Harvard GSD M.Arch.I (Lian)

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

  • Midterm work: systems, not forms.

    Hi Archinect!

    We had our midterm last Wednesday and I am finally rousing myself out of my post-review sloth and pleasure-chasing (and yes, it was glorious) in order to post some images.

    I've already posted photos of our site. And you may have seen the video of my critics' public lecture at the GSD.

    Our projects are dealing with the leftover spaces, or the "incomplete manifesto" left by the sunken highway and the bridge tower apartments over the I-95 highway in northern Manhattan near the George Washington Bridge. Our task is to design housing for 1000 people as well as whatever other programs we choose. I got interested in the environmental conditions at the site and thought that a project here could be environmentally performative in three ways:

    1. Supporting an ecological corridor to allow at least some plant and animal species to live and traverse this part of Manhattan, between the two waterfront parks. [Ecological function, with cultural and recreational benefit if you put a bicycle path within the corridor.]

    2. Allowing the site to be agriculturally productive, so that some produce and/or non-edible crops can be grown; this could address some of the "food desert" issues in this neighborhood. [Economic and cultural functions.]

    3. Cleaning the air coming up from the highway to alleviate some of the air pollution problems--and maybe this can help with the noise problems from the same highway. [A more technical project with health and happiness benefits.]

    [This collage isn't meant to be informative about any specific design proposal, but just kind of a playful thing. But check out this beautiful, giant colonnade and concrete truss by Nervi!]

    So my project makes space for the ecological corridor, in a strip running along the south side of the site that makes use of the current sidewalk space and a space gained by de-mapping a lane of street parking. This aspect hasn't yet been developed, beyond setting aside this space.

    The urban farming is a bit more developed, as there are outdoor spaces at the east end of the site (the flat park at the foot of a new tower), as well as year-round greenhouse spaces in one of the between-tower sites.

    Finally, the air-scrubbing is what has driven much of the design so far. The basic premise is that there are biological filtering systems for cleaning air of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulates, and VOCs, and I've chosen two of these: one passes air through a bed of compost, and the other passes air through the soil/roots and green parts of certain kinds of plants. Both systems generally rely on fans to pump the air, but suction could also be provided through thermal chimneys, which I thought could be a way to start giving architectural expression to the structures that house these technological systems.

    This system can be arranged in different ways, as long as it meets basic requirements in terms of thermal chimney effects, light for the plants, space for the two biofiltration systems, and a somewhat streamlined passage of air up from the highway.

    So it's about a mega-system, not a single mega-form.

    I've started to develop four different formal expressions for this system, each using these same parts to create different spatial conditions that respond to the context at each part of the site. These four sub-sites are as below, and these go from the west side of the site--where a connection three stories up is made with the existing Nervi bus terminal--to the very east end--where a "tower in the park" adds a fifth tower to the existing four and would serve to announce the project to those approaching from the east. The two middle sites are located between the existing bridge tower apartments and my aim is to establish two very different ways of fitting in to this strange interstitial space.

    So, going from west to east (or left to right on the board below), we have: "hill building," "greenhouse village," "urban orchard," and "tower in the park." I got roasted for the "village" aspect of the "greenhouse village" so I'm rethinking that.

    Below are some sections of these four sites, going from east to west. Purple is housing, pink is live-work, orange is a market, and green is all the air-scrubbing stuff.

    And here are some other diagrammatic views.

    And some early thoughts for the "urban orchard" space. I'm rethinking the smokestack/skyline-like form of the tall thermal chimneys here, but the idea would be that they'd form an 8' thick facade that would be penetrated at intervals by balconies and sunrooms for the apartments behind them.

    And the model. Long-time readers may remember my fine model craftsmanship from such hits as the saltine cantilever and the happy-face scale figures. Well, this is just one small step up from that but still has a very advanced-kindergarten kind of feel.

    Our critics were Megan Born, Clifton Balch, John Hong and Jinhee Park, and Shih Fu Peng. Marion and Michael did a good job of picking people who would engage with the questions that we're grappling with, rather than trying to re-invent the whole premise of the studio (which can you all know). Anyways, they were on board with the overall premise; and I just (ha! "just") have to work on the formal expression of the four sites relative to each other, getting the system to be more systematic, and getting all the housing in there in a way that is consistent with the rest of the project.

    But I would love to hear your thoughts too!

    All for now! Thanks for reading.




