Harvard University - GSD (Quilian)



Sep '06 - Dec '09

  • disco

    Quilian Riano
    Jul 15, '07 4:04 PM EST

    As many in archinect know, Career Discovery (disco) is the GSD's introductory summer program. I had a chance to sit in two disco juries recently and wanted to share some thoughts for those that may be interested. Disco is usually taught by people that either are about to graduate or have just recently graduated from the different programs (MArch, MLA, MUD). The first time I juried for Dara Huang's class, a good friend whom just graduated with an MArch. I have known her since undergrad and she is familiar to many as the star of the infamous "pimp my model" video. Her class is comprised of an interesting mix of people from well established and successful professionals in their current careers to energetic recent high school grads. I did their first review after only two weeks in which they were asked to design a small intervention in Corb's Carpenter Center. I have to say that I was mostly truly impressed with the work specially when one considers the short amount of time that they had to produce it. Out of respect for people's privacy I will not go into any specific examples but to say that many were very developed and full of an energy that those of us that are by now veterans of the studio culture sometimes miss. Work that is unafraid of making mistakes and making moves that may or may not land within the typical academic discourse. The jury in this first review was comprised of myself and Ben Uyeda, a recent Cornell grad that works in his own firm specializing in green design and consultancy.

    The second review had a much larger jury, comprised of three GSD recent grads and students (including myself) and a well known editor and writer. This review was for their second project and in the fourth week of the disco program. The program was a house in Cambridge and the process is very reminiscent of the "cube" projects many of us have had in introductory studios. The instructor, Joshua Dannenberg a friend who is going into his thesis year, took his class trough a series of spatial and compositional exercises and as bonus gave his class the challenge of incorporating ideas of the 'functional ornament' into the design (Joshua helped illustrate the book). This led us, the jury, to have some very interesting conversations about skins, architectural language, what can be part of an architectural language (can you include smell as an architectural element?), etc... Overall these were a very exciting set of projects and gave us lots to talk about. I do not want to get into many details, but a student made a very interesting and provocative project that led us to bring in issues of sarcasm in architecture and the sublime.

    Check out the exercises Joshua gave his class (large PDF's): WK_03.pdf | WK_04.pdf

    So there you have it, a limited view of disco from the sidelines.

    disco students from a Harvard Gazette article. I will try to update this entry with some images from the reviews...

    View full entry

  • Catch 22

    Quilian Riano
    Jul 8, '07 9:59 AM EST

    "Live Earth" was a series of concerts that took place yesterday in nine cities worldwide that has proven to be the most controversial of its (multi-city, multi-celebrity) type. The discussion that has developed in the news item about it and in this thread seem to point out that environmentalists... View full entry

  • On losing (some) faith - Peabody Terrace

    Quilian Riano
    Jun 24, '07 9:47 AM EST

    I am sure that we all have had experiences inside of buildings by the more well known architects. I have lived inside a Legorreta and a Sert. The Legorreta was in the Santa Fe Art Institute during my wife's art residency, and I have to say that I was in love with the place. The materiality, scale... View full entry

  • postopolis! recap

    Quilian Riano
    Jun 4, '07 9:06 PM EST

    I thoroughly enjoyed going down to NYC for Postopolis! and I want thank Bryan, Dan, Geoff, and Jill for the invitation. It was also really good to put faces to the names of so many archinecters, they re-reinforced the hypothesis I have of archinecters being full of passion and drive. I felt proud... View full entry

  • Postopolis!

    Quilian Riano
    May 19, '07 3:06 PM EST

    Postopolis! is a five-day event of near-continuous conversation about architecture, urbanism, landscape, and design. Four bloggers, from four different cities, will host a series of live discussions, interviews, slideshows, panels, talks, and other presentations, and fuse the informal energy and... View full entry

  • Potentials; Green Week part 2

    Quilian Riano
    Apr 19, '07 10:37 PM EST

    Part 2 - Faculty Panel (previously: student panel) From right to left: Thomas Schroepfer, Preston Scott Cohen, Leland Cott, Toshiko Mori, Antoine Picon, Christian Werthmann, and the Moderator William Saunders. William Saunders started by asking a series of questions including: -Are we facing a... View full entry

