AN has a first look at MoMA’s upcoming architecture exhibition, Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures for Social Engagement, which will include eleven projects from four continents. The show examines how architects working on small budgets can “bring a positive impact to social conditions,” according to curator Andres Lepik. All the included projects are exemplary for their level of community engagement, which often includes developing the skills of local people. For Lepik, this level of community engagement sets these projects apart from what he calls “charity architecture” or “parachute architecture.” While the American architects are fairly familiar, among them Michael Maltzan, the Rural Studio, and the Estudio Teddy Cruz, many of the international examples will be new to the MoMA audience.
Lepik was also quick to stress that the projects are also beautifully designed, keeping it in line with the Modern’s history. “Many of these architects are tired of architectural utopias. They’re not interested in politics particularly, rather they are interested in addressing specific problems,” he said. “Even with a very low budget, you can achieve a very high aesthetic standard.” Small Scale, Big Change opens on October 3, 2010.