“The dramatic tiered, open student work spaces in Gund Hall are vibrant with the talent and energy of future architects, landscape architects, and urban designers and planners. We at the Graduate School of Design are still idealists who believe in the power of design to shape a new agenda for our society, improve the quality of life, and invent compelling visions for the future. Our times demand a complex and comprehensive understanding of the design professions; the coexistence of multiple disciplines that inform one another makes the entire learning process here richly speculative and discursive.
The courses of study address topics of national and international concern, ranging in scale from broad ecological and infrastructure problems to the minute details of fabrication processes. Design issues are debated passionately every day, and we all thrive in this high-energy atmosphere of open and honest dialogue mediated by the rigors of analytical critique. The intellectual osmosis that takes place in our great shared studio space is perhaps the most potent agent in pedagogy, allowing our students to absorb multiple kinds of knowledge in an almost effortless manner.
In our teaching there is no attempt to simplify design problems. To the contrary: each project is tackled in the spirit of trying to understand its complex totality. The curriculum emphasizes asking questions rather than coming up with easy answers. At the GSD, design is constantly challenged by (and responds to) other fields of inquiry, such as technology, history, and theory. Our probing conversations often take place beyond and behind the surface of any one proposal.
Each student project requires many hours of solitary and collaborative study, research, and development. In their visual manifestations, the results are thoughtfully crafted, carefully presented, and embody sophistication and subtlety that may not be easily classified as representing any particular style. Instead, the work of each student reflects his or her own creativity and personality.
In my opinion, academia presages the future of the profession, and the seriousness with which we undertake our theoretical discourse at school creates the ethical underpinning of future generations, whose learning processes extend over a lifetime in their praxis. It is hoped that this volume may convey this essential spirit of learning that animates every day at the GSD.”
—Preface by Toshiko Mori, Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture and Chair of the Department of Architecture