A GSD Trio Integrates their Voices into the Story of Design History

The GSD’s Frances Loeb Library is honored to be receiving the archives of not one, but three beloved and influential GSD professors: Alex Krieger MCU ’77, Jerold Kayden AB ’75, JD ’79, MCRP ’79, and Antoine Picon AM ’01.

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Records that tell the story of GSD professors—course materials, conference lectures, professional accounts—provide illuminating windows into both the arc of a specific career and the evolving nature of the design fields more broadly. In an unprecedented contribution to its wealth of knowledge, the GSD’s Frances Loeb Library has accepted the archives of three significant members of the faculty: Professor in Practice of Urban Design, Emeritus Alex Krieger MCP ’77; Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design Jerold S. Kayden AB ’75, JD ’79,  MCRP ’79; and G. Ware Travelstead Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology Antoine Picon AM ’01 (as pictured above in corresponding order).

The Loeb Library’s archival collections contain materials from a range of design leaders, furthering academic research in the design fields both within the GSD and beyond Harvard University. These materials document design history, theory, and practice. With Kayden and Picon still teaching, the library saw a unique opportunity to emphasize how recent history could inform the future of the field.

We have different aspects of the profession being emphasized in each archive. Antoine is all about research and the teaching life, Alex’s archive is a mix of his professional and GSD lives, and Jerold’s combines teaching, research, and professional practice.

Ann Baird Whiteside Librarian and Assistant Dean for Information Services

“Part of this significance is it continues the trajectory of the pedagogy of the GSD over time, in particular in the history of architecture and in urban planning,” said Ann Baird Whiteside, Librarian and Assistant Dean for Information Services. “We have different aspects of the profession being emphasized in each archive. Antoine is all about research and the teaching life, Alex’s archive is a mix of his professional and GSD lives, and Jerold’s combines teaching, research, and professional practice.”

“We generally receive archives at the end of a professional life,” Whiteside continued. “These three scholars are actively producing and adding to their life’s work daily, so our collections will continue to grow in both content and relevance.’’

Alex Krieger, Professor in Practice of Urban Design, Emeritus 

Representing a long career combining teaching and practice at the forefront of urban design, Krieger’s archive contains about 25 boxes of materials. He taught two keystone courses at the GSD on the design of the American city, and the archive includes course materials, syllabi, speeches, and class lectures from those courses, along with some materials from Harvard’s developments in Allston since Krieger served as the university’s representative.

“Our collections tend to be more focused on architecture and landscape architecture, so having this planning material excites us because it brings forth important contributions from that field,” said Special Collections Archivist and Reference Librarian Ines Zalduendo MArch ’95.

Krieger’s archive also features a few master plan reports from his roles as principal at NBBJ, a global design practice, and as founding principal of Chan Krieger Sieniewicz until its merger with NBBJ in 2009.

“The work Krieger has done in urban planning around the U.S. is unprecedented,” Whiteside said. “His reports end up being primary documents in the field.”

Jerold S. Kayden, Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design 

Kayden, who holds Harvard degrees in planning and law, has provided the archives with an initial tranche of nearly 60 boxes. His syllabi, lecture notes, and readings for courses taught for almost 30 years (Public and Private Development, Land Use and Environmental Law, Public Space, Planning for Climate Change, and Design Competitions) show evolutions in pedagogy. Research notes for his books on privately owned public space, zoning, US Supreme Court Justice William Brennan’s land use opinions, and urban disaster resilience offer context for those works. Kayden has provided curricular and planning documents related to the urban planning program. He promises to contribute background materials from his days as US-sponsored advisor on land use, real estate, and government policy in Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Nepal, and China, along with drafts and notes for briefs he wrote in constitutional cases, including some decided by the US Supreme Court.

Antoine Picon, G. Ware Travelstead Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology

Zalduendo praised Picon’s collection as being “in perfect order,” reflecting the precision that Picon is famous for in his courses on the history of architecture and technology. These 40 boxes contain research files, writings, and course preparation materials. His files are divided into three eras of Picon’s career: his teaching in France, at Princeton University, and at the GSD.

The library is working with GSD students to process the three archives before they are available for viewing in the Special Collections Reading Room. Working with students benefits both the Loeb Library staff and the students’ education. According to Zalduendo, seeing these materials informs the students, broadens their knowledge, and spurs their interest in different aspects of the professions, and training is often seamless because they are familiar with the topics.

Visitors to the library will be able to see the archives in person, and processing the collections will include creating annotated, searchable indexes so students, alumni and design scholars can access the archives and, in some cases, inspect digital copies of certain materials.

To see a full list of archives available at the Frances Loeb Library, click here.

 “Unprecedented Realism” brings Silvetti, Machado archive into the spotlight

To mark Jorge Silvetti’s retirement from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the Frances Loeb Library’s acquisition of the Rodolfo Machado and Jorge Silvetti Collection, the architecture department—in collaboration with the library—presented Unprecedented Realism, a series of narratives that reflect the evolution of the Machado and Silvetti architectural practice over the last five decades. Staff assembled more than 120 pieces of two-dimensional work, 30 models, and 250 pieces of discursive material for the exhibition, which was on display in the GSD’s Druker Design Gallery from Aug. 25 to Oct. 7, 2022. Taken together, these items stand in for the primary subject in Machado and Silvetti’s life-long accumulation of architectural production—buildings.

To read more about the exhibition, click here.

For any questions about these gifts, please contact Peggy Burns

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