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Designer & Inventor Chuck Hoberman Appointed Pierce Anderson Lecturer in Design Engineering at Harvard GSD

He also joins Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering as an Associate Faculty member

(CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts) — The Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) announces the appointment of Chuck Hoberman as the Pierce Anderson Lecturer in Design Engineering, effective July 1, 2016. Hoberman also joins Harvard’s Wyss Institute as an Associate Faculty member. He has been a Visiting Lecturer at the GSD since 2012 and a Visiting Scholar at the Wyss Institute since 2009.

With his dual appointments, Hoberman will continue to play a leading role in university-wide initiatives intended to bridge the gap between design and science. This fall, he will serve as an inaugural faculty member for Harvard’s new collaborative Master in Design Engineering (MDE) program, shared by the GSD and Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

"Chuck Hoberman is a major creative teacher and practitioner whose research and projects productively explore the boundaries between art, design, and engineering," said Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design at Harvard GSD. "I am delighted that he is joining us as he will undoubtedly play a significant role in the collaborations between the GSD and the Wyss Institute, as well as in shaping the future of our new and exciting Master in Design Engineering program, which has recently been established with SEAS."

Chuck Hoberman
Chuck Hoberman, the newly appointed Pierce Anderson Lecturer in Design Engineering at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Associate Faculty member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Credit: Randi Rosenblum

Internationally known for his "transformable structures," Hoberman is an inventor-designer who seamlessly fuses the disciplines of art, architecture, and engineering. Through his products, patents, and structures, Hoberman demonstrates how objects can be foldable, retractable, or shape-shifting. Such capabilities lead to functional benefits: portability, instantaneous opening, and intelligent responsiveness to the built environment.

"I see a groundswell of interest in connecting design and science at Harvard,” Hoberman said. “The Wyss and the GSD are supporting this interest through joint research and multidisciplinary courses—projects that provide a strong foundation for the new MDE program as well. It’s a very exciting time to bring my involvement at Harvard to a new level."

Earlier this spring, Hoberman led a cross-Harvard research team, along with SEAS’s Katia Bertoldi and the Wyss Institute’s James Weaver, that unveiled a new type of thin, foldable material that can change size, volume, and shape, and can fold flat to withstand several tons of weight. "This structural system has fascinating implications for dynamic architecture, including portable shelters, adaptive building facades, and retractable roofs," Hoberman said.

Founder of the multidisciplinary practice Hoberman Associates, Hoberman works with clients ranging across a wide array of sectors, including consumer products, deployable shelters, and space structures. Examples of his commissioned work include the transforming LED screen that served as the primary stage element for the pop band U2’s 360° world tour and the Hoberman Arch in Salt Lake City, installed as the centerpiece for the Winter Olympic Games in 2002. Hoberman’s work also has been exhibited in internationally renowned museums including several times at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which added the Hoberman sphere to its permanent collection, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

Among other honors, Hoberman won the Chrysler Design Award for innovative works of architecture and design in 1997, was a finalist for the Smithsonian National Design Award in Product Design in 2000, and has received several silver and bronze International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA).

Hoberman formed the Adaptive Building Initiative (ABI) in 2008, alongside BuroHappold Principal Craig Schwitter to catalyze innovation in environmental building performance. Between 2009 and 2010, ABI realized four adaptive architectural installations, including a sliding dynamic entrance doorway with continuously shifting color, transparency and imagery for the Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

"After years of productive collaborations as a Visiting Scholar, we are very excited having Chuck Hoberman joining the GSD as a lecturer, and appointing him as a full-time an Associate Faculty member at the Institute," said Don Ingber, the Wyss Institute’s founding director. "His vision as an artist and engineer, and his innate ability to uncover structural mechanisms that closely mimic those found in nature, will help our community to create entirely new designs for the built environment, and perhaps for medical and industrial applications as well."

Hoberman earned a Bachelor’s degree in sculpture from Cooper Union and a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University.

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