Lian (Harvard GSD M.Arch.I)

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

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    Second Project Done.

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Oct 9, '09 9:09 AM EST

    Hello Archinect!

    Our second project, which was a house in a 7.5' gap between two existing gable-roofed houses, is finished. It was great to see what everyone came up with; this project required formal invention much more than the first one, which was more analytical, so there was a great deal of eye-candy on people's desks and at the final review.

    I'll try to get permissions and files so I can share text and images from other people's projects here, too (any classmates reading this, please email me with your stuff if you're willing), but for now mine will have to do.

    Although we also wrote longer descriptions, we were asked to encapsulate our design intentions in a 144 character statement, as a way to guide our work in the project's second week. I wrote: "When oriented such that one moves vertically into, through, and out of a mass, how can passage through a dwelling be marked by light?" My line weights (among many other things) leave many things to be desired, but I was happy enough with the result for now.

    Here it is--thanks for reading/looking!

    image Floorplans, from basement (shown at the bottom) to the roof garden/pavillion (shown at the top).

    image Short section.

    image Long section.

    image A monolithic barrier, which you pass under to enter.

    image Model. This is the back of the house.

    image Model, with the adjoining existing house removed.

    image Model rearranged by floor.


    • Philarch

      7.5' wide eh? Interesting. Sounds like some projects in Japan.

      Was there a reason the model was made in a subtractive manner from solid blocks of wood?

      Oct 9, 09 12:03 pm  · 

      Very beautiful work with wood.

      Oct 9, 09 10:07 pm  · 
      Lian Chikako Chang

      Thanks for your comments (and very sorry for my delayed reply)! Yes, it was funny because to us 7.5' is so small, but in a Japanese setting this would be totally ordinary. Maybe that's why I started looking to Ando for inspiration.

      The subtractive process, of carving out from the wood rather than building up from small pieces, was because I was thinking about mass for the project. You enter the building by passing under a monolithic facade (ie. going under a mass), then you proceed through it by moving through this mass and emerging out of it at the top. So I wanted to try to express that feeling, even though the result was that the work in wood was messier than it otherwise could have been.

      Nov 14, 09 11:10 am  · 

      I imagine carving the wood by hand was time consuming. foam would have been way faster and represented the masses all the same.

      Feb 26, 10 3:26 pm  · 

      Wood = timeless.

      Feb 27, 10 4:05 am  · 

      I like wood as well, but the subtractive process is what is important here, and I don't think the timelessness of the wood furthers or solidifies this idea of carving out rather than building up. the idea would have been presereved with foam just fine and would have taken way less time in my opinion.

      Feb 27, 10 12:32 pm  · 

      I don't think Lian used a subtractive process on the wood to communicate timelessness. Timeless was my word. You can read the intent 4 posts up. It could have easily been an aesthetic choice, as wood looks a lot better than foam. Wood is durable and putting more time into crafting the model shows a commitment to the idea.

      Also, foam does not represent mass well; it is simply too light. My understanding of "monolithic" in this project, after reading the long section, has to do with heaviness. The wood was successful.

      Feb 27, 10 6:26 pm  · 

      Thanks for the reply %. I see what you mean, but I think foam does represent mass quite well, which is why it's often used for massing models. If heaviness was indeed an aim, then I understand the use of wood for a final model, but carving the openings, whether it shows commitment to the idea or not, just seems like a big use of time that could of potentially been used better in m opinion. The choice, aesthetically as well as functionally, seems to be personal preference. I hope Lian did well on the certainly looks pretty interesting.

      Feb 27, 10 7:48 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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