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Staying Ahead of the Burb

Changing demographics and new technologies promise to reshape American suburbs

Cookie-cutter Levittowns epitomize the post–World War II generation’s housing: Shaped by subsidies and segregation practices like redlining, vast tracts of cul-de-sacs and ranch homes filled up with white Americans emptying from the cities. Now, as a new generation stands to form 14 million new households over the next decade, the suburbs are poised for major changes.

How and where the next wave lives are the major questions put forth by “Housing in the Evolving American Suburb,” the 2016 report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a nonprofit developer and real estate research group based in Washington, D.C. Its analysis takes a big-picture snapshot of America’s suburbs in an attempt to update and more accurately reflect demographics and spread beyond Levittown. Seeing the suburbs figuring prominently in issues ranging from aging to immigration and economic growth, the report aims to create “a new analytic framework for classifying suburban housing markets.”

Drawing extensively from census data, the ULI—working with real estate consultants RCLCO—used factors such as housing types, population density, employment density, and distance from city centers to identify the suburban areas outside of America’s 50 largest metro areas. Organized by census tract, each area is classified into five suburban categories based on land value and a host of development trends.

Using these definitions, one immediate takeaway was that the suburbs are growing. “There’s absolutely…an outward migration from metro areas and regions based on the cost of living, which is principally the cost of housing,” said Stockton Williams, executive director for the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing. Furthermore, the newer, more peripheral, and affordable suburbs are growing faster in comparison with older suburbs, regardless of whether the latter were wealthy or low income. And, contrary to popular perception, the suburbs are increasingly more diverse. By one estimate, suburban America was nearly 90 percent white in 1980. Now, while what the ULI defines as “economically struggling” suburbs are 62.1 percent minority (a definition that includes all races except non-Hispanic whites), “established high-end” and “stable middle income” suburbs are 33.8 percent and 51.2 percent minority, respectively. By comparison, non-Hispanic whites were an estimated 61.6 percent of the national population in 2015. However, the report and its accompanying online map (available at RCLCO’s website) make it impossible to distinguish what minorities make a census tract diverse. Moreover, segregation can still persist, depending on your standards and how close you look—a fall 2014 Harvard GSD studio still found the legacy of suburban segregation alive and well in Long Island’s Nassau County, which the report identifies mostly as “stable middle income.” While identifying that form of discrimination was not the report’s goal, Williams predicted that immigrants in particular would shape suburbs in the future.  He said demand for newer, more peripheral, but higher-end suburbs will “increasingly be driven by second- and third-generation immigrants.”

Also contrary to population conception is the suburban demographic: 75 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds in the report’s top-50 metro areas lives in suburbs. That age group (millennials) may drive major national changes there. “There are still a lot of millennials who have not really formed households, or even if they have, have not even begun to fully express what we expect to be their purchasing power and their preferences in the housing market,” said Williams. According to previous ULI studies, 75 percent of millennials plan to move in the next five years, and that group has a strong preference for car-optional neighborhoods that are diverse and pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly—in other words, compact mixed-use developments. So what will happen when millennials want to upgrade the sizes of their dwellings, form households, or pursue home ownership, especially when as of 2014 the median household income for those aged 25 and 34 was $54,243?

More prosperous millennials may remain in cities or move to newer, higher-end suburbs—ones developed with dense, walkable, mixed-use downtowns as amenities. For the rest, other possible destinations arethe many “economically challenged” suburbs well situated near urban cores. “There, we could see a reinvestment, meaning an influx of younger families, or families of any age who want to buy, who can buy more…because prices are lower,” Williams said. Such a phenomenon is already underway near Washington, D.C., in parts of Prince George’s County, Maryland, which Williams said is “now attracting residential investment and mixed-use and even arts and cultural redevelopment.”

Another complicating factor is the fate of older suburban housing stock. Though it’s unclear at what rate those homes will enter the market, when they do, there may be little demand from younger generations for homes “that were built in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, largely to meet the needs and preferences of the nuclear family unit of that era, in communities that may not always reflect today’s preferences,” said Williams. Lastly, the prospect of driverless and electric vehicles—estimated to enter widespread use in 20 to 30 years, according to the report—could be highly disruptive. Autonomous and shared vehicles could vastly curtail parking requirements that stifle density while making long-distance car commuting more amenable. Electric vehicles could also make the suburbs more sustainable.

While some have portrayed the report as another round in the city-versus-suburb debate, that’s not Williams’s takeaway. He argues that the suburbs’ range of housing options make them integral to the success of their cities and vice versa. “You really are seeing pretty significant and sustained growth in a number of the metro areas…where housing is more affordable.” But a range of factors—from fair-housing enforcement to driverless cars, aging in place, and millions of households’ preferences—have yet to play out in each region.

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To Be Completed This Year

Arquitectonica’s One Mission Bay tops out in San Francisco
Developers CIM Group and Miami-based architects Arquitectonica recently topped-out construction on a 16-story condominium tower complex in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood. The 350-unit One Mission Bay development is located across from the city’s booming South of Market district and is currently billed as the tallest residential structure under construction in the neighborhood. The waterfront development is made up of a 13-story tower containing 198 units and a shorter, six-story partial perimeter block building containing 152-units located on a two-acre site. The condominiums range in configuration from studios to three bedroom units. Waterfront units in the 13-story portion of the development are clad in floor-to-ceiling glass walls while other exposures and the majority of the six-story masses feature large, square-shaped punched openings interspersed by sections of masonry cladding. The project also features roughly 16,000 square feet of ground-level commercial spaces, three parking levels, and a constellation of rooftop amenities like a heated pool. The project’s triangular site yields interesting configurations at two of the corners. At one such point, where the 13-story tower is located, the building masses come together and branch out for a short distance along opposing edges of the site. Units along the sharply-angled crook along the interior of the tower created by this situation, according to renderings produced by rendering firm Bluesteel, also feature floor-to-ceiling glass walls with units looking directly—and perhaps uncomfortably—into one another. A second corner features rectangular massing that extends out perpendicularly from the corner, with two wings of the building, aligned with the edges of the site, branching off this central mass.
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Final Five

Exhibit Columbus names Miller Prize winners
Exhibit Columbus has named the winners of the inaugural J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Competition. The winning proposals will be constructed as five installations spread across Columbus, Indiana, the small town two that is home to dozens of modernist masterpieces. The installations will be one of the main attractions at the 2017 iteration of Exhibit Columbus, a new yearly event which connects contemporary architecture with the city’s storied design past. A two-part architectural event, the inaugural symposium of Exhibit Columbus was held in the fall of 2016. The inaugural exhibition, which will include the installations, will open on August 26, 2017. The winners of this year’s J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Competition are: Milwaukee-based studio:indigenous’s Wiikiaami The copper-clad form takes cues from the dwellings of the Miyaamia, the indigenous people of central Indiana. It will sit near the Saarinen and Saarinen-designed First Christian Church. Boston-Based IKD’s Conversation Plinth Situated across the street from the First Christian Church, in the Plaza of the I.M. Pei-designed Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, Conversation Plinth plays off the conversation pit in the famed Eero Saarinen-designed Miller House, also located in Columbus. Los Angeles-based Oyler Wu Collaborative’s Untitled The project takes on Euclidean geometries, solid/void relationships, and tectonics to complete the implied spaces formed by the canopies of the Eero Saarinen-designed Irwin Conference Center. New Haven-based Plan B Architecture & Urbanism’s Anything can happen in the woods Built on the grounds of the Keven Roche John Dinkelloo Associates-designed Cummins Corporate Office Building, Anything can happen in the woods works with the sites existing colonnade to produce a forest of reflective columns. Tuscon and New York-based Aranda\Lasch’s Another Circle Constructed in the Michael Van Valkenburgh-designed Mill Race Park, Another Circle brings 2,800 pieces of salvaged Indiana limestone into a 3.5-acre Stonehenge-like circle. The epic piece will tie together a pedestrian trail, the nearby river, and the park’s lake. The jury for the Miller prize consisted of Sean Anderson, associate curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, Museum of Modern Art, Lise Anne Couture, co-founder and principal, Asymptote Architecture, Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Dung Ngo, publisher, August Editions. The installations will be joined by 10 other installations by international designers and Midwest architecture and design students. Along Washington Street, in Columbus’s Downtown, five international galleries have each chosen one of the design practices they represent to participate in the event. Those galleries and designers include; London’s Dzek gallery, with designers Studio Formafantasma, Copenhagen’s Etage Projects, with designers Pettersen & Hein, Brussels’s Maniera gallery, with designers Productora, New York's Patrick Parrish Gallery with designer Cody Hoyt, and Chicago’s Volume Gallery with designers Snarkitecture. The university participants will build installations on the grounds of the Ralph Johnson-designed Central Middle School and the Gunner Birkerts-designed Lincoln Elementary School. The universities involved will be Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning, The Ohio State University Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture, University of Cincinnati School of Architecture and Interior Design University of Kentucky College of Design, School of Architecture, and the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Students from the Indiana University Center for Art + Design will also create an installation with the help of a designer-in-residence at the Eero Saarenin-designed North Christian Church.
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Crème de la Crème

Our Buildings of the Year and other Best of Design Awards-winning projects
The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categories. As in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN Senior Editor Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards.  Scroll below to see this year's winners! Click through to see plenty of images, the honorable mentions, and why the jury picked each project. We'd like to congratulate the winners and hope you can submit your work for consideration next year. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2016 articles here.) 2016 Building of the Year > Midwest: University of Iowa Visual Arts Building by Steven Holl Architects 2016 Building of the Year > East: Grace Farms by SANAA 2016 Building of the Year > Southwest: U.S. Air Force Academy Center for Character and Leadership Development by SOM 2016 Building of the Year > West: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Expansion by Snøhetta 2016 Best of Design Award in Landscape > Private: Modern Vineyard by Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture 2016 Best of Design Award in Architectural Lighting > Outdoor: SteelStacks Campus by L’Observatoire International 2016 Best of Design Award for Young Architects: Steven Christensen Architecture 2016 Best of Design Award in Facade: Vagelos Education Center by DS+R with Gensler 2016 Best of Design Award in Building Renovation: The Strand American Conservatory Theater by SOM 2016 Best of Design Award in Digital Fabrication: XOCO 325 by DDG 2016 Best of Design Award for Student Work: Sensory Pavilion by Dirt Works Studio, University of Kansas 2016 Best of Design Award for Temporary Installation: Rounds by SPORTS 2016 Best of Design Award for Lighting > Indoor: Planned Parenthood Queens by Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design 2016 Best of Design Award for Interior > Residential: Clinton Hill Courtyard House by O'Neill McVoy Architects 2016 Best of Design Award for Landscape > Public: Lower Rainier Vista & Pedestrian Land Bridge by GGN 2016 Best of Design Award for Interior > Retail/Hospitality: In Situ by Aidlin Darling Design 2016 Best of Design Award for Interior > Workplace: Square, Inc. HQ by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson 2016 Best of Design Award for Residential > Multi-Unit: 400 Grove by Fougeron Architecture 2016 Best of Design Award for Residential > Single Unit: Underhill by Bates Masi + Architects 2016 Best of Design Award for Urban Design: Chicago Riverwalk, Phase 2 by Ross Barney Architects and Sasaki Associates 2016 Best of Design Award for Architectural Representation > Digital: Nine Drawings, Seven Models by NEMESTUDIO 2016 Best of Design Award for Architectural Representation > Analog: Welcome to the 5th Facade by Olson Kundig 2016 Best of Design Award for Adaptive Reuse: National Sawdust by Bureau V 2016 Best of Design Award for Adaptive Restoration: The Cotton Gin at The Co-Op District by Antenora 2016 Best of Design Award for Civic Institution: Architecture of Buffalo Bayou Park by Page 2016 Best of Design Award for Unbuilt > In the Drawers: University of Miami Student Housing Master Plan, Phase 1 by CO Architects 2016 Best of Design Award for Unbuilt > On the Boards: The Menokin Project by Machado Silvetti How Synthesis Design + Architecture and Formlabs crafted this year’s Best of Design Awards Grand Prize. (Courtesy Formlabs) How Synthesis Design + Architecture and Formlabs crafted this year’s Best of Design Awards Grand Prize. (Courtesy Formlabs) How Synthesis Design + Architecture and Formlabs crafted this year’s Best of Design Awards Grand Prize    
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Take Me to the River

Five proposals highlight potential for a new park in Milwaukee’s Inner Harbor
Five teams are vying for a chance to design a small park in Milwaukee’s evolving Inner Harbor. The small two-lot site is just a small portion of the nearly 1,000 acres of waterfront which the city hopes to eventually transform. The Take Me to the River competition, initiated by the non-profit Harbor District, Inc., is the latest push to raise public interest in the mostly post-industrial landscape. Milwaukee’s harbor is still a working harbor but much of it is unused. Vast tracts of the land surrounding the harbor are either filled with abandoned industrial buildings or are contaminated brownfields. In recent years, some these structures have begun to be dismantled and the land remediated. One of the most significant additions to the area is the University of Wisconsin School of Freshwater Sciences, a leading research facility in the Great Lakes. Recently teams of architects—including Chicago-based Studio Gang, Toronto-based DTAH, Vancouver-based PWL, and Denver-based Wenk—weighed in on the harbor as part of a Harbor District-led design charrette. Though that charrette was not intended to produce buildable proposals, this latest competition does hope to create new public space for the area. The small site for the Take Me to the River competition is situated at the intersection of Greenfield Avenue and the Kinnickinnic River. Each of the five teams participating provided proposals that range from an extensive reshaping of the shoreline to interactive designs. The participating teams and their projects include:
  • SmithGroupJJR and TKWA UrbanLab – Welcome to the River
  • MKExTEN (Vetter Denk Architects, Ten X Ten, and Design Fugitives) – Urban Flashlights
  • La Dallman Architects and Alfred Benesch Engineering – Waterlily Landing
  • Quorum Architects and Ayres Associates – Slosh Park
  • UWM Inner Harbor Team (UWM, City as a Living Laboratory, Creative Lighting Design, SEH) – Access/Engagement/Education
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Gimme Gimme!

AN Editors’ gift picks
In addition to our gift guide from the December issue that featured some of our favorite architects and designer's tops picks, here are some ideas from our diverse team here at The Architect's Newspaper! Take a look below at what our editorial staff is craving, ranging from funny to fabulous.  William Menking, Editor-in-Chief Here’s one for the serious urbanist in your family. Books from Urban Research on the daily life we all face in the ‘Age of Trump.’ One Star Press creates affordable artworks for the working designer and for slightly less than $1000. Two chairs designed by Rirkrit Tiravanija and John Baldessari (both with Sébastien de Ganay) are the perfect gift for the average art collector. They are cut out of four pieces out of simple plywood on a local CNC machine to make the chair's carbon footprint as low as possible—and assemble it in a minute with no screws or glue. Matt Shaw, Senior Editor Props by Besler & Sons These stylish terrazzo objects are as durable as they are ambiguous. Each is uniquely patterned with colored glass and marble chips, and the shapes can be used for a variety of functions. The Allen Sock The Allen Sock is patterned with the crown of the Chrysler Building and is named after architect William Van Alen, who completed the skyscraper in 1930. Insulation Scarf Insulation Scarf takes the universal drawing symbol for insulation and applies it to an actual piece of human insulation: The scarf you wrap around your neck. Begin With The Past This book tracks the long process of designing and building the National Museum of African American History, including how to create consensus about a building for an entire group of underrepresented people. Zachary Edelson, Web Editor Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers Newly-released, this book uses verticality as a way to explore a complex web of global inequality, cities, architecture, history, and more. It's a unique perspective on how architecture intersects with politics and culture. Dymaxion Folding Globe For fans of Buckminster Fuller, a great little desktop addition. Portable Pico Projector One of the top rated micro projectors of 2016, it's great for giving presentations anywhere (and can double for entertainment as well). Olivia Martin, Managing Editor Oto for East Japan Project Speaker This handmade ceramic smartphone holder, speaker, and dish by KiBiSi (Bjarke Ingels's side project with Lars Larsen of Kilo and Jens Martin Skibsted of Skibsted Ideation) and Kengo Kuma is not only a whole lot of starchitecture in one tiny object, but is also practical and elegant. The Japanese walnut wood naturally amplifies sound and the ceramic comes in fun colors like matcha green and sumi black. Available at design shop. Shinola Bolt Necklace I don't know if a collaboration between the super hip powerhouses of jewelry designer Pamela Love and Detriot manufacturer Shinola is genius or obnoxious, but the resulting new jewelry line is very nice. If bling isn't your thing, Shinola's partnership with GE yields some seriously sleek power strips and extension cords (be still my heart). Dustin Koda, Art Director
Encyclopedia of Flowers III, Flower Compositions by Makoto Azuma, Photography by Shunsuke Shinoki In this three-volume series, Encyclopedia of Flowers, Azuma Makoto works within the constraints of a rapidly changing flower market and the ephemeral nature of botanical life to create sculptural and spatial experiences. Through Shusuke Shiinoki's photographs, Makoto transforms the prosaic into works of transcendent expression and existentially examines our ongoing interest with beauty, context, and mortality.
Marble Bench by Muller Van Severen Belgian duo Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen created a bench strict in form yet whimsical in color. The luxurious cuts of marble belie the bench's commodious practicality. Becca Blasdel, Products Editor Nobel Truong Fluorescent Cacti  For someone with a brown thumb, or an apartment with very little natural light, Nobel Truong's fluorescent cactus sculptures are just the ticket. Plus, they are available in lamp versions, so you can have a mini desert disco when it's too cold to leave the house. Eames Coffee Table Book
This book is a feast for the eyes for any Eames fan. With drawings, photographs, and plans–all of the dynamic duo's projects are in chronological order from their earliest furniture designs to their short film, Powers of Ten.  Antonio Pacheco, West Editor Nimbus Cork Square Side Table Here’s a very cool-looking chair made of steel and cork that is also very comfortable to sit in. The seat is milled from thick slabs of renewable cork from Portugal that have been buffed soft and shaped to have bullnose corners. Dekalog Kieślowski’s Dekalog is a film series from 1980s-Poland that chronicles the lives of the residents of a Soviet-era housing complex. Each of the ten, hour-long films draws on the Ten Commandments for thematic inspiration.

Dark Age Ahead was Jane Jacobs’s last and perhaps most dystopian book. In it, she foretells the nationalist, anti-neoliberal political wave sweeping the western world today. Jacobs explains our current situation as a necessary crisis resulting from our transition toward a technology-focused society.

Jason Sayer, Editorial Assistant

Budget Brutalism When your love for concrete is bound only by your wallet then you’ll be pleased to know of Polish firm Zupagrafika and British artist Oscar Francis. If you feel like recreating your own Brutalist block, Zupagrafika has