  • Live Blog: Stan Allen and Preston Scott Cohen

    Hi Archinect! Stan Allen, Dean of Princeton University School of Architecture and Principal of SAA/Stan Allen Architect, is going at it tonight with Preston Scott Cohen, Chair of Architecture at Harvard GSD and Principal at Preston Scott Cohen Inc. The video is also posted at the GSD's YouTube...

  • Live Blog: The Core of Architecture’s Discourse Now: A New Generation of Scholar Critics Speak Out

    Hi Archinect! William S. Saunders, Timothy Hyde, George P. Dodds, David Gissen, Simon Sadler, and Meredith TenHoor are in the house tonight in front of the golden curtain. The topic is theory and writing. [Update: you can now view the full video at the GSD's YouTube channel.] 6:40: William...

  • Kinesthesia - M.Arch.I first year project

    Hi Archinect! The kids did good. Here is the final project from a group of students in the first-year M.Arch.I. Materials and Construction course. They were working with fabric hinges and a geometry that allows for their full-scale mockup to be transformed and configured in a multitude of ways...

  • Happy Birthday, GSD! And you too, Harvard.

    [Harvard's Birthday Cake. Graphic from The Harvard Crimson.] Hi Archinect! Well, this year the GSD turns 75 years old, and Harvard turns 375. Big parties all around, pecha kucha lectures from alumni and faculty, and lots of alumni in town for the weekend of events. Yo-Yo Ma performed in the yard...

  • Live Blog: Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi / Evolutionary Infrastructure

    Hello Archinect! My current studio critics, Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, are lecturing in front of the gold curtain tonight. You can also watch the whole thing on the GSD's YouTube channel. 6:36: Scott Cohen is making introductions. Lots of awards, great projects, Ivy League educations and...

  • On Making and Learning Architecture: a conversation with Danielle Etzler (video)

    Hi Archinect! My first semester studio critic and assistant professor of architecture, Danielle Etzler, has been building buildings for fifteen years, teaching architecture for a few, and thinking throughout about connections between these. Over the summer, I sat down with her to talk about the...

  • Live Blog: Why Latin America, Why now?

    Hi Archinect! Okay, I've been sick all week, and I've missed so very many things.  (Note: if you're ever told that it's OK to get a flu shot while you have a cold without a fever, don't believe it! Flu shots are powerful.) On Monday, Asia GSD invited Erwin Lui, a senior designer at Toyota...

  • The Bridge Towers at the I-95/George Washington Bridge in NYC (Site Visit)

    Hello Archinect! Last week our studio (led by Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi) went to NYC to visit our site, which is the area around the "Bridge Towers" that are built directly over the I-95 highway in northern Manhattan. [This image from Weiss/Manfredi. All other images are mine.] Our site...

  • Flatland: an installation at Gund Hall by Casey Hughes with Hiroshi Jacobs

    Hi Archinect! Like most schools of architecture, the GSD has a tradition of students installing projects in and around the building. Some of these last longer than others, and some are better thought-out and executed than others. Some are not installations at all, but just crumbling pieces of...

  • Weiss/Manfredi studio at the BMW Guggenheim Lab

    Hi Archinect, Just a quick note to say that my studio, led by Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, will be running a workshop on "Evolutionary Infrastructure: An Unfinished Utopia" at the BMW Guggenheim Lab this Friday, September 23, from 3 to 5 pm. If you're in New York and have a moment to stop...

  • Live Blog: Janette Sadik-Khan, Comissioner of NYC Department of Trasportation

    Hi Archinect,Janette Sadik-Khan, the New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner, is speaking in Piper as part of the 'Roadmap to Sustainable Infrastructures & Green Cities Conference.' [Photo from] 6:38: It's a pretty full house in Piper tonight. Sadik-Khan is as...

  • Live Blog: Naginski, Jarzombek, Savage, and Wodiczko on Memory, Vision, and Practice

    Hi Archinect! Live-blogging tonight from Piper Auditorium, where we somewhat inexplicably (and to my endless fascination) have a new gold lamé curtain. Krzysztof Wodiczko, Erika Naginski, Mark Jarzombek, and Kirk Savage are talking in an event marking the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The...

  • Tennis, not architecture.

    Hi Archinect! This post is as advertised. "Site visit" on Saturday, September 3, 2011 to our site from last semester's studio project--Flushing Meadows. [I was crouched in the bushes like a pervert to take this photo. Tennis fans, you know that I know that you know who this is.] Now I'm back at my...

  • Schmancy new website for the GSD

    Hello Archinect! Just a quick note to say that it looks like the GSD's new website, which has been in the works for the past few years, is live! I haven't even looked through it yet, but you can check it out here. The site is designed by Lisa Strausfeld's team at Pentagram. Thanks for looking!...

