Living Anatomy

Harvard Graduate School of Design | Gund Hall, fall 2015

Lead Exhibit Designer + Curator

Published in Arch Daily, Harvard GazetteDomus + Architect

Living Anatomy is an exploration of housing confronting the diverse and complex challenges posed by urban contexts.  The exhibition focuses on a 50-year period from 1965 to 2015 that witnessed the waning of Modernism and the ensuing controversy about its legacy. More broadly, Living Anatomy uses housing to understand design’s potential to enhance quality of life through formal and programmatic solutions that embrace a multiplicity of uses and the complexities of how people live.  Six themes lend structure to this exhibit, each of which reflects the dualistic ambitions of urban housing as it seeks at once to embrace the dynamism of its urban condition and to foster the intimacy of family and communal life.

The exhibit design dissects the components of a residential space into its comprising anatomical elements and distributes these as spatial atmospheres across the length of Gund Gallery at Harvard’s GSD. Each atmosphere serves as container for one of six categories of housing content.

A consistent structural system of extruded aluminum and suspended clear plexi glass panels is used to construct each atmosphere, though the form and amount of these elements vary to create each space.  The details and arrangement of these atmospheres in the gallery allow content in one category to still be seen in relation to that within another.  From within one space, a view through the gallery is still possible – enabling discovery of new parallels between housing projects in addition to those in the arranged adjacency of each.

Imagery that allows a 1:1 reading of occupation within the interior space of each housing project is paired with plan and other drawings describing each design as an assembled whole. Immersive photographs anchor each atmosphere of content and are integral to the design of each diorama-like moment in the exhibit; they articulate a dimension of a room, define an edge, or extend the space of the gallery into the perspective of the photographed space of housing.

Curatorial Team:  Megan Panzano, MArch’10 + Design Critic in Architecture, Harvard GSD, Daniel Rauchwerger, MDes ’15, and Matt Gin, PhD candidate

Design Team: Megan Panzano, Lead Designer, with Daniel Rauchwerger

Curatorial Research: Patrick Herron, MArch ’16

Pamphlet Design: Forrest Jessee

Department of Exhibitions and Communications:  Dan Borelli, MDes ’12, David Zimmerman Stuart, Travis Dagenais

Installation Team:  Ray Coffey, Anita Kan, Sarah Lubin, Jesus Matheaus, Jack Mauch, Joanna Vouriotis + Liz Welch

Exhibit photos: Justin Knight

This exhibition was initiated by Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Faculty of Design and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design;  with special thanks to Pat Roberts, Beth Kramer, and Ben Prosky


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