Lian (Harvard GSD M.Arch.I)

I graduated in 2013, but still live-blog here once in a while.

  • final work...finally!

    Oh hello there, Archinect!

    Finals were a blur and vacation was the best, and here we are back in the trays yet again. Oh, I have so many things to tell you. But first, my project from last semester!

    A twelve lane highway runs under the entire site. I was building on air-rights over this highway, so exhausting the air from the highway, filtering it, and returning to the city was a necessary task. My aim was to do this in a way that was, well, architectural, making this mechanism apparent in different ways and creating a variety of spatial opportunities.

    The premise was to combine existing technologies to filter air first through compost, then through planted media. Thermal chimneys would then provide the necessary suction instead of fans. The requirement to provide thermal chimneys throughout the site (which require some combination of horizontal area and vertical height, and benefit from south-facing exposure); as well as enclosed, south-facing exposures for the planted filtration; posed constraints and opportunities in terms of form and orientation.

    The site was treated as four sub-sites, each using the same combination of compost filter, plant filter, and thermal chimney, together with some residential units, but deployed with different formal and urban effects. Each site also had a different kind of more public program in addition to residences.

    Model. I loved working on this but it ended up taking way too much time. (Thanks to Anya and Drew for helping! Heart heart heart.)

    Oh, and you can kind of see this spray-painted green mesh that runs in a long strip at the edge of the street (a planted corridor). I had quite an adventure with that. At first, I didn't shake the spray can enough, so it got totally clogged. And clever as I am, I used a pin to try to clear up the nozzle, periodically shaking and unsuccessfully trying to spray. Several minutes into this procedure, the paint exploded up out of the can, and my face got entirely sprayed green. If I weren't wearing glasses I probably would have had to go to the hospital or something, as it would have coated my eyeballs pretty thickly.

    If I weren't so dismayed, I would have taken a picture to share with you.

    The moral of the story is that you should always shake the can well before spraying, then spray upside down to clean the nozzle when you're done. (And facing the can away from your face while you mess with it isn't a solution either. The next day, the green paint exploded again, this time sending a thick stream of green ninety degrees to the side. At least this time, the nozzle got unclogged!)

    Diagrams of the strategies for each of the four sub-sites. They were named, from west to east: hill, greenhouse, courtyard, and tower. The "hill" mediated between the upper level of the Nervi-designed bus terminal, allowing people to go from street level to the bus terminal level on a zig-zag path on the roof of a south-facing atrium space. The "greenhouse" and "tower" each spanned between two of the existing towers, in different ways. The "tower" didn't have any existing buildings on its part of the site to contend with. So in this space, I added a fifth tower and a flat (but "thick and productive") park.

    Sections through the four sites. From top to bottom: hill, greenhouse, courtyard, and tower. The left column highlights program, and the right column shows how the air filtering system is deployed.

    Bigger view of the section through the courtyard.

    The 'courtyard' space is an urban plaza where paths weave between the glassed-in spaces of the planted filters. The aim was for this to be an urban interpretation of an orchard, with the gabled greenhouse-type roofs like giant furrows on a farm. The paths ramp up to a slightly higher position in the center of the plaza, so you can see over the roofs, but closer to the edges you'd be lower down, walking between them.

    If I were better at rendering and collage, this would probably be more apparent! But please squint and imagine the

    Anyways, here is that same space from above. I think my residential blocks (in color, spanning between the existing towers in white) should have been a bit lower. As it is, the plaza would probably be shady for much of the time.

    The southern residential block of the "courtyard" from the south, street-facing side. The thermal chimneys and apartments both want south-facing space on the facade, so there's a kind of weaving that allows each residential unit type to have some space on the facade and a balcony.

    The northern residential block and north-facing facade. These blocks are single-loaded with exterior corridors to access the units. This gives more exterior exposures and to keep these slabs thin to facilitate access to the courtyard, since it is accessed from these streets by walking under the building.

    Bigger view of the section through the tower. You can (just barely) see the highway at the bottom, then the compost filters and plenum for collecting air, which then gets pulled up past an underground parking garage, through thermal chimneys and (on the right, or south-facing facade) through a tall planted space that also functions as a vertical atrium.

    View of the tower from the park. The people are several times too big, but let's say we don't notice that. On this facade, units and thermal chimneys are again jockeying for space. Different unit types (each with a different color), when aggregated, create different kinds of balcony spaces with some privacy.

    That's about it. I learned a great deal in this studio, and really enjoyed my project, though I wish I had the time and dexterity to show the spaces in more detail through drawings. I ended up focusing more on showing how the system could be deployed (always the same system, different forms and effects) across the site at a larger scale. But there were a number of smaller-scale architectural questions that I studied in Rhino models and in the physical model that I didn't end up showing in the drawings, and that was the main thing I got called out for at the final review.

    Nader Tehrani said I should "hire an MIT student" to do my diagrams for me next time, so that I can work more on my drawings. Not sure how his students would feel about that.

    Anyways, let's close with a couple of photos from our final review:

    Here, Marion explains some things about Brandon's most excellent project to the critics. From left to right: Paul Lewis, Felipe Correa, Hashim Sarkis, Marion Weiss, Keller Easterling, Brandon Cuffy.

    Scott Cohen was really (really) enthusiastic about Ceri Edmunds' most excellent project, but took exception to the way it took its rhetorical nature so seriously, down to its details.

    The work across the studio was really diverse. Most of the projects were driven much more than mine by a unified formal approach, and took on very different urban and environmental agendas. We'll have a sampling of this work by all my classmates posted at the BMW Guggenheim Lab's website soon, and I'll post the link when we have it!

    Thanks for reading!



  • one week left!

    Hi Archinect! We have one week left before our final review and the plan is to finish my model today. Actually, the plan was to finish it yesterday, but this morning I realized that this was unrealistic. If I can finish the model today, then I'll have six days for drawings, which is still tight...

  • Finals...

    Hi Archinect! This is just a quick update as we head into our last few weeks before studio finals. Things are going well and I'm just buckling down to focus on representation techniques and the specifics of my design, so that things don't become a complete shit-show in December. I'm gonna hold...

  • Live Blog: Wang Shu, Geometry and Narrative of Natural Form

    Hi Archinect! It's Open House day at the GSD, so we're in "full Piper" (using the entire auditorium) for a lecture by Wang Shu from Amateur Architecture Studio. The video is now viewable at the GSD website and the GSD's YouTube channel. 4:05 pm: A long and laudatory introduction from Scott. He's...

  • 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...

  • 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...

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About this Blog

Lectures and exhibitions, news and events, now primarily from the Bay Area! Please note that all live blogs are abridged and approximate. If you want to see exactly what happened, in many cases a video of the event is posted online by the event's hosts.

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  • Lian Chikako Chang

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