The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) named nine practitioners to receive this year’s Loeb Fellowship. In the tradition of the 45-year-old program, these participants will step away from their careers, which involve working in the natural and built environment, and take up residence at the Cambridge, Mass.-based Ivy League university while taking classes at the graduate school. During this time, the fellows are encouraged to explore new interests, talk with professors, mentor students, and take advantage of the resources offered at both Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) nearby. By the end of the academic year, the intention is for each fellow to have achieved a deeper understanding of their chosen craft, strengthen their leadership skills, and interject their unique perspective into the world. They will be joining a network of over 450 fellows around the world who share their vision in producing positive social outcomes through their diverse professional practices.
This year’s fellows:
Karen Abrams, community and diversity affairs manager at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA), creates specialized civic engagement tools such as online publications that outline redevelopment plans to encourage participation for underserved citizens within Pennsylvania. During her fellowship, Abrams plans to explore effective means of design and development that can alleviate the imapct of climate change on disadvantage communities.
Greta Byrum, director of the Resilient Communities Program at New America in New York, works to connect urban planning and community development with emerging technologies. She has worked on projects in the past that include community-led planning initiatives in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn. Her fellowship focus will include democratizing communication systems for communities negatively affected by climate change and systemic inequity.
Emi Kiyota , president and founder of Ibasho, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to fostering welcoming environments for the elderly, will work on how to make communities that promote cross-cultural learning across generations. One of Kiyota's past experiences with this theme includes creating the first Ibasho café after the 2011 Japan tsuanami, where victims of all age groups went to for support.
Mark Lamster, the Dallas Morning News' architecture critic, promotes a dialogue regarding architecture and design within the Texan metropolis. His writing led to the creation of a preservation task force to protect some of the area's landmarks. Familiar to academia, Lamster is also an associate professor in practice at the University of Texas at Arlington, but will focus on housing, equitable economic policies, and landscape architecture while at Harvard.
Leading the Blue Cities Initiative at the Charles River Watershed Association in Boston, Pallavi Mande emphasizes a collaborative approach to urban design and planning projects improving the health of Beantown's water ecosystem. During her fellowship she will explore expanding the initiative to a global scale.
Split between Stockholm, Sweden, and New York, Swedish artist David Molander's creative interpretation of the built environment questions how and why we build urban areas, and the people who institute these decisions. Taking a meta approach to his fellowship, Molander's academic project proposes to use this method to the very institution dedicated to the same cause: the Harvard GSD.
Italian architecture, artistic, and educator Alessandro Petti established Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (DAAR), an architectural studio and art residency based in Beit Sahour, located in a Palestinian administered area east of Bethlehem, when he could no longer bear the perpetuated exclusion experienced in Palestinian refugee camps. DAAR's mission is to highlight and reuse spaces, from evacuated military bases to the remains of destroyed villages, as a means of political intervention. To establish an ethical approach to refugee communities, Petti will explore "architecture of exile."
Founder and chief architect of RAAS Architects, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Rahel Shawl Zelleke has set a new standard of design within the development boom seen within the East African capital. Her practice is bolstered by sustainability, equitability, and sympathy to regional design, which garnered it an Aga Khan Award in 2007. This approach will be extended in the fellowship to mentor students interested in public interest design.
Working at a crossroads of architecture, art, urban design, and social intervention, Emmanuel Pratt, cofounder of Chicago's Sweet Water Foundation, uses waste as a resource and is a firm believer of urban agriculture. With the resources of the GSD, he will further his practice, developing policy, zoning, and land use strategies that incorporate urban agriculture.