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  • Finnegan Harries

  • Architectural Design (BFA)

    Before he came to Parsons, Finn Harries attended two other universities, whose rigid, traditional approach to education limited his ability to question and experiment. At Parsons, he found an open, diverse, and collaborative community eager to engage his values and imagination. “I think my 16-year-old self would be surprised to see the freedom that I have here to explore and play,” Finn says.

    Advising

    One way Finn has taken advantage of his freedom at The New School is to enroll in classes offered at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, also a part of the university. “It gives my architecture work a new layer of depth, and gives me a new perspective to approach creative problem solving,” Finn says. In his Sustainable Systems class at Parsons, he learned that responding to environmental threats doesn’t have to mean design sacrifices. And in his Design & Build class, he put the idea into practice, collaborating with 15 students from different disciplines to build Street Seats —  sustainable public seating at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 13th Street that gave New Yorkers a much-needed outdoor space to rest and enjoy conversation or a meal.

    After conducting intensive research for Street Seats, students chose fast-growing, lightweight, weather-resistant Vietnamese bamboo for their hand-built 40-foot sculptural seating project. Seventy-five planters made from recycled plastic were placed inside its frame; at night, lit by solar panels, the planters gave off an inviting glow. “As an undergraduate architecture student, it’s rare to have the opportunity to take a project from the first sketch to putting the final nail in the frame, and it’s even more rare to build that project in one of the most prominent cities in the world,” says Finn. “It was both surreal and really satisfying to see our design in the real world. It inspires me for the work I want do in the future.”

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