Global Challenges Need Designers

Header01_600pxFor the 80 years since the Harvard University Graduate School of Design was founded in 1936, it has shaped the imaginations of the men and women who have defined the built and natural environment through practice, research, and teaching. Each generation of GSD alumni has changed the course of their respective professions and inspired others to do the same.

With your help, the GSD can continue to bring the most talented students to Harvard to explore, analyze, and confront the global challenges facing society today and in the future. Your donation to the GSD Fund provides immediate support to the activities and experiences that are hallmarks of a GSD education.

Climate Change
MIAMI RISE AND SINK: DESIGN FOR URBAN ADAPTATION

As Miami’s coastal barrier islands form one of the most recognizable and singularly valuable cultural landscapes in the world, the conditions in Miami Beach reveal the potential for ecological and infrastructural strategies to act as alternatives to large single purpose engineering solutions. This studio developed urban proposals for the city’s ongoing transformation, with the premise that urban adaption to ambiguous sea levels is creating a new form of public space, and the application of resilience as a measure of success must respond to and address these public parameters.

Urbanism
GSD STUDIO ABROAD: SMART COUNTRYSIDES

The 2016 Spring Study Abroad Studio in Rotterdam, Netherlands, focused on new forms of research and engagement with the countryside. The studio aimed to develop a new speculative research toolkit rooted in anthropology, humanities, data sciences, and design, which included observational fieldwork, data-mining, archive research, and conceptual design and master planning.

Housing
ALPINE SHELTER, SKUTA, SLOVENIA

Peak House is a modular mountaineering shelter constructed for a remote site in the Slovenian Alps. Designed for a site on Skuta Mountain, the shelter offers an intimate refuge for eight visitors nestled in the scenic Alps. It was designed to withstand harsh weather, radical temperature shifts, rugged terrain, wind, snow, and landslides. The built design was installed on site by helicopter in August 2015.

Materials
BRICK: THICK/THIN

Brick: Thick/Thin aimed to challenge perceived notions of brick, its use in architecture, and suggest viable proof-of-concept alternatives that raise questions about surface, structure, and material character. Students received training in Dorchester, MA, working side-by-side with apprenticed masonry bricklayers. Student mock-ups reflected their research into the applicability of computer-aided design techniques that were tested using dry-stack techniques and then later fully executed with brick and mortar.

Social Justice
THE MARTIN LUTHER KING WAY: BUILDING ON BLACK AMERICA’S MAIN STREET

Martin Luther King, Jr. has a street named for him in 893 communities in the US. Despite their ubiquity, MLK streets are not revered in the same way as King himself segregated, unsafe, and plagued by disinvestment. But while data tells one story, experience tells another. MLK streets are also vibrant, thriving centers of African-American identity and community. This interdisciplinary studio invited students to help shape the future of MLK streets and the neighborhoods that flank them in a way that neither ignores the structural racism that has led to segregation, poverty, and the socioeconomic decay of African American neighborhoods, nor overlooks the positive characteristics that led one author to call MLK streets King’s “greatest living memorial.”

Financial aid is a pre-requisite for a design education. The GSD allocates 25% of its operating budget to subsidize student’s tuition, yet this is not nearly enough to cover the cost of an unparalleled educational experience. We invite you to support the rigor and discipline of today’s GSD students— giving them the opportunity to freely imagine and create in a community that encourages excellence.

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