With a strong foundation in the arts and a special interest in physical fabrication, Anne Liu decided to study architecture because “it seemed to bring together my passions for making and thinking, with the added dimension of social impact.” In 2010, Liu began this new path at the GSD, where she went on to earn a distinction for her thesis in wearable technologies, responsive environments, and cultural prosthetics.
During her final year of studies developing her thesis, Liu defined the trajectory for her career and research. Influencing this direction was a course taught by Krzysztof Wodiczko, Professor in Residence of Art, Design, and the Public Domain. “On the first day of class, he showed an image of a girl with a robotic hat, and talked about ‘cultural prosthetics.’ At the time, I was actively collecting images of robotics on bodies. I was hooked.” Impressed with her passion and talent, Wodiczko brought her on board as a teaching associate in the course.
Speaking of the class, Liu relates “Our students are making very weird robotic creatures. Some call it ‘borderline science fiction,’ but they are exploring important ideas and exposing the customs and social behaviors of society through the design and fabrication of wearable prosthetic devices.”
Liu also splits her time at the GSD as a research associate at the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities (CGBC). She is conducting research to develop the CGBC’s Sensory Mediation program, which looks at methods of mediating and extending human perception through technology. Liu addresses the CGBC’s mission of sustainability with a fresh approach – through investigation of the emotional connection between users and the environment.
She shares, “I hope to fill the world with designs that let people revisit their current realities. I want to imbue the wonder one experiences in a totally new place, like someone who has just stepped off a spacecraft.” The GSD is committed to innovative thinking like Liu’s, and to visionary ideas that expand the influence of design across disciplines.