Lian (Harvard GSD M.Arch.I)

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

  • VIDEO - Kanye stops by studio to talk about architecture with students

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Nov 17, '13 7:17 PM EST

    Hi Archinect,

    Yeezy surprised students tonight with a short visit to Harvard GSD's design studio. I REALLY like Kanye--Late Registration, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Watch the Throne basically got me through studio, from first year to thesis--so I'm bummed that I wasn't there. He walked around, admired some of my friends' models, and stood up on a desk to speak with students about the value of architecture. Apparently the GSD African American Students Union had written to him a few weeks before to extend an invitation and that Kanye met with student leaders in this group beforehand. [UPDATE: for more on this backstory, please see this post.]

    Maybe we'll see him again for final reviews.

    Scroll down for the video.

    Kanye West: …So after walking through here I decided that I wanted to make sure for anyone that didn't have tickets tonight that you all could have tickets to the show. So anybody who wants to come tonight, you can have tickets for the entire office! [CHEERS, MAD LAUGHTER]

    But I just wanted to tell you guys: I really do believe that the world can be saved through design, and everything needs to actually be "architected." And this is the reason why even some of the first DONDA employees were architects that started designing t-shirts instead of buildings. But just to see the work be actualized.

    If I sit down and talk to Oprah for 2 hours, the conversation is about realization, self realization, and actually seeing your creativity happen in front of you. So the reason why I turn up so much in interviews is because I've tasted what it means to create and be able to impact, and affect in a positive way.

    And I know that there's more creativity to happen. And I know that there's traditionalists that hold back the good thoughts and there's people in offices that stop the creative people, and [who] are intimidated by actual good ideas. 

    I believe that utopia is actually possible--but we're led by the least noble, the least dignified, the least tasteful, the dumbest, and the most political. So in no way am I a politician--I'm usually at my best politically incorrect [LAUGHTER] and very direct.  

    I really appreciate you guys' willingness to learn and hone your craft, and not be lazy about creation. I'm very inspired to be in this space.

    Tonight, this show, if you come see it--um, I'm a bit self conscious because I'm showing it to architects. [LAUGHTER] So the stage does have flaws in it. [LAUGHTER] It's an expression of emotion so give me a pass on that. And that's basically all I have to say so thank you very much.

    (Thanks for reading!   -L)

    P.S. Everything was getting reposted so fast that I don't know who the photos are from, so let me know if I can add your photo credit or make another adjustment?

    View full entry

    Kanye speaks with architecture students at Harvard Graduate School of Design (Video by and courtesy of Flavio Sciaraffia.)

  • Live Blog - Mohsen Mostafavi in Conversation with Nicholas Negroponte

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Oct 29, '13 10:00 PM EST

    Hi Archinect! Co-live-blogging tonight with Drew Harry from MIT Media Lab. Full house in (half) Piper! From the GSD website: Mohsen Mostafavi, architect and educator, is the dean and the Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design at the Harvard GSD. His work focuses on modes and... View full entry

  • Live Blog - Walid Raad and Theaster Gates in Conversation, with Mohsen Mostafavi, "On Art and Cities"

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Oct 26, '13 6:10 AM EST

    Hi Archinect! I'm co-live-blogging tonight with Allison Green, a first-year student in the GSD's Master of Urban Planning program who is also starting to blog at Archinect. From the GSD website: Theaster Gates, an artist trained as an urban planner and sculptor, has developed a practice that... View full entry

  • Live Blog - Robert Wilson, Sensory Media Platform

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Oct 18, '13 5:42 PM EST

    Hi Archinect! Full-ish house in Piper tonight. From the GSD's website: Robert Wilson is among the world's foremost theater and visual artists, acclaimed for stage works that integrate dance, movement, lighting, sculpture, music, and text in striking, emotionally charged images. His productions... View full entry

  • Live Blog - Craig Edward Dykers, The Psychology of Space and the Moving Body

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Sep 26, '13 6:15 PM EST

    Hi Archinect! I'm at the Boston Society of Architect's BSA Space for a lecture from Craig Edward Dykers, Founding Partner at Snøhetta. It's the opening event for the Association of Architecture Organizations' conference "Making and Measuring IMPACT: The Value of Architecture and... View full entry

  • Live Blog - Panel Discussion: Frontiers of Design Criticism

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Sep 18, '13 6:48 PM EST

    Hi Archinect! I'm back at the GSD for a panel moderated by Shantel Blakely of Harvard GSD Public Programs called "Frontiers of Design Criticism." From the GSD website:  Today the feedback, spin, and other acts of interpretation that were once the preserve of historians and other experts are... View full entry

  • Live Blog - Dorie Clark, "Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future"

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Sep 11, '13 7:09 PM EST

    Hi Archinect, Fair warning: this one isn't architecture. I'm at a Harvard Alumni event--author and marketing, branding, and business strategy expert Dorie Clark is talking about "reinventing yourself." Clark is an alumnus of Harvard's Divinity School. Clark opens with an anecdote about Joanne... View full entry

