In this episode, host Grace La interviews Kersten Geers, who is a founding partner together with David Van Severen of OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen and the Kenzo Tange Design Critics in architecture at the GSD. Kersten recounts his early encounters with David in Belgium and the U.S., and the influence of Iñaki Ábalos and Juan Herreros during their studies in Spain. Commenting on the nature of collaboration with David, Kersten underscores the significance of dialogue in their process, in which design is understood as a cultural project and a conversation between people and across time. Reflecting on their long-standing academic inquiry of “Architecture without Content,” Kersten comments on the incapacity of architecture to keep pace with changes in technology, program, lifestyle and behavior; instead, he argues for space that is pleasurable and for an understanding of architecture as well-proportioned frames within which the complexities of life unfold.
Discussing the purpose of representation, Kersten describes how simple, collage drawings are leveraged as design guides from the initial concept stage to construction detailing. For more on Kersten and David’s investigation into the history and representation of American architecture, please see their fall 2019 GSD option studio.
This episode of Talking Practice was recorded prior to the pandemic, and as we resume programming this Spring of 2022, we are delighted to release it and future episodes.
Kersten Geers and David Van Severen are the founding partners of the Brussels-based OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen and the Kenzo Tange Design Critics in architecture at the GSD. Spanning a wide range of programs and types, the work of OFFICE has been the subject of multiple international publications and was awarded the Silver Lion in the 2010 Venice Biennale. In addition to their architecture practice, Kersten and David have taught widely in the U.S. and Europe and served as the curators of two recent exhibitions at the Canadian Center for Architecture. Together with Pier Paolo Tamburelli, Kersten was also one of the founding editors of the San Rocco magazine. Kersten and David taught their fall 2019 studio at the GSD titled “An American Section.”
About the Show
Developed by Harvard Graduate School of Design, Talking Practice is the first podcast series to feature in-depth interviews with leading designers on the ways in which architects, landscape architects, designers, and planners articulate design imagination through practice. Hosted by Grace La, Professor of Architecture and Principal of LA DALLMAN, these dynamic conversations provide a rare glimpse into the work, experiences, and attitudes of design practitioners from around the world. Comprehensive, thought-provoking, and timely, Talking Practice tells the story of what designers do, why, and how they do it—exploring the key issues at stake in practice today.
About the Host
Grace La is Professor of Architecture, Chair of the Practice Platform, and former Director of the Master of Architecture Programs at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She is also Principal of LA DALLMAN Architects, internationally recognized for the integration of architecture, engineering and landscape. Cofounded with James Dallman, LA DALLMAN is engaged in catalytic projects of diverse scale and type. The practice is noted for works that expand the architect’s agency in the civic recalibration of infrastructure, public space and challenging sites.
Talking Practice is produced and edited by Maggie Janik. Our Research Assistant is John Wang. The show is recorded at Harvard University’s Education Support Services by Multimedia Engineer Jeffrey Valade.
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