Harvard Graduate School of Design

Harvard Graduate School of Design

Coat of arms of the School
Type Private
Established 1874 (First courses taught)
1936 (GSD established)
Endowment US$396 Million
Dean Mohsen Mostafavi
Academic staff
Students 878
362 (Architecture)
161 (Urban Planning)
182 (Landscape Architecture)
173 (Doctoral/Design Studies)
Location Gund Hall, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Campus Urban
Affiliations Harvard University
Website gsd.harvard.edu

The Harvard Graduate School of Design (also known as The GSD) is a professional graduate school at Harvard University, located at Gund Hall, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The GSD offers masters and doctoral programs in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, urban design, real estate,[1] design engineering, and design studies.

The GSD has over 13,000 alumni and has graduated many famous architects, urban planners, and landscape architects. The school is considered a global academic leader in the design fields.[2][3][4]

The GSD has the world's oldest landscape architecture program (founded in 1893), and North America's oldest urban planning program (founded in 1900). Architecture courses were first taught at Harvard University in 1874.[5] The Graduate School of Design was officially established in 1936, combining the three fields of architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture under one graduate school.[6]

The market value of the school's endowment for the fiscal year 2013 was approximately $396 million.[7]


Charles Eliot Norton brought the first architecture courses to Harvard University in 1874
GSD graduates during spring graduation


Charles Eliot Norton brought the first architecture classes to Harvard University in 1874. By 1893, courses dedicated exclusively to architecture were offered and by 1895, an architecture degree was established. The Faculty of Architecture was established in 1913.

Urban Planning

In 1900, the first urban planning courses were taught at Harvard University, and by 1909, urban planning was added into Harvard's design curriculum. In 1923, North America's first urban planning degree was established at Harvard. In 1980, the program was temporarily moved to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government until it returned to the GSD in 1984.

Landscape Architecture

In 1893, the nation's first professional course in landscape architecture was offered at Harvard University. In 1900, the world's first landscape architecture program was established by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and Arthur A. Shurcliff. The School of Landscape Architecture was established in 1913.

Establishment of the Harvard Graduate School of Design

The three major design professions (architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture) were officially united in 1936 to form the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In 1937, Walter Gropius joined the GSD faculty as chair of the Department of Architecture and brought modern designers, including Marcel Breuer to help revamp the curriculum.

In 1960, Josep Lluís Sert established the nation's first Urban Design program. George Gund Hall, which is the present iconic home GSD, opened in 1972 and was designed by Australian architect and GSD graduate John Andrews. The school's now defunct Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis (LCGSA) is widely recognized as the research/development environment from which the now-commercialized technology of geographic information systems (GIS) emerged in the late 1960s and 1970s. More recent research initiatives include the Design Robotics Group, a unit that investigates new material systems and fabrication technologies in the context of architectural design and construction.[8][9]

Deans of the Harvard Graduate School of Design

Dean Tenure Career
Joseph Hudnut 1936-1953 Architect
Josep Lluís Sert 1953-1969 Architect and urban planner
Maurice D. Kilbridge 1969-1980 Urban planner
Gerald M. McCue 1980-1992 Architect
Peter G. Rowe 1992-2005 Architect
Alan A. Altshuler 2005-2008 Urban planner
Mohsen Mostafavi 2008–present Architect

Degree programs

Gund Hall, designed by architect John Andrews in 1972, is the home of the Harvard Graduate School of Design

The degrees granted in the masters programs include the Master of Architecture (M.Arch.), Master in Landscape Architecture (MLA), Master of Architecture in Urban Design (MAUD), Master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design (MLAUD), Master in Urban Planning (MUP), Master in Design Engineering, Master in Design Studies (M.Des.) in more than eight concentrations. The school offers a doctoral degree, Doctor of Design (D.Des.), and jointly administers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.[10]


As of 2016, the program's ten-year average ranking, places it 1st, overall, on DesignIntelligence's ranking of programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

Executive Education

Executive Education operates within GSD providing continuing education classes, they are located at 7 Sumner Rd.[14] Advanced Management Development Program in Real Estate (AMDP) is a six-week executive development course. The program is open to established professionals with 15+ years of experience in real estate. Upon graduating from AMDP, participants are full-fledged Harvard University Alumni. As of 2013, AMDP is in its 13th year.[15]

The other large program organized by Executive Education is summer Open Enrollment. In 2013, Executive Education held 18 classes throughout the month of July. Each class lasts from 1 to 3 days and is eligible for continuing education credits through American Institute of Architects, American Society of Landscape Architects and/or American Planning Association. Open Enrollment classes are open to everyone, though basic knowledge of the subject is recommended.[16]

Student Enrollment

The historic Robinson Hall in Harvard Yard was the home of the GSD until 1972, when the school moved to nearby Gund Hall.