  • Useless Architectures: Interview with 2013 SOM Prize Winner James Leng

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Sep 3, '13 7:03 PM EST

    The SOM Prize is an annual $50 000 fellowship allowing a recent graduate of an accredited American undergraduate or graduate program in architecture, urban design, or related fields to conduct research and travel for a project of their choice. The SOM Foundation recently announced James Leng, who... View full entry

  • Live Blog - Sylvia Lavin and Eric Owen Moss

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Aug 7, '13 12:53 PM EST

    Hi Archinect! I'm in Los Angeles (yeah!) for an ACSA board meeting and we thought we'd take in Sylvia Lavin and Eric Owen Moss at SCI-Arc. SL: ...There are all of the different things that architects make and that we recognize as architecture in some way.  And then, what are the different... View full entry

  • Graduation: final post as a Harvard GSD M.Arch.I school blogger

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Jun 3, '13 11:24 AM EST

    Hi Archinect! We graduated! Although I'll continue to blog and live blog when I can, this is my last post as a GSD M.Arch.I student.  Graduation was hot and sweaty, with lots of waiting--but also incredibly exciting and gratifying to enjoy this final day with classmates, friends, and family... View full entry

  • New Haven/Yale School of Architecture

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    May 24, '13 12:55 PM EST

    Hi Archinect! I was in New Haven today, to interview Michelle Addington. I haven't been here since I was a prospective student, so it is somehow fitting to be back now that my M.Arch.I degree is done. It was also great to spend some time with Michelle, as her work is so interesting and her move... View full entry

  • Live Blog - John David Todd, "Sometimes alone. Mostly with others" (M.Arch.I thesis)

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    May 17, '13 5:09 PM EST

    Hi Archinect, Last session of the day. John Todd, advised by Toshiko Mori. 4:30: JT: "We live in a post-utopian world...Meaning is not created from a transcendent source but emerges from around us [through an immanence]... The idea of individual vs. collective is a false dialectic. We are not... View full entry

  • Live Blog - M.Arch.I thesis

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    May 17, '13 4:36 PM EST

    Hi Archinect, Just a few scenes from the GSD this afternoon, our last day as M.Arch.I students...   Thanks for looking! Lian View full entry

  • Live Blog - Ceri Edmunds, "Consolidation: The suburban shopping mall as a paradigm of public space."

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    May 17, '13 2:01 PM EST

    Hi Archinect,   1:10: Ceri Edmunds is presenting. "This project places the shopping mall into anatagonism with the suburban residential. This project seeks consolidation..." At the bottom level are loading docks and parking; the loading docks service the three voids. Above this are the... View full entry

  • Live Blog - Trey Kirk, "Seattle Public Library and Courthouse"

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    May 17, '13 1:15 PM EST

    Hi Archinect,Okay, we're only an hour behind schedule.12:00: Trey Kirk begins, describing Mies' seminal courtroom design, with a cell off of each courtroom; and a typology of courtrooms since then. In the internal programming for courtrooms, double-height courtrooms and single height judges'... View full entry

  • Live Blog - Drew Cowdrey, "Contemporary Asylum" (M.Arch.I Thesis Review)

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    May 17, '13 11:19 AM EST

    Hi Archinect, 10:44: Drew begins. The focus here moves from the adaptation of self to the adjustment of nature...For centuries, architects have attempted to [cure] the self through what I'll term 'environmental modification.' In contrast there is biological modification, as in the film... View full entry

  • Live Blog - Fareez Giga, "Nonsense" (M.Arch.I thesis review)

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    May 17, '13 9:37 AM EST

    Hi Archinect! Second day of M.Arch.I thesis reviews at the GSD. 9:30 am: Fareez Giga begins presenting "Nonsense." Advisor: P. Scott Cohen. "This all began with Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." ...Reality is a construct, a fiction. To confront the real is to...understand this... View full entry

  • Live Blog - Cathleen McGuigan, "Women and the Changing World of Architecture"

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    May 10, '13 7:41 PM EST

    Hi Archinect! Studio reviews are over at the GSD. I'm finishing up a few papers--my last school assignments ever--and helping some friends with thesis. I'm also excited for tonight's lecture, from the editor-in-chief at Architectural Record, Cathleen McGuigan. From the GSD website: "Cathleen... View full entry

  • Iñaki Ábalos appointed Chair of Architecture at Harvard GSD

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Apr 25, '13 4:37 PM EST

    Hi Archinect, At long last, Jose Ignacio Ábalos Vazquez has been announced as the incoming chair of architecture at the GSD. This has been widely rumored for over a year around school, but only now has been made official and public. The announcement was low-key and almost content-free... View full entry

  • Live Blog - Preston Scott Cohen, "Successive Architecture"

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Apr 23, '13 6:41 PM EST

    Hi Archinect, We're in full Piper tonight for a historic event, the Walter Gropius Lecture, delivered by our Chair of Architecture, Preston Scott Cohen. [I'll add a link to the video when it's posted; this blog post is just the low-budget teaser for a must-watch blockbuster film.] [Photo op with... View full entry

    [Scott's roast - Fareez Giga, James Martin, and others.]

