The Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) is pleased to announce the opening of the Sarah and Rolando Uziel AB ’57 Exhibition Wall in the Frances Loeb Library. The space is supported by a $1 million gift from two of the most generous supporters to the GSD’s $110-million Grounded Visionaries campaign—Sarah and Roland “Rolando” Uziel AB ’57— and will fuel the global discourse on design as part of the GSD’s world-renowned exhibition program.
“Sarah and Rolando’s gift has increased the GSD’s ability to showcase the impact of the School’s work,” said Mohsen Mostafavi, dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design. “The Sarah and Rolando Uziel AB ’57 Exhibition Wall will enrich our campus for decades to come, and we thank them for their generous support.”
The exhibition wall will play a crucial role in the Loeb Library. As the traditional boundaries around classroom and studio spaces are becoming increasingly permeable, the Library is a place of overlapping, collaborative learning, including the display of exhibitions on the 450 sq. foot wall, with the option of additional volume based on exhibition vision. The current exhibition, running through May 12, features undergraduate and graduate work by legendary architect Ieoh Ming (I. M.) Pei MArch ’46 and his wife Eileen Pei GSD ’44, as well as designs by students whom Pei taught while on the faculty in the 1940s. This winter, the exhibition “Designing Planes and Seams” co-curated by Harold Koda MLA ’00, fashion scholar, curator, and the former curator-in-chief of the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, focused on the relationship of flat or planar materials and the seaming and construction necessary for creating expressive form.
The GSD exhibitions team stages five major exhibitions and sixteen smaller ones throughout Gund Hall each year with around 1,000 people passing through these exhibitions daily. Dan Borelli MDesS ’12, director of exhibitions, views the role of the Sarah and Rolando Uziel AB ’57 Exhibition Wall as “Spatializing knowledge by exploring the contrast between the contemporary and the historical. Through a focus on learning, research, and design, library exhibitions disseminate cultural production and create new ideas,” said Borelli.
Rolando Uziel studied architecture at Harvard College and returned to Mexico to work in his family’s business—a jewelry business that later expanded to precious metals and construction/property development. Currently, Mr. Uziel is the owner of Grupo Constructor Rouz. Established in 1997, Grupo Constructor Rouz is dedicated to building quality residential spaces in Mexico.
This gift is the most recent from the Uziels, who are longtime supporters of design education at the GSD. Their backing of experimental ideas and actionable knowledge help guide the transformation of Mexico’s complex urban landscapes over the next decades through the Mexican Cities Initiative (MCI) at the GSD. Under the faculty guidance of Diane Davis, chair of the department of urban planning and design and the Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism, the MCI supports a public archive of Mexico-based research conducted at the GSD and elsewhere, a network of partnerships in and beyond Mexico, and an annual summer fellowship for innovative student research. Additionally, the Uziels have provided financial support for Mexican students studying at the GSD.