  • Potentials; Green Week part 1

    Quilian Riano
    Apr 18, '07 3:36 PM EST

    It is getting close to earth day and the GSD student group Green Design (Kera Lagios and Aron Chang co-chairs) decided that instead of celebrating one day they would have events the entire week. The first event was a round table discussion with students from some of Harvard's graduate schools. I... View full entry

  • Miami - Post (sub)Urbanism

    Quilian Riano
    Mar 31, '07 12:08 PM EST

    Trying to escape the slings and arrows of the Cantabrigian winter my wife and I went to Miami for Spring Break. I guess I have not been there in a while, the immense scale of the car culture took me by surprise. We mainly stayed in Miami Lakes, city best known for its minimum security prisons... View full entry

  • Reviewing the Midterm

    Quilian Riano
    Mar 21, '07 6:33 PM EST

    Sorry for the lack of updates, but this semester is by far the hardest I have ever had, plus I have been busy outside of school too. Structures is sucking up most of my time during week days. There are times I hate it with a passion, but I have to admit that being able to figure out forces on an... View full entry

  • more musings on the virtual world

    Quilian Riano
    Feb 25, '07 10:07 PM EST

    The Good- The Gross Point charrette is a pretty amazing example of the power of the internet. As I said in that thread this is the first time, to my knowledge, that an internet group has led to spontaneous action in the quality of built environment in the real world. It started with an innocent... View full entry

  • The Trifecta: 2010/Octopus/1:10

    Quilian Riano
    Feb 23, '07 1:03 PM EST

    A quick note to do three things: 1- Talk about the 2010 Imperative 2- shamelessly plug a buddy's video 3- celebrate my 100th entry / 1000th comment 1- As I have posted in the 2010 thread the entire webcast is available for viewing at: It was a very... View full entry

  • the precedents

    Quilian Riano
    Feb 12, '07 12:15 AM EST

    always at the beginning of every studio, the first step, the glue that holds it all together: the precedents. For this semester I chose Rogelio (the brick) Salmona in Alto de Pinos, Bogota and Josep Lluis (the block) Mateo in Amsterdam. Salmona with an impossible sectional site creates flat... View full entry

  • Housing

    Quilian Riano
    Feb 4, '07 7:12 PM EST

    The semester has finally gotten on its way and it promises to be a pretty difficult one. It is the last one in the core series without not much room for choice and packed full of fun classes like structures, pro-practice, and environmental technologies (ET). Thankfully as an AP from UF I was able... View full entry

  • CCTV in the MOMA

    Quilian Riano
    Jan 24, '07 7:26 PM EST

  • the semester is finally over

    Quilian Riano
    Jan 18, '07 3:37 PM EST

    As you may know the GSD has an interesting and pain-enlonging system by which you come back after the holidays to take exams, write papers, finish some projects, etc... I just finished my first semester yesterday and now I am a free man for another week and a half. I finished up by writing a... View full entry

  • La Sabana de Bogotá

    Quilian Riano
    Jan 3, '07 9:01 PM EST

    A few images from my holiday visit to La Sabana de Bogotá, a large plateau 2,600 meters high up on the eastern cordillera of the Colombian Andes. La Sabana's most famous city is Bogotá, although it is home to a lot of smaller cities. 1 - Bogotá These images are sadly almost... View full entry

  • The 2010 Imperative

    Quilian Riano
    Dec 21, '06 12:19 PM EST

    Architecture 2030 (who I freelance for) is launching The 2010 Imperative, a brand new challenge and strategy to transform design education. Along with the imperative, they are also organizing a fully interactive Teach-In webcast, on February 20th, featuring: Dr. James Hansen from NASA, Susan... View full entry

  • 1 down 4 to go

    Quilian Riano
    Dec 20, '06 3:52 PM EST

    The (design) semester is over, and I am left with that all too familiar feeling that sooo much more could have been done. The critiques were fun, very accurate with the strengths and weaknesses of all the projects, and overall very positive. The biggest issue with my project is that I should... View full entry

