Lian (Harvard GSD M.Arch.I)

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

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    What it Takes

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    May 12, '10 10:16 AM EST

    Have you read this recent New York Times piece by David Brooks? The questions he raises have been on my mind lately, and I'm hoping to write about career and life decisions and choices (in the Ivy Leagues and in the architectural profession) over the coming weeks. Until then, what do you think?


    read the NYT article


    • toasteroven

      not sure what to take from his piece other than his accusation that the ivies produce people who are outwardly non-ideological - but I think he is mostly unsatisfied by the "highly logical" justifications because then he has nothing to criticize her for.

      it's strange that he praises her for being a consensus builder, then doesn't like that she doesn't take a strong position on either side? as with most right-wing ideologues like brooks - it's all black and white. there's no third answer.

      May 12, 10 2:12 pm  · 

      I liked this response by Matthew Yglesias

      May 12, 10 4:00 pm  · 

      the real issue is that they don't know how she will use her position as a judge, and that scares him (and also folks on the left, who are saying the same thing). i guess it shouldn't matter, but i get the complaint and agree with it. it is political to have no conviction that others might object to, but also disturbing in someone who is/was a leader. can't be good for america that this is a trend...

      May 12, 10 7:41 pm  · 

      Maybe this tendency towards "prudential" and away from "poetic" among Organization Kids--particularly in architecture--has a relationship to the job market. As the reality of employment looms, students may feel they must market themselves--both in work samples and interview behavior--to the few "prudent" firms that are bringing home the commissions... that is the SOM's, NBBJ's, HOK's, etc. Ayn Rand illustrated the dichotomy through Peter Keating and Howard Roark... does this make Brooks the Toohey?

      May 13, 10 12:45 am  · 

      ^ and it is just these types of dull, diluted personalities (resulting from such a prudent mindset) that keeps people from getting hired. People in this industry need to have an opinion, or at least be able to justify their design decision.

      May 13, 10 8:32 am  · 

      ^gotta agree with that. i think that's the problem, too much minnesota nice. nobody likes the luke warm...

      May 14, 10 10:14 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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