For the October GSD Alumni Q+A, we asked four alumni to reflect on their experience attending their 50th, 30th, 10th, and 5th reunions during the 2016 Reunion weekend in Cambridge. Their responses reveal what they find most surprising about current student work, how the GSD’s innovative studio model and transdisciplinary approach are uniquely training students to tackle complex design challenges, and the value of connecting with your lifelong GSD community.
For those in classes ending with 2 and 7, please save the date for GSD Reunion Weekend 2017: Friday, October 13-Saturday, October 14.
“Having been at the Harvard GSD as MArch ’66 and MAUD ’67, I was working in the Cambridge/Harvard area for the early discussions of concepts and for the Gund Hall opening itself –– so it was interesting to return for reunion and to learn about the current student experience. It is always great to catch up with new and old friends and classmates and see Piper Hall converted beautifully to a tony restaurant!! What was most surprising was not seeing a single “scale figure” and very few North arrows on student work. In the Gropius and Corbusier days, failure to provide these two emblems of reality could have been fatal!”
–Sherrie Stephens Cutler, AIA, MArch ’66, MAUD ’67
President & Founder, ECODESIGN, Inc
“This was my first GSD reunion, although I frequently return for Harvard College events. I went with reservations, but it was really fun to see some old classmates and to catch up. The tour of the shops was fun as it shed light on how students are working digitally and in model today (very different from handcrafted wood models!). K. Michael Hays’s talk about current pedagogy at the GSD was very interesting. The biggest surprise was the ‘kindler and gentler’ teaching culture that Michael described. I was glad that I went.”
–Susan Israel, AIA, LEED AP, MArch ’86
President at Climate Creatives
“It was a pleasure to be back in the trays at Gund Hall to connect with a phenomenal group of friends and alumni, both from my own class of 2006 and others. The discussion with K. Michael Hays was particularly inspiring as we celebrated the past, but also considered the future, recognizing the School’s strengths in the context of a rapidly changing profession. Today’s complex, global societal challenges require new interdisciplinary and integrated modes of thinking, and it was satisfying to see the GSD taking this on in stride.”
–Farzana Gandhi, AIA, LEED AP, MArch ’06
Chair, Manhattan Architecture Department and Assistant Professor of Architecture at New York Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Design
Principal, Farzana Gandhi Design Studio
“My GSD fifth-year reunion was a rare opportunity to reconnect with my classmates during a weekend of thoughtful well-programmed events. Scheduled programming, such as the Autodesk BUILD Space tour and Harvard Art Museum Conservatory walk-through, were not only interesting but fruitful opportunities to connect to an older generation of GSD alums. Connecting to a broader group of alums was an unanticipated highlight of the weekend. I’ll certainly be returning for the 10th-year reunion.”
–David Buckley Borden MLA ’11
Charles Bullard Fellow, Harvard Forest, Harvard University