  • Arigatou gozaimasu, Mohsen-sama!

    Hello Archinect!!! I was very happy to wake up to this email from Dean Mostafavi this morning:Dear Students, Due to the overwhelmingly positive response to this semester’s Paris studio offering, we have made plans to continue the Study Abroad Program in Tokyo for the Spring 2012 term. Toyo...

  • Gund Hall is Naked

    Hello Archinect! Like everyone else who's heading back to school this fall, I'm not yet prepared to let go of summer. There are so many things I wanted to do but haven't yet done! I just need a bit more time. I'm not ready yet! Apparently, Gund Hall feels the same way: The GSD's 75th anniversary...

  • Slow summer...slummer

    Hello Archinect, All good things must come to an end. This summer, for me, has brought a little bit of work and a lot of rest, with plenty of time to rehab my ankle, to catch up with friends, and to neurotically develop and re-develop my five-year plan reconnect with what really matters to me...

  • The long road

    Hi Archinect! You may have seen from an earlier post that I broke my ankle at the end of May. Here is an update on my recovery, and also my first Archinect video blog! Thanks for watching, Lian

  • On Loyalties Divided (re: sacking of Michael Jemtrud at McGill)

    Hello Archinect, This past Thursday, Michael Jemtrud was forced to resign as Director of McGill University School of Architecture. My response to this news is not unbiased. It is entirely biased because this is entirely personal. I want to tell you why this, for me, is the only possible response...

  • things of unusual beauty (x rays of my broken bones)

    Hello Archinect! So, I had a bicycle accident almost three weeks ago now, in which I broke three bones and dislocated my tibia. Yesterday I had a follow-up appointment with my surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital and got copies of my x-rays and the radiologist's descriptions of them. Here is...

  • Live Blog: Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron

    Hello Archinect! Live-Blogging Herzog and de Meuron's lecture at the GSD this afternoon, after their directed thesis studio had their final reviews. Introduction by Dean Mohsen Mostafavi. 4:08 pm: JH: I don't believe in books on architecture; they're bound to fail and disappear even sooner than...

  • Korean Dance-Off and Cory Booker

    Hello Archinect! Korea GSD hosts one of the very best Beer and Dogs* events of the year because they prepare Korean food and a dance performance. This year, the Graduate School of Education (GSE) also sent a group to perform. The GSE team. I wish I could dance. The GSD team. They did us proud...

  • In which I question David Brooks on his support of the GOP budget. Read Brooks' reply.

    Hi Archinect! David Brooks, conservative columnist for the New York Times, spoke at the GSD this evening as part of the Kennedy School's 'Science and Democracy' series. The talk was called “Politics, the Brain, & Human Nature,” and covered many of the talking points from Brooks'...

  • Letter from "Harvard Design School" re: Ai Weiwei

    Hello Archinect! Thanks for looking. Lian

  • Sparking Social Change (Maurice Cox, Marshall Ganz, Duarte Morais)

    Hello Archinect! Last night, Bryan Bell of Design Corps (and currently in residence at the GSD as a Loeb Fellow) held a panel called ‘Sparking Social Change,’ with Maurice Cox, Marshall Ganz, and Duarte Morais. Maurice Cox—professor at University of Virginia’s School of...

  • Live Blog: Ryue MIT

    Konnichiwa, Archinect! In lieu of attending the March 31 Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa lecture at the GSD, I went to the Nishizawa-only lecture tonight at MIT on April 1. Word on the street was that when Sejima and Nishizawa brought their minimal approach to the lecture format at the GSD ("this...

  • The Cognitive Science of Embodiment and the Place of Architecture Today: a conversation with Alberto Pérez-Gómez

    Hello Archinect! So I know I've been posting quite a bit lately, but I have two really important things to share: 1. My former PhD advisor, Alberto Pérez-Gómez, will be in town next weekend for Boston University's Architecture + Philosophy Conference, and will be joining us for an...

  • Live Blog: Eclipse of Beauty, vol. II

    Hello Archinect! Here we are in Piper for more blah blah blah. This, the second volume of the Eclipse of Beauty symposia, features Evan Douglis, the Dean of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Georges Teyssot, a professor from Laval University's school of architecture in Quebec City. And it is...

  • Great shame upon our family.

    Hello Archinect, I love my hometown of Edmonton, in Alberta, Canada (a.k.a. Texas of the North), but sometimes I just have to throw my hands up. Edmonton is apparently the largest city in North America to not have an architecture school. There are good architects there and a decent art scene, but...

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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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