Harvard University - GSD (Quilian)



Sep '06 - Dec '09

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    the last post

    Quilian Riano
    Dec 6, '09 10:25 PM EST
    Three and a half years ago I put everything that fit in a mid-size sedan and left the high desert of New Mexico to the shores of the Charles river in Cambridge. All this just to have an excuse to start a coveted school blog at archinect (hehe). Over 100 posts later, and six-months after graduation, it is finally time to end this school blog. But it won't be long until you see me here again from the other side of the pedagogical divide (details below).

    Before I go on I would like to thank everyone that read and commented on this blog. Now to tie some lose ends (sorry, this is a long post):

    So... What happened with thesis?

    GROUNDED! was selected for inclusion in this year's PLATFORM exhibit and publication. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself among the theses of my friends, and Chinatown INSERT! collaborators, Marrikka Trotter and Trevor Patt. We were grouped with projects that deal with Authorship, joining studio work and lectures by Joshua Prince Ramus, Rodolfo Machado, Jose Luis Vallejo and Belinda Tato.


    So... What did I learn anyway?

    I came into the GSD with three broad interests: 1- interactivity, technology, flexibility, and modularity (I view media/blogging as part of this interest), 2-ecology and building performance, and 3-expanding the role of design (and the designer by extension) into larger social/political issues. I am leaving still interested in the same issues, but with a fuller understanding of each of these issues. The GSD was particularly well suited for my interests because of the access I had to landscape architecture and urban design. In fact, studying landscape theory (a lot of it that coming from architects like Waldheim, Allen and Koolhaas) was what helped me formulate the arguments I used in my thesis and that I will continue to use as I teach/practice. In this regards I am glad to see that the GSD is making an effort to have the different departments talking to each other more and more.

    about blogging?
    When I began this blog I half expected that it would be left to gather dust eventually. One I started, however, I began to learn that far from a distraction, blogging could be a key part of my learning experience at Harvard. Having to write really forced me to start weaving a narrative across classes, studios and semesters, uncovering connections I may have missed otherwise. It also helped me to quickly explore and learn something from things that ended up being dead-ends.

    outside of class?
    Three of my favorite extracurricular GSD projects:
    -trays - I am very proud to have been a co-founder and the first editor-in-chief of this new web-journal for the GSD student body.
    -GSD Ecological Urbanism - This team-blog was so well received that parts of it are going to be included in the book the GSD is producing with material from the conference.
    -Chinatown INSERT! Marrikka, Trevor, and I just visited the insert after 2-months of operation and it was filled to capacity. The flexible design allows them to hold readings for children, English courses for the elderly, and Saturday night movie screenings. This is one of the best teams I have been a part of and the final product shows it.

    So... What's next?

    As I say goodbye to this blog soon I will say hi! to a teaching blog as next semester I will begin teaching design studios at Wentworth Institute of Technology. At Wentworth I am teaching a Housing and Community Design studio working with the students and a local Bostonian community to identify their urban, landscape, and architectural needs.
    Spring 2010 will also see me going down to NYC once a week to co-teach a studio with Teddy Cruz at CCNY. We are guiding ten students in the design of a community in the southern periphery of Bogota.

    dsgn agnc!
    Fellow GSD grad Dk Osseo-Asare and I have started an activist design practice we call DSGN AGNC (website and blog coming soon). We currently have some research and design projects, focused in Latin America and Africa, more details to come.

    As I said before I am probably getting a new blog here in archinect. I am also excited to be working with editor Nancy Levinson on a few pieces for places journal, beginning in January.

    I could not end this blog without thanking the following people for their time and help while at the GSD:
    Teddy Cruz, Eric Howeler, Christian Werthmann, Carl Steinitz, Mohsen Mostafavi, Paul Nakazawa, Charles Waldheim, Toshiko Mori, Alan Altshuler, Margaret Crawford, Thomas Schroepfer, Timoty Hyde, Amale Andraos, Melissa Vaughn, Shauna Gillies-Smith, Martha Schwartz, Sibel Bozdogan, Laura Snowdon, William Mitchell and Lluis Ortega.




    • Q- you've managed to create one of the best archinect school blogs. It has been a pleasure to vicariously witness your transformation and education at the GSD!

      I look forward to you joining the 'teaching blog movement' at archinect - good luck and best wishes!

      Dec 7, 09 9:35 am  · 

      q - great blog - it'll be missed.

      I'm really looking forward to reading about your future endeavors.

      Dec 7, 09 10:08 am  · 

      q great news about the teaching blog! looking forward to it!

      Dec 7, 09 12:30 pm  · 

      Bolt bus from Boston to NYC 15$. Much, Much, Much better the Fung Wah.

      Also the faculty at Wentworth are fantastic, you will fit right in. Congrats.

      Dec 7, 09 3:19 pm  · 

      congratulations on the teaching gig(s) q... looking forward to the new teaching blog...

      Dec 7, 09 5:12 pm  · 

      q, don't be a stranger, come back sometime and let us know what's going down.

      Dec 7, 09 7:32 pm  · 

      thanks everyone!

      Dec 8, 09 11:57 am  · 

      proof that you can do it all. Congratulations Q on everything - this has been a model blog in many ways and your community interests have grown into a social dividend. Well done... now join us on the dark side - the world of lecturering

      Dec 8, 09 8:42 pm  · 

      q, congrats on finishing! And especially on your new gig! I totally agree with you on your description of blogging... it has helped me learn as well. I found the transition out of grad school to be a peculiar time but having plans for what's next will help you tremendously. Good luck with everything, and hopefully we'll cross paths again soon (whether on a computer screen or in person). ;-)


      Dec 10, 09 12:14 pm  · 

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