Diane Davis to head Harvard GSD’s Department of Urban Planning

East, Shft+Alt+Del, Urbanism
Friday, May 22, 2015
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Diane Davis. (Courtesy Harvard GSD)

Diane Davis. (Courtesy Harvard GSD)

Just days after the Harvard Graduate School of Design announced that Anita Berrizbeitia would be the new chair of its Department of Landscape Architecture, the school has announced another big appointment: Professor Diane Davis will be head its Department of Urban Planning.

“Davis teaches courses and options studios that examine the role of politics in planning and design, relations between urbanization and development, and socio-spatial practice at the scale of the city,” the school said in a statement. “Her research focuses on urban transformations in the global south, particularly the urban social, spatial, and political conflicts that have emerged in response to globalization, informality, and political and economic violence. In her capacity as co-director of the Risk and Resilience track in the Master in Design Studies (MDes) program, Davis explores overlapping vulnerabilities in the built and natural environment and assesses their significance for planning theory and design practice.”

Both Davis and Berrizbeitia will assume their new roles on July 1.

 

Digital Incan Masonry by Matter Design

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Matter Design's Round Room was inspired by the Incan wedge method of masonry construction. (Courtesy Matter Design)

Matter Design’s Round Room was inspired by the Incan wedge method of masonry construction. (Courtesy Matter Design)

Architects update pre-Columbian building method with modern tools and materials.

Matter Design‘s latest installation, Round Room (on display at MIT‘s Keller Gallery last fall) was born of a “marriage” between two of the firm’s ongoing interests, explained co-founder Brandon Clifford. First, Clifford and partner Wes McGee had long hoped to work with Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC). Clifford, moreover, had been impressed during a trip to Cuzco by the Incan wedge method of masonry construction, in which precisely-carved stones are aligned on their front face, then backfilled with mortar. “This seemed like a tremendously rational way of building,” he said. “Ever since then we had been wanting to do a project that translates that process into digital design.” With Round Room, designed and fabricated in cooperation with Quarra Stone, Matter Design did just that. Though inspired by pre-Columbian building practices, the installation firmly situates the wedge method in the digital age.
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House in Cambridge by Armando and di Robilant

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Armando and di Robilant updated an historic Cambridge home with a layered facade and oversize windows. (Paolo Rosselli)

Armando and di Robilant updated an historic Cambridge home with a layered facade and oversize windows. (Paolo Rosselli)

A translucent polycarbonate skin transforms an early-19th century Massachusetts home.

On a well-traveled street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about halfway between Harvard University and MIT, sits a house not like its neighbors. Its simple massing and pitched roof indicate old bones. But its skin is all 21st century. The house, recently renovated by Alessandro Armando and Manfredo di Robilant, is clad in translucent polycarbonate panels that reveal the structural and insulating layers beneath. For the architects, the project was an experiment in applying a cladding system designed for large-scale projects to a single-family home. “We thought this could be a possible test-bed for something more standard, something that could at least be thought of as a standard way of renovating and improving a typical American detached house,” said di Robilant. “This house is very small, but we’re now trying to fit it toward possible standardization of this approach.” Read More

Hopkins Architects to Transform Harvard’s Holyoke Center into New Campus Hub

East
Monday, November 18, 2013
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Josep Lluis Sert's Holyoke Center at Harvard University (Courtesy Docomomo via Harvard)

Josep Lluís Sert’s Holyoke Center at Harvard University (Courtesy Docomomo via Harvard)

Harvard’s Holyoke Center, designed by renowned Catalan architect and former Dean on the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Josep Lluís Sert, will soon be undergoing major renovations, university President Drew Faust announced last Thursday. London-based Hopkins Architects, the designers of Princeton’s Frick Chemistry Laboratory and Yale’s Kroon Hall, have signed on to transform the 50-year-old, cast-in-place administrative building into multifaceted campus center by 2018.

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AN Facades Conference A Hit On The West Coast

West
Monday, August 6, 2012
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Snøhetta’s Craig Dykers presents his Alexandria Library in Alexandria, Egypt. (Eric Lum)

The West Coast edition of AN’s 2012 Facades Conference, “The Art and Science of Building Facades,” held at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center on July 26 examined the state of the art in building envelope design. The common thread: collaboration. The first speaker, Phil Williams, VP of Webcor Builders, set the tone by emphasizing early team integration in developing innovative design. Dennis Sheldon, CTO of Gehry Technologies, spoke on how their software facilitates a deeper and more integrated collaborative process between architects, contractors, and fabricating teams.

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