Virgil Abloh“Insert Complicated Title Here”

“What’s my DNA?” Virgil Abloh asks to an overflowing auditorium at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Abloh goes on to provide his audience with a “cheat code”—advice he wishes he had received as a student. He then unpacks a series of “shortcuts” for cultivating a “personal design language.” Trained as an architect and engineer, Abloh has translated the tools and techniques of his student days into the world of fashion, product design, and music.

Peter G. RoweDesign Thinking in the Digital Age

In 1987, Peter G. Rowe published his pioneering book Design Thinking. In it, he interrogated conceptual approaches to design in terms of both process and form. Thirty years later, in a lecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Rowe offered a reappraisal of his earlier work, describing ways in which the capacities of the digital age have changed the way we perceive and understand creative problem-solving in architectural design.

Atelier Bow-Wow with K. Michael HaysArchitectural Ethnography

In this in-depth conversation with architectural theorist K. Michael Hays, Yoshi Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima of Atelier Bow-Wow reflect on representation, occupation, and the democracy of architecture. They unfold their concept of an “ecology of livelihood,” wherein shadowless figures, objects, and spaces coexist with construction details. Explaining their belief in the behavioral capacities of humans, architecture, and nature, Tsukamoto and Kaijima reveal the generous spirit of their work, and the importance of pushing such capacities to their most yielding limits.

David HarveyAbstract from the Concrete

Marxist geographer David Harvey opened his lecture with a fact: between 2011 and 2013 China consumed 50 percent more cement than the United States had in the entire twentieth century. In Abstract from the Concrete, he asks why. Spiraling outward—geographically and materially—Harvey travels from the building industry in China to the foreclosed housing market in the United States to the automobile industry in São Paolo and back again. The why emerges as a direct result of “anti-value,” of capital in crisis—intrinsic, he contends, to capital and capital cities today.

Anne Lacaton, Jean-Philippe VassalFreedom of Use

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal are known for an architecture that privileges inhabitants’ freedom and pleasure through generous, open designs. The Paris-based architects opened their 2015 lecture at Harvard University with a manifesto: study and create an inventory of the existing situation; densify without compressing individual space; promote user mobility, access, choice; and most importantly, never demolish. Freedom of Use reflects on these core values to present a fluid narrative of Lacaton and Vassal’s oeuvre, articulated through processes of accumulation, addition, and extension.

Pierre HerméThe Architecture of Taste

On November 27, 2012, world-renowned pastry chef Pierre Hermé arrived at Harvard University from Paris. He brought five chefs, two assistants, 600 sheets of gelatin, 150 eggs, 68 pounds of caster sugar, 40 pounds of unsalted butter, 32 pounds of cream, 25 pounds of milk chocolate couverture, 11 pounds of grated wasabi, and the alchemic techniques to transform these ingredients into an elaborate “lecture de pâtisserie.” Together with Savinien Caracostea and Sanford Kwinter, he methodically deconstructed four conceptual desserts for 400 spectator-diners. The Architecture of Taste recaptures this night and the physiological effects of Hermé’s pastry visions.