Rammed earth construction at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

Great Place for a Party

MudWorks proved itself as a party place Friday night during the opening reception for the installation and accompanying exhibit in Gund Hall. The true test of a public space is how it handles a crowd. Below are comments from Nick Rivard’s remarks.

The scene

Hello. I am Nicolas Rivard, a first year Urban Design student.
This project has offered us all a much needed chance to get our hands dirty, and we are happy that many of you have embraced that opportunity.

As designers, we need to re-engage the act of making the things we design. Thanks to people like Martin and Anna, making will continue to enjoy an integral role in Harvard’s design pedagogy. Job sites call for a creative problem solving approach that is best learned from hands on experience, and so often the design intent we communicate on paper
is adapted on site to limitations unforeseen in the studio.

Without these experiences, how are we to prepare for the bumps in the road that shape our work? I think the way we adapt to site constraints has much to do with the final quality of our projects, and understanding the practicalities that prefigure our work is essential to our formation as designers. Exposure to construction and fabrication while in
school uniquely prepares us for success as practitioners. Hands on projects like MUDworks address the growing rift between designers and their partner professions. While the ascendancy of digital design
tools offers incredible potential, it can also distance us from the physicality inherent to building. Earthen construction is visceral enough to dissolve this rift more quickly than any other form of construction. And as we continue to pursue design excellence in our research and professional practices, it is imperative that we engage this portion of our professional territory.

I speak for many of us when I say that this project has been one of the most refreshing experiences of my year at the GSD. And I want close
by saying thank you to everyone who made it possible. Thanks.


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