  • Live Blog - Techniques: James Carpenter and TriPyramid, "Extending Collaboration"

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Apr 8, '13 3:37 PM EST

    Hi Archinect, I'm in Stubbins (a small room at the GSD) for James Carpenter and Michael Mulhern, a founding partner at TriPyramid Structures. Martin Bechthold made the introductions. JC: "Michael just informed me that we've completed over 60 projects together." MM: We build widgets, at the end of... View full entry

  • Live Blog - Rahul Mehrotra, KUMBH MELA: Mapping the Ephemeral City

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Apr 1, '13 6:38 PM EST

    Hi Archinect! Tonight's event is one that I've been (peripherally) involved in, as this project is one that we've been discussing in the context of an urban planning and design seminar that I'm taking led by Rahul Mehrotra, called "Kinetic City." (Full video available at here.) From the website... View full entry

  • PETITION: Recognize Denise Scott Brown for her work in Robert Venturi's 1991 Prize

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Apr 1, '13 4:47 PM EST

    Hi Archinect, You might have seen that Denise Scott Brown has asked to be recognized by the Pritzker committee. As Dezeen reports, "At the time the prize was awarded, Scott Brown had been a partner at the couple's practice Venturi Scott Brown and Associates for 22 years and had co-authored with... View full entry

  • an online photobooth and gallery to share your emoji (emoticon) faces!

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Mar 12, '13 8:36 PM EST

    Hi Archinect, I love emoji faces. I love to send them, I love to receive them, and I love to make little scenes with them. So does my boyfriend, Drew Harry. So much so that we've been working on a little side project called It's a website where you can browse people's attempts at... View full entry

  • Co-Host 'ARCHITECT Live' with Stephen Chung, AIA

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Mar 12, '13 4:25 PM EST

    Hi Archinect, Did you see this? Until March 29, you can submit a 2-minute video audition for a chance to be a co-host of "ARCHITECT Live" at the 2013 AIA National Convention in Denver at the end of June. The AIA flies you to Denver, puts you up, and pays you $75 a day (hey, it's still... View full entry

  • Live Blog - Zaha Hadid

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Mar 6, '13 8:43 PM EST

    Hi Archinect, You can watch the full video of this event at the GSD's YouTube Channel. 6:29: Zaha's in the house tonight. There was a huge line in the lobby--she's obviously one of the few architects who attracts such large non-architect audiences. The lecture is apparently untitled. It's already... View full entry

  • Live Blog - GSD Alternative Careers Panel

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Feb 22, '13 6:38 PM EST

    Hi Archinect! 6:35 pm. Judy Sue Fulton and Lauren Kim, two M.Arch.I students in my class, are hosting a panel on alternative design careers. There will be short introductions and then some conversation with individual panelists around tables. Bryan Boyer: says he's a "confused" professional. "I'm... View full entry

  • Defending Your Life--and other stuff

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Feb 15, '13 11:00 PM EST

    Hello Archinect! So...I finished my thesis but still have a few classes to wrap up this semester. I'm taking a statistics class with Michael Hooper, an independent study research project with Jay Wickersham (as a professional practice elective), and a seminar with Rahul Mehrotra on the "Kinetic... View full entry

  • Thesis FINISHED! (Drawn out: performances of mundane inhabitation)

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Feb 3, '13 10:42 PM EST

    Hi Archinect,Well, I'm very happy to say that I presented my thesis just over a week ago, and it went well. I gave the following very short preamble:There’s a termite in the southern hemisphere that lives in a colony, that builds a mound, that acts as an external lung. The mound—which, after... View full entry

    Drawn out: performances of mundane inhabitation

  • Thesis: Drawn out: performances of mundane inhabitation

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Jan 18, '13 1:08 PM EST

    Hi Archinect, My thesis project has been keeping me from live blogging lately, but I wanted to share some clips of my thesis work in progress. I'm calling the project "Drawn out: performances of mundane inhabitation." It's not a design project, but an essay in the form of a video, exploring the... View full entry

    Wake up - attention and the senses

    Cooking - habits and memory

    Going outdoors - environmental stimuli

    Library - movement, activity, quiet, and immersion

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About this Blog

This blog was most active from 2009-2013. Writing about my experiences and life at Harvard GSD started out as a way for me to process my experiences as an M.Arch.I student, and evolved into a record of the intellectual and cultural life of the Cambridge architecture (and to a lesser extent, design/technology) community, through live-blogs. These days, I work as a data storyteller (and blogger at in San Francisco, and still post here once in a while.

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  • Lian Chikako Chang

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