Lian (Harvard GSD M.Arch.I)

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

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

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Sep 26, '11 3:23 AM EST

    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 projects or works-in-progress that got left behind and that people were too lazy to remove and dispose of properly.

    In this context, Flatland--designed by recent M.Arch.II grad Casey Hughes and developed and installed in collaboration with Hiroshi Jacobs and others--raises the bar. Depending on where and how you look at it, the cords can either look immaterial or very material, weightless or heavy, soaring or constrained.

    The design, selected through a school-wide competition, features red and blue bungee cords spanning between pairs of metal cables, creating a geometry that varies from a pure hyperbolic paraboloid (a "hypar") only through the force of gravity acting on the elastic cords and relatively inelastic cables. In terms of its exploitation of geometry, attention to material properties, and (appropriately simple but crisp) detailing, Flatland also exemplifies many of the design values that typify the GSD's M.Arch. programs in recent years.

    Here are some photos. For more information on Flatland and on Casey's firm, you can visit his website.

    [All photos courtesy Casey Hughes.]

    Thanks for reading!

    P.S. Flatland is dedicated to the incoming students of the Graduate School of Design. (Which is code for saying: if you don't know what a hyperbolic paraboloid is now, incoming M.Arch.I students, you will in very short order!)

    P.P.S. Flatland's credits are as follows:

    Design: Casey Hughes

    Mock-ups and Development: Casey Hughes, Hiroshi Jacobs

    Installation: Casey Hughes, Hiroshi Jacobs, Christina Yessios, Rachel Dao, Sara Newey, Day Jimenez, Emily Wettstein, Olayinka Dosekun, Benjamin Lehrer, Jon Scelsa, Sandra Herrera, and Matthew Waxman.

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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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