all the best for the new year! Lian


  • MB DRO ROSHI

    Hello Archinect! For my class on Pynchon, we were supposed to write papers, but I got permission to do an animation instead, then I made a book. Here it is. The cut-out shape is of a V2 Rocket, which is the overarching (heh, if you excuse the pun) image in Gravity's Rainbow. Whether the rocket is...


  • Finally.

    Hello Archinect! I'm still cranking for other classes--making a V2 rocket-shaped void for my Pynchon class...who knew negative space would be so time-consuming to build?--but wanted to share with you what I presented at my final review last Tuesday. Massing model. View from the water. Approach...


  • 100 hours to go.

    I'm going to take risks, I'm going to have fun, and I'm going to make it beautiful. Game on. See you on the other side-- L


  • Edward Norton -- seriously??

    Hello Archinect, So, Edward Norton is coming to the GSD tomorrow to talk about social entrepreneurship with real estate developers Jonathan Rose and James Rouse. It seems that a large crowd is expected, as the events department is whipping out the protocol they used for GSD grad Shaun...


  • Better than Gund.

    Hello Archinect! Because a recap of some of places we've been is more interesting than photos of 72 sleep-deprived people at their desks. You don't have to go far. Here's the Charles River between the Allston and Cambridge sides of the Harvard campus. Studio trip to the Boston conservatory to...


  • Martin and Kipnis: What Good Can Architecture Do?

    Hello Archinect! I’m a bit behind, because we’re now in our final push for studio, but I couldn’t NOT share with you some snippets from last week’s dense, but worthwhile discussion between Reinhold Martin and Jeff Kipnis. It was one of a series of departmental events this...


  • Ten signs that the GSD has ruined me

    Ten signs that the GSD has ruined me: 1. I briefly considered making Mom a diagram for Christmas. This follows on my present from last year, which was prepared on the laser cutter. 2. When 45 minutes go by without an email appearing in my inbox, I check my server settings. 3. I don't have strong...


  • Campus Catalyst: MASS weighs in at World Architecture Festival

    Hello Archinect! Big congratulations to GSD architecture students Robin Bankert, Michael Murphy, Caroline Shannon (my M.Arch.I. 2nd year classmate!!) and Joseph Wilfong, who brought home the top prize from the World Architecture Festival earlier this month in Barcelona! This year's theme at the...


  • On the function of folly

    Hello...! I started to compose these thoughts in the comments section, but it got too long as I started chasing digressions, so here it is as a new post: Although I don't know BIG's work very well, I agree that it's hard to pin down. It's slick, beautiful, and shallow, and feels no guilt or shame...


  • Live Blogging Bjarke Ingels with Preston Scott Cohen

    Hello Archinect! Please bear with me for an experiment tonight, as I attempt to live blog Scott Cohen's discussion with Bjarke Ingels. Even this late in the semester, the house is packed and the mood is buoyant. Not, the consensus seems to be, because Bjarke is that important of an architect, but...


  • Krieger: "reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated"

    Never met the man but I like him already:http://www.metropolismag.com/pov/20101108/krieger-to-duany Anyways, the conference next week is sure to be packed, for all the wrong reasons. You know I'll be there.


  • midterm

    Hello Archinect! While digging through my photos, I found this: Turns out I did go to Neil Denari's lecture after all! Here, Neil is showing his competition entry for the Maribor Museum of Art and Scott is pressing him about the window openings. Why, he was asking, does this window have a rounded...


  • On the Flagship with Preston Scott

    Election day is as good a day as any for partisanship, so I thought I’d share with you the conversation I had with our department chair, Preston Scott Cohen, as he set up for his presentation in our studio this afternoon: PSC: So what have you blogged lately? LC: The new desks…and...


  • In defense of homasote

    Hello Archinect, Wow, such modernists here! I've been following the comments to my post about our new workspaces and--partly because I know that outsiders' impressions of our school often align with these comments--feel compelled to use this space to respond. I have to say that just because...


  • Lessons from the Superfly Machine

    Hello Archinect! The greatest thing just happened at the GSD. The context here is my day: counting square feet of programmed space in my building, constructing a spreadsheet and making charts in excel, being given way too much information about the various algorithms that V-Ray uses for rendering...


  • The GSD took my desk away and all I got are these crummy drafting dots.

    Hello Archinect! At the beginning of September, I promised to write about our new workspaces, but as we settled in, I actually started to like them and found it less pressing to itemize for you just how many square inches we lost (although for the record, it seems to be about 1300 square inches...


  • Edible

    Hello Archinect! Time for a head-to-head. Here are photos of the two recent food-and-architecture events that I attended: MXT at McGill University School of Architecture, and Three States of Hors d'oeuvres by the GSD's Project on Spatial Sciences. MXT by Alberto Pérez-Gómez and team...


  • It's not about the words this time

    Image by Alberto Pérez-Gómez, as displayed during the MXT event at McGill University School of Architecture, September 16-17 2010. Will post more on this event soon. Thanks for looking! Lian


  • Out with the old, in with the new

    Hi Archinect! We did another quick charrette two weeks ago, studying a selected interior space for our community performing arts center. I chose the lobby, and was interested in how an interior space can set up a transition to, and experience of, the exterior. (We were instructed to make "rough"...


  • Bicycles in Montreal

    Hi Archinect! I went back to visit McGill two weekends ago. It's hard to express what it means to feel so much at home in a place, but maybe I can just say that there's no place like Montreal. Lian


  • Three States of Hors d'oeuvres

    Hi Archinect! Guest blog this week from some of my friends in the MDESS, MLA, and upper-year MArch programs, who are embarking on the injection of the GSD into the arts-science-technology-design-branding fest that is the Lab at Harvard. Their exhibition is opening at 8:30 pm on October 7, 2010, at...


  • He said they should be rough.


  • To the ends of the earth...and back

    Hi Archinect! I was planning to write some long, thoughtful posts over the summer, digesting and meditating on my first-year experiences at the GSD, but it turns out that what I really needed was just a break from the school routine. I definitely got that, as did most of my classmates...


  • China!

    Hi Archinect! In a week and a day I'll be en route to Beijing for my one month trip to Beijing, Shanghai, and a number of smaller places in between. The trip is funded my my alma mater, McGill School of Architecture, with the only condition being that I bring back materials to hold an exhibition...


  • Career Discovery

    Hi Archinect! I'm making my guilty face again because it's been a while since I've written, but... The semester ended well enough for me, and since then it's been fun and busy and all over the place. I went on vacation with some friends to Washington DC and NYC, spent time with family in Boston...


  • School's out!

    Hello Archinect! It's late May. Theses have been defended (congrats everyone)! The yard has been set up with chairs and tents for graduation. The graduating students' posters are being put up. The trays are being cleared out and cleaned up for graduation ceremonies in the GSD. The first tray is...


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About this Blog

Lectures and exhibitions, life in the trays, happenings around Cambridge...and once in a while, some studio and course work. Please note that all live blogs are abridged and approximate. If you want to see exactly what happened, in most cases a video of the event is posted online by the event's hosts. If you have concerns about how you are quoted, please contact me via Archinect's email.

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  • Lian Chikako Chang

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