Harvard Graduate School of Design Presents Our Artificial Nature, An Exhibition Showcasing Environmental Research by Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities Faculty

The exhibition opened October 31st and continues through December 21st

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., [November 15, 2023] – From October 31, 2023 through December 21, 2023, the exhibition Our Artificial Nature: Design Research for an Era of Environmental Change, will take center stage at the Druker Design Gallery of the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). The exhibition brings together a collection of research by Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities (CGBC) core and affiliated faculty, situating design research at the GSD within a history of design for environmental change.

Our Artificial Nature exhibition banner.

“The exhibition draws attention to design practice as the creation of the artificial, and reimagines our constructed environment in new ways in light of the increasing causes and effects of climate change,” said Elizabeth Christoforetti, curator of the exhibition, Assistant Professor in Practice of Architecture at the GSD, and Design Director of Supernormal. “My vision for both the exhibition and event is that it will frame new paradigms for environmental design as a whole.”

“Today, what architects design very often looks more like a dynamic and responsive system or process than a finite object or building, and it’s a shift that started in part at the GSD—with courses like Serge Chermayeff’s ‘Environmental Design’ in the ‘50s and the creation of the Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis in the mid ‘60s—and that is only accelerating,” said Sarah Whiting, Dean and Josep Lluís Sert Professor of Architecture at the GSD. “Elizabeth’s exhibition shows not only how far such work has advanced, but also how architecture is being conceived to adapt in real time to address the climate crisis and any number of other urgent issues, and in response to a multitude of empirical data.”

The exhibition will feature more than 25 research projects that extend our collective thinking on a variety of global and environmental questions, all with tremendous implications. This work, and the resulting exhibition, is a product of several years of interdisciplinary, collaborative, and design-centric research.

“Our talented faculty have been intensively researching important urban, landscape, and architectural challenges – and potential solutions – relevant to the urgent global climate crisis,” said Ali Malkawi, Founding Director of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities and Professor of Architecture Technology at the GSD. “It is extremely gratifying to see these wide-ranging faculty research projects showcased in this GSD setting, particularly as we begin our celebration of the tenth-year anniversary of the Center for Green Buildings and Cities.”

In addition to the exhibition, there will be a companion event, “Our Artificial Nature: Perspectives on Design for an Era of Environmental Change,” taking place at 6:30 PM, November 16, 2023, in the Gund Hall Piper Auditorium. Open to the public, this conversation between GSD/CGBC faculty and Carson Chan, curator of the concurrent Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) exhibition, Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism, is meant to draw attention to past design speculations, current research, and practice futures.

The event will take place as part of ArtsThursdays, a university-wide initiative supported by Harvard University Committee on the Arts. For more information about the opening event, visit the GSD website.