Lian (Harvard GSD M.Arch.I)

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

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    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.

    At breakfast at the GSD, we could see the procession of schools moving from building to building, picking up the graduates from each school along the way.

    The procession.

    Me with our Class Marshall Michael J. Smith! I am super proud and excited to share this year's Alpha Chi Rho medal with Michael.

    With Trey Kirk and Drew Cowdrey, who won some ginormous design prize.

    The architecture grads decorated our hats with blue houses, but Christin To went above and beyond to add a marauding rhino.

    Harvard Yard during the morning exercises.

    The audience fills the yard as well as the steps to Widener library.

    Dean Mohsen Mostafavi presents the GSD's degree candidates.

    President Drew Faust awards degrees.

    After the morning exercises, we gathered back in the trays at the GSD to collect our degrees--this is when our names were actually called and we walked across the stage. I loved seeing the trays transformed from studio space to a ceremony space in this way.

    But first, all the graduates enter the trays from the fifth tray, proceeding down all the stairs.

    Oprah addressed the new graduates in the afternoon. [Photo from]

    Class photo--GSD Architecture. Thanks to Julia Xiao for the photo.

    This summer, I'll be teaching an architecture studio at our summer Career Discovery program, then starting my new job at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture as their new Director of Research and Information! My task there will be to build the ACSA's capacity to gather, analyze, and communicate data and information about architectural education and the profession, to help support more informed conversations about the future of both. I am extremely excited about the position and maybe I will even blog once in a while in that role!

    Before I sign off, I have to say how grateful I am to have been part of an extraordinary institution--both the Graduate School of Design and the wider Harvard community. Being here has opened my eyes and mind to the profession, to an attitude about design and making, and to a range of possibilities about careers and live paths.

    The professors, events, and resources have of course been amazing, but mostly I could not have asked for a better group of classmates. In the same way that a studio environment helps you to learn architecture, by letting you work in close proximity to your peers, it has been incredibly motivating and informative for me to be able to witness everyone's growth and experiments over the past four years. Seeing how others figure out what makes them tick, how they work best, and how to position themselves for the kind of work and life they hope to pursue is really the best education--and the communities of students, professors, and visitors at the GSD (and Harvard and the wider Cambridge community, including "that humble technical institute down Mass Ave") have offered this in spades.

    To my classmates at the GSD and the Knox Fellows: I am excited to continue witnessing your experiments and achievements as you find your way through life.

    And to Archinect: thanks for reading, for these past four years.



    • Spackle

      inspiring! congrats. 

      Jun 3, 13 3:40 pm  · 

      Congratulations, Lian, both on graduating and on your new job.  ACSA is very lucky to have you, and by extension all of us interested in good architectural education will benefit!

      Jun 4, 13 8:36 am  · 

      Congratulations Lian! And thank you for maintaining such a consistently enjoyable and insightful blog!

      Jun 4, 13 12:30 pm  · 

      sounds like a great opportunity! you have set a high bar for future GSD bloggers to follow...

      Jun 5, 13 2:40 pm  · 

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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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