Lian (Harvard GSD M.Arch.I)

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

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    Weiss/Manfredi studio at the BMW Guggenheim Lab

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Sep 18, '11 10:25 AM EST

    Hi Archinect,

    Just a quick note to say that my studio, led by Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, will be running a workshop on "Evolutionary Infrastructure: An Unfinished Utopia" at the BMW Guggenheim Lab this Friday, September 23, from 3 to 5 pm.

    If you're in New York and have a moment to stop by, it'd be groovy! I haven't been to the Lab before but it sounds like a fun--and potentially powerful--way for museums to engage the public in a more immediate way.

    [The Lab's space is designed by Atelier Bow-Wow; here's an image of one of their models.]

    [image of the Lab in action from]

    One driving idea behind the Lab is that because large museums have a lead time in their programming of several years, it's difficult for them to be nimble and to present the most topical issues. And because their core programming has to be so refined and controlled, it's difficult for them to stray from a top-down presentation of work and ideas. So the Lab operates on a much quicker schedule--a few weeks of coordination, rather than years--and is positioned as "part urban think tank, part community center and public gathering space." Ideas generated in Lab sessions are supposed to feed back into the presenter's work or into specific documents and projects that their sessions are organized around.

    The first two years of the Lab are organized around the broad theme of "Confronting Comfort," which they explain as "exploring notions of individual and collective comfort and the urgent need for environmental and social responsibility."

    The blurb on our workshop, from the Lab, is as follows:

    "Join Michael Manfredi and Marion Weiss and their Harvard University Graduate School of Design studio for a workshop on the topic of “evolutionary infrastructure.” Larger than life but part of it, infrastructure has an immediate presence; it shapes our environment and urban life in vital, authentic, and often messy ways. With the ultimate goal of discovering the renewed potential of the utopian megaform in the context of today’s evolving metropolis, the group will lead a presentation on the challenges and potential of inhabitable infrastructure in urban territories, followed by a workshop."

    [image of our studio's site--the area around the George Washington Bridge and Nervi bus terminal--from Weiss/Manfredi]

    "An analysis of selected inhabitable infrastructure proposals conceived between 1925 and 1969 and selected realized precedents constructed between 1915 and 2010 will serve as the touchstone for a larger study analyzing the physical and philosophical extension of the High Bridge Towers/Nervi Bus Station—a constructed utopia superimposed over the Cross Manhattan Expressway."

    ...In other words...we have a ton of work to do between now and Wednesday, when we head to the city! I'm pretty behind in my progress here, so I really have to crank today. Yikes.

    Thanks for reading!

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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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