  • musings on the virtual world

    Quilian Riano
    Nov 28, '06 10:12 PM EST

    Two, well maybe three, things about the emerging virtual world that caught my attention while struggling to finish my design project. These musings are loosely tied by having to do with space, place, architecture, and the virtual. First, the blog This Spartan Life brought to us by one of my... View full entry

  • The learnin' is never over

    Quilian Riano
    Nov 15, '06 3:48 PM EST

    “In America in the sixties an extra ingredient was added to this recipe for artistic change: social revolution. Urban renewal, supplier of work for architects for two decades and a major locus of the soft remains of the Modern movement, was not merely artistically stale, it was socially... View full entry

  • the phenomenon of the midterm slump

    Quilian Riano
    Nov 7, '06 4:21 PM EST

    Is it just me or it is hard to keep the focus and energy in design projects immediately after midterm? It has happened to me in almost every single studio I have ever had. I don't know if it is tiredness, I don't know if it is boredom, but whoa I am having a bad case of the design slumps. Any... View full entry

  • Education and Practice Forum: History and Theory

    Quilian Riano
    Nov 6, '06 1:57 PM EST

    This weekend the GSD hosted a forum on Education and Practice , below are some comments and an image of the panel that discussed History and Theory. One the first and most powerful comments was by Jeff Kipnis as he accused others in the panel of "ethical agnosticism", ignoring the complicity of... View full entry

  • Towering over the Midterm

    Quilian Riano
    Oct 30, '06 10:40 PM EST

    Subtitle: Tomorrow I find out what Harvard juries are like. Stuff for midterm: 1/64 model 1/32 model boards with all types of information the mess View full entry

  • it sounds good in theory - rock and roll and the mega structure

    Quilian Riano
    Oct 23, '06 2:28 PM EST

    Today we started Buildings Texts and Contexts listening to a 1966 broadcast from Radio Caroline. The subject: Architecture as Megastructure The reason for the radio broadcast: looking at the role that pirated radios had in making the new “electronic environment” theorized by... View full entry

  • vernacular and the modern (?)

    Quilian Riano
    Oct 20, '06 5:06 PM EST

    A series of questions that have risen in my Situating the Modern class: -How did the vernacular influence modernism? How does that square off with the modernist claim of a break with the past and tradition? -What do these buildings have to teach us about it? Corb - Villa Mandrot: Sert - Miro's... View full entry

  • moving on up

    Quilian Riano
    Oct 19, '06 9:37 AM EST

    An update on studio, well at least some images of models. Since this post I have decided to create a tower for the lion's share of the program. reasons: a-place making of this site as a new heart for the area (the idea is basically what they do in Barcelona: create towers as centers of local... View full entry

  • A funny thing happened on the way to the insight

    Quilian Riano
    Oct 12, '06 9:05 AM EST

    Yesterday there was a symposium here at the GSD. I post it because these older gentlemen were very critical of many of the architectures (including their tools) that we see today. The premise: invite some older GSD alumni (John Johansen, Ulrich Franzen, and Victor Lundi) to candidly talk with... View full entry

  • Studio-First Pass

    Quilian Riano
    Oct 10, '06 11:51 AM EST

    We are finally getting down and dirty with the program and site. Whats going on (from the top): -Trying to make a new core for harvard's allston expansion means bringing in non-harvard people as the square does accross the river. The program we are given is not enough. -From Arts and Science to... View full entry

  • it sounds good in theory - adorno

    Quilian Riano
    Oct 4, '06 10:43 AM EST

    This week's readings for Buildings Texts and Contexts: -Hitchcock, Henry-Russell. "The Architecture of Bureaucracy and the Architecture of Genius." Architectural Review 101, no. 601 (1947): 3-6. -Adorn, Theodore W. "Theses Upon Art and Religion Today." The Kenyon Review VII, no. 4 (1945)... View full entry

  • the end of virtual

    Quilian Riano
    Oct 1, '06 10:37 PM EST

    I plotted my first model: 1-Solid Works Model 2-After 10 hours and $11 for my 2 cubic inches of material, I have a 4"x7"x2.25" model-a pencil holder. It comes out with a thick wall of 'extra' material that I had to dig out with great effort. I actually liked the extra stuff as a design element... View full entry

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