10/01 - 10/03/15
12:00 pm - 9:00 pm (EDT)

The GSD invites you to join Dean Mohsen Mostafavi and other design leaders for an inspiring series of conversations and events exploring design innovations from October 1-3, 2015 in Chicago.

GSD + Harvard Alumni 2006-2015 |  GSD + Harvard Alumni |  Friends of the GSD

For more information, please contact Sarah Knight at [email protected] or 617.384.5276.

Click here to view the full Harvard Design: Chicago program brochure.


Adaptive Architectures and Smart Materials Conference October 1–2, 2015 | Downtown Chicago

The integration of new communication, interactivity, and display technologies fundamentally transforms spaces and places into networked, responsive environments. Within this context, architecture has become “smart” at scales that range from materials to  equipment to facades. A building envelope is currently the site of intense speculation; the introduction of CNC fabrication techniques allows for increased formal complexity, while new material properties in glass, polymers, and fabrics offer new spatial, visual, and thermal properties. These new materials have the capacity to transform architecture—its optical properties, configuration, thermal qualities, and even architecture’s ability to regulate its appearance. They demand a radical rethinking of interior versus exterior, private versus public, exposure and (in)visibility within architecture and design.

GSD Alumni + Friends Weekend October 2–3, 2015 | Downtown Chicago

For the last three years, the GSD has brought its annual Alumni + Friends Weekend to a new host city to examine design challenges of the area, and showcase the projects of regional alumni. Following in the footsteps of Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Miami, this year the School will visit the windy city of Chicago, an urban environment defined by its architecture and design, and teeming with intellectual and creative capital. Heading into the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Alumni + Friends Weekend will provide a platform for discussing the exciting research conducted by the GSD’s extended community and how creativity and innovation can radically transform our lived experience.

Detailed  event  information

Hotel Headquarters Renaissance Blackstone Chicago, 636 South Michigan Avenue Chicago IL 60605 (map)
Conference Location Venue SIX10, 610 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL 60605 (map)
Hotel Reservations Renaissance Blackstone Chicago

 Thursday 10.1.15

Conference Registration + Exhibition Walk-Through 12:00 – 3:30 pm
Venue SIX10, Lobby

 Chicago Architecture Foundation Walking Tour 1:00 pm
Optional activity, leaving from Venue SIX10, Lobby. First come, first served.
Chicago Athletic Association Hotel—Experience the allure of a historic, exclusive men’s club transformed into a 21st century luxury hotel. You will see old world craftsmanship restored to its original elegance, plus renovated and newly added spaces, all part of a rebirth befitting this Venetian Gothic building located on Chicago’s landmark Michigan Avenue. In addition to public spaces, such as the Grand Staircase Lobby and Drawing Room, the tour will also take you to view the landmarked Madison Street exterior.

Art Institute of Chicago Exhibition Pass 1:00 pm
Optional activity, leaving from Venue SIX10, Lobby
Making Place, The Architecture of David Adjaye—Capturing a significant moment in Adjaye’s career, this exhibition spans projects from furniture and housing to public buildings and master plans and features a short fim, drawings, sketches, and models, helping bring the projects alive.

Adaptive Architectures and Smart Materials Conference 3:30 – 8:00 pm
Venue SIX10, Feinberg Theater. AIA, APA and ASLA CEUs/hours offered.
Harvard Design: Chicago kicks off with the “Adaptive Architectures and Smart Materials Conference,” which will investigate the potential of innovative processes and technology for architecture and industry. Made possible through the generous support of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, the Conference will feature over 20 thought leaders, academics, building scientists, and practitioners as presenters and discussion participants.

3:30 Welcome by Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design at Harvard University Graduate School of Design
4:00 Histories, a panel discussion with Aaron Betsky, Eve Blau, Blaine Brownell, Todd Gannon, and Terence Riley that examines contemporary material innovations within the context of historic investigations.
6:00 Break
6:30 Keynote by Elizabeth Diller, Professor of Architecture at Princeton University and founding partner of Diller, Scofidio + Renfro.
8:00 Conclusion of Day One by Eric Höweler, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the GSD

Smart Design Cocktail Reception 8:00 – 9:30 pm
Venue SIX10, Landing and Lobby
Discuss the day’s events and connect with fellow GSD alumni and friends at a relaxing and fun reception to close Day One of Harvard Design: Chicago.

Friday 10.2.15

Conference Registration Opens 9:00 am
Venue SIX10, Lobby

Adaptive Architectures and Smart Materials Conference 10:00 am – 6:15 pm
Venue SIX10, Feinberg Theater
Join us for Day Two of the Conference, which continues the conversations exploring innovative technologies for the design industry.

10:00 Welcome by Eric Höweler, GSD Professor of Architecture
10:15 Materials, a panel discussion examining the emergence of a new approach to materials—moving from a more traditional view of their evocative qualities to a contemporary focus on performance. Featuring Gail Peter Borden MArch ’00, Sheila Kennedy MArch ’84, Jan Knippers, Monica Ponce de Leon MAUD ’91, and Skylar Tibbits. Moderated by Kiel Moe MDesS ’03.
12:15 Lunch break (buffet provided)
1:45 Technologies, a discussion on the interest in the surfaces of architecture as sites of expression, thermal performance, and material invention. Speakers include Chuck Hoberman, Hanif Kara, Dennis Shelden, and Marc Simmons. Moderated by Mariana Ibañez.
3:45 Break
4:15 Ecologies, which links projects that incorporate new materials, systems and strategies, including smart glass, kinetic envelopes, and innovative building systems. Panelists for the discussion include Frank Barkow MArch ’90, Jeanne Gang MArch ’93, Martin Henn, Michael Meredith MArch ’00, and Matthias Schuller. Moderated by Florian Idenburg.
6:15 Conclusion of Day Two by Eric Höweler, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the GSD

GSD Alumni Reception 6:45 – 9:00 pm
Offices of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 224 S Michigan Ave #1000, Chicago, IL 60604 (map)
Connect with fellow alumni and GSD faculty at a reception to close the Conference and kick off the alumni weekend activities.

Saturday 10.3.15
Alumni Weekend Registration Opens 8:30 am
Renaissance Blackstone Chicago, Lobby. Breakfast provided.

Chicago Site Tours 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
Bus will depart from Renaissance Blackstone Chicago. Lunch provided at William Jones College Preparatory High School.
Visit thought-provoking structures and landscapes designed by local GSD alumni. This private, curated tour will highlight the challenges, opportunities, and innovations of each project within Chicago’s distinct built environment.

Ping Tom Park Memorial Boathouse | Frank Lee MAUD ’79, Johnson & Lee
William Jones College Preparatory High School | Ralph Johnson MArch ’73, Perkins+Will
Poetry Foundation | John Ronan MArch ’91, John Ronan Architects
Aqua Tower | Jeanne Gang MArch ’93, Studio Gang
Maggie Daley Park | Matthew Urbanski MLA ’89, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

Culinary Revelry 7:30 – 10:30 pm
Locations listed below
Immerse yourself in Chicago’s foodie culture, and select one of any stellar restaurants for an enjoyable dining experience with classmates, colleagues, and friends.

The Kitchen
316 North Clark Street
This River North New American sources its ingredients from local farmers, turning out modern brasserie fare, including raw-bar items, paired with craft cocktails and a beer list heavy on Colorado and European imports. The rustic-chic setting brings together natural and industrial elements, and also has lots of windows and an open kitchen to view the action. – Zagat

Benny’s Chop House
444 North Wabash Avenue
For a “top-notch” steakhouse experience, fans swear by this River North beefery where “perfect finishing crusts” make for even more “delicious” chops and the cocktails are “worth the trip” too; frequent live music keeps things “upbeat” in the white-tablecloth surrounds, and “unpretentious” service earns it even more “bonus points.” – Zagat


Hotel Headquarters Renaissance Blackstone Chicago, 636 South Michigan Avenue Chicago IL 60605 (map)
Conference Location Venue SIX10, 610 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL 60605 (map)
Hotel Reservations Renaissance Blackstone Chicago

For more information please contact Sarah Knight at [email protected] or 617.384.5276.