Lian (Harvard GSD M.Arch.I)

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

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    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: Dean Mohsen sent an email to the school this morning, asking us to meet with him in the "pit" for an announcement at 12:45. Dean Mohsen loves to set up these kinds of encounters, prioritizing intimacy and excitement over, say, seating, egress, and (though not a problem in the Pit) ventilation. But it was a quick, warm, and fun moment. (See my live blog from a small talk Ábalos gave last semester.)

    [Dean Mohsen]

    [our incoming chair of architecture, Iñaki Ábalos]

    From Dean Mohsen's follow-up email:

    "I am pleased to announce the appointment of Iñaki Ábalos as Chair of the Department of Architecture as of July 1, 2013. As Professor in Residence of Architecture at the GSD, he leads option studios, lectures, and seminars that are grounded in both technology and history. His courses on the thermal properties of architecture and the integration of natural elements include Air in Motion and Thermodynamic Madrid."

    ..."A founding member of Ábalos + Sentkiewicz Arquitectos (since 2007) and Ábalos and Herreros (1984-2007), his work is broadly interdisciplinary, integrating theory and practice and focusing on the interaction of architecture, technology, landscape, and culture. Ábalos + Sentkiewicz’s design work incorporates social and emerging cultural values, specializing in highrise buildings, cultural equipment, public spaces, and collective housing."

    "In addition to his internationally recognized practice, Ábalos has written extensively on architecture. Together with Juan Herreros, he authored Le Corbusier Skyscrapers (City of Madrid, 1988); Tower and Office (MIT Press, 2003); and Natural-Artificial (Exit LMI, Madrid, 1999). Ábalos edited Nature and Artifice (Editorial Gustavo Gili, Barcelona, 2009), and wrote The Good Life (Editorial Gustavo Gili, Barcelona, 2000); Picturesque Atlas (Editorial Gustavo Gili, Barcelona, Volume I, 2005, Volume II, 2007); and the monograph Alejandro de la Sota with Josep Llinàs and Moisés Puente (Fundación Caja de Arquitectos, Barcelona, 2009)."

    It's a big change for our department, as Ábalos and Cohen are quite different. Ábalos is European, while Cohen is very American; he's softspoken, whereas Cohen is more expressive and forceful; and their approaches to architecture and pedagogy seem to be quite divergent. What they share, I suppose, is an attitude towards digital culture, contemporary design, and fabrication that is qualified and complicated--though in quite different ways. Ábalos deepens contemporary thought and practice through his focus on thermodynamics, and experiential, cultural, and technical modes of performativity; whereas Cohen takes a focused view of the discipline through the most intellectual and rigorous kind of formalism, steeped in geometry, representation, fabrication, and a history of architectural discourse. So it will be interesting to see the department's new directions, even as Cohen's significant legacy will, to be sure, continue.

    Thanks for reading!


    • 1 Comment

    • bawshaw

      Dear Students/Queridos Estudiantes:

      Beginning the Fall of 2013 the the official language of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University will be Spanish, preferably Castillian Spanish as recognized by the Real Academia Española.

      Al principio de Otoño 2013 la lenguaje oficial de la Escuela Postgrado de Diseño (anteriormente Graduate School of Design) a Universidad de Jarvard (Harvard University) será español, preferablemente el Castellaño reconocida por la Real Academia Española.

      Saludos cordiales,
      Iñaki Abalos
      Jefe de Postgrado
      Departamento de Arquitectura
      Universidad de Jarvard

      Apr 26, 13 7:42 am  · 

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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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