Harvard Design Press announces inaugural titles to be published this fall

a brutalist academic building, now home to the harvard design journal

A survey of Australian-born architect John Andrews, a monograph chronicling the built work of 2018 Serpentine Pavilion designer (and GSD alumna) Frida Escobedo, and a treatise on Mexico City’s highly controversial statue of Christopher Columbus that more broadly examines the selection of public art in North America’s largest city, are the inaugural titles to be published by Harvard Design Press. All three works—John Andrews: Architect of Uncommon Sense, Frida Escobedo: Split Subject, and Empty Plinths: Monuments, Memorials, and Public Sculpture in Mexico—are slated for release this coming fall.

The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) launched Harvard Design Press in March 2021 by as a standalone book imprint that sets out to “challenge, broaden, and advance the design disciplines and advocate for the value and power of design in making a more resilient, just, and beautiful world.” As previously reported by AN, Harvard GSD’s book-publishing arm will function separately from—but under the auspices of—the 109-year-old Harvard University Press, which has long published titles related to architecture, design, and the built environment including books produced by Harvard GSD. Although Harvard Design Press is a distinct entity, titles published by the imprint will be distributed in collaboration with its older sibling. The forthcoming publication of Split Second was first revealed during the initial launch of Harvard Design Press while the announcement of the other two titles was made today.

The John Andrew-designed Gund Hall, home to the Harvard Graduate School of Design. (Peter Alfred Hess/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Harvard Design Press, which seeks proposals on “new, original ideas” pertaining to the research and practice of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and urban design to join its initial slate of titles, is organized and edited by Ken Stewart, assistant dean and director of Communications and Public Programs at Harvard GSD, and Marielle Suba, an editor at the school. The imprint’s 16-member Harvard Design Press Editorial Board is comprised of Harvard GSD dean Sarah M. Whiting, alongside faculty members Martin Bechthold, Anita Berrizbeitia, Eve Blau, Ed Eigen, K. Michael Hays, Niall Kirkwood, Mark Lee, John May, Rahul Mehrotra, Erika Naginski, Jacob Reidel, and Sara Zewde. Harvard University faculty Lizabeth Cohen, Sarah Lewis, and Patricio del Real round out the board.

Below is just-unveiled cover art for each forthcoming title along with brief synopses as provided by Harvard Design Press.

John Andrews: Architect of Uncommon Sense
By Paul Walker

John Andrews: Architect of Uncommon Sense
(Courtesy Harvard Design Press)

“Following a path from Australia to the United States and Canada and back again, John Andrews: Architect of Uncommon Sense by Paul Walker examines his most important buildings and reveals how the internationalization of architecture during this period was an unexpectedly dispersed geographical phenomenon, following more complex flows and localized progressions than earlier modernist ideas that travelled from center to periphery, metropole to outpost. Andrews negotiated the advent of postmodernism not by ignoring it, but by cultivating approaches that this new era foregrounded—identity, history, place—within the formal vocabularies of modernism. As Andrews assumed wider public roles and took appointments that allowed him to shape architectural education, he influenced design culture beyond his own personal portfolio. Featuring commissioned photography by Chicago-based artist Noritaka Minami, this book presents Andrews’ legacy traversing local and international scenes and exemplifying late-modern developments of architecture while offering both generational continuities and discontinuities with what came after.”

Frida Escobedo: Split Subject
Edited by Ken Stewart and Marielle Suba with a foreword by Wonne Ickx

cover of Frida Escobedo: Split Subject
(Courtesy Harvard Design Press)

“Split Subject, an early project by architect Frida Escobedo, deconstructs a fraught allegory of national identity and architectural modernism in Mexico. Unpacking this project and tracing its enduring influence throughout Escobedo’s career, Frida Escobedo: Split Subject reveals a multi-scalar and multi-medium practice whose creative output encompasses permanent buildings, temporary installations, public sculpture, art objects, publications, and exhibitions, and bares at its center a sensitivity to time and weathering, material and pattern, and memory. It includes essays by Julieta Gonzalez, Alejandro Hernández, Erika Naginski, Doris Sommer and José Falconi, and Irene Sunwoo, and a foreword by Wonne Ickx.”

Empty Plinths: Monuments, Memorials, and Public Sculpture in Mexico
Edited by José Esparza Chong Cuy and Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa

(Courtesy Harvard Design Press)

“Empty Plinths: Monuments, Memorials, and Public Sculpture in Mexico responds to the unfolding political debate around one of the most contentious public monuments in North America, Mexico City’s monument of Christopher Columbus on Avenida Paseo de la Reforma. In convening a diverse collective of voices around the question of the monument’s future, editors José Esparza Chong Cuy and Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa probe the unstable narratives behind a selection of monuments, memorials, and public sculptures in Mexico City, and propose a new charter that informs future public art commissions in Mexico and beyond.”

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