• Architectural Design (BFA)

    Finnegan Harries

    Before he came to Parsons, Finn attended two other universities where he felt constricted by their rigid, traditional environments. At Parsons, he found an open, diverse, and collaborative community eager to engage his values and imagination. “I think my sixteen- year-old self would be surprised to see the freedom that I have here to explore and play,” Finn says.

    One way Finn has taken advantage of his freedom at The New School is to take advantage of 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 fifteen students across different disciplines to build Street Seats—sustainable public seating that gave New Yorkers at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 13th Street a much-needed outdoor space to rest and enjoy conversation or a meal.

    After a great deal of research for Street Seats, students chose fast-growing, lightweight, and weather-resilient Vietnamese bamboo for their hand-built forty-feet-long sculptural seating project. Seventy-five planters made from recycled plastic were placed inside its frame; at night, planters lit by solar panels 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’s 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.”