As of 2012-2013, there were 878 students enrolled. 362 students or 42% were enrolled in architecture, 182 students or 21% in landscape architecture, 161 students or 18% in urban planning, and 173 students or 20% in doctoral or design studies programs. Approximately, 65% of students were Americans. The average student is 27 years old.[17]

Research and publications

In addition to its degree programs, the GSD administers the Loeb Fellowship, and numerous research initiatives such as the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure. The school publishes the bi-annual Harvard Design Magazine, Platform, and other design books and studio works.

Design Research Labs

The GSD Design Labs synthesize theoretical and applied knowledge through research with the intent to enable design to be an agent of change in society. There are seven current labs: Material Processes and Systems Group; Energy, Environments and Design; New Geographies Lab; Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab; Social Agency Lab; Urban Theory Lab; Geometry Lab.


The GSD campus is located northeast of Harvard Yard and across the street from Memorial Hall. Gund Hall is the main building of the GSD, and it houses most of the student space and faculty offices. Other nearby buildings include space for the school's Design Research Labs, faculty offices, the Loeb Fellowship program office, and research space for students, including those in the M.Des. and D.Des. programs.

Gund Hall

Gund Hall is the main building, which has studio spaces and offices for approximately 800 students and more than 100 faculty and staff, lecture and seminar rooms, workshops and darkrooms, an audiovisual center, computer facilities, Chauhaus, the cafeteria, a project room, Piper Auditorium, and the Frances Loeb Library. The central studio space, also known as the Trays, extends through five levels under a stepped, clear-span roof. Gund Hall has a yard that comprises a basketball court and is often used for events, as an exhibition area for class projects, and as the setting for commencement ceremonies.

Frances Loeb Library

The Frances Loeb Library, is the main library of the Graduate School of Design. The library has a collection of over 300,000 books and journals. It also has a Materials and Visual Resources Department, and the Special Collections Department, which houses the GSD's rare books and manuscript collection.

Fabrication Lab

The Fabrication Lab has both traditional tools and state-of-the-art technology available for model making and prototyping to faculty research and student course work. The Fabrication Lab has a full wood shop, metals shop, printing labs, 3D printing, CNC tools, robotic machines, laser cutter machines, etc.[18]

Distinguished alumni and faculty

As of 2013, the GSD has over 13,000 alumni in 96 countries. The GSD had 77 faculty members and 129 visiting faculty members. 45% of the faculty members were born outside of the United States.[19]

Frank Gehry, urban planning alumnus
Philip Johnson, architecture alumnus
José Rafael Moneo Vallés, architecture faculty
Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., founder of the landscape architecture program
Walter Gropius, former GSD professor


Current Notable Faculty

Notable former faculty


  1. "About - REAL ESTATE and the BUILT ENVIRONMENT". REAL ESTATE and the BUILT ENVIRONMENT. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  2. http://www.archdaily.com/444902/the-best-us-architecture-schools-for-2014-are/
  3. http://www.archdaily.com/295331/2013-united-states-best-architecture-schools/
  4. http://www.thebestcolleges.org/the-10-best-graduate-programs-in-urban-and-regional-planning/
  5. http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/#/academic-programs/urban-planning-design/
  6. http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/images/content/5/4/543760/Guide-to-Gund-2012.pdf
  7. http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/images/content/5/7/v2/571463/GSD-Annual-Report-Web.pdf
  8. . gsd.harvard.edu. Retrieved on 2012-04-03.
  9. http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/images/content/5/4/543760/Guide-to-Gund-2012.pdf
  10. "Doctoral Programs". Harvard Graduate School of Design. Harvard University. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  11. "Harvard Graduate School of Design - Homepage". www.gsd.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  12. "Harvard Graduate School of Design - Homepage". www.gsd.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  13. "Doctoral Programs". Harvard Graduate School of Design. Harvard University. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  14. "Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education". Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  15. "Advanced Management Development Program". Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  16. "Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education Programs". Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  17. http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/images/content/5/4/543752/gsd-student-guide-2012.pdf
  18. http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/#/gsd-resources/fabrication-laboratory/
  19. http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/images/content/5/7/v2/571463/GSD-Annual-Report-Web.pdf
  20. "Harvard Graduate School of Design - Nader Tehrani". www.gsd.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
  21. Emily Young, Building a Name for Herself, The Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2002
  22. Alan Powers, "Chermayeff, Serge", Grove Art Online, (subscription required (help)) Check date values in: |access-date= (help);
  23. "Judges 2009 Bjarke Ingels". World Architecture Festival. Retrieved 2009-10-20.

External links

Coordinates: 42°22′33″N 71°06′50″W / 42.37583°N 71.11389°W / 42.37583; -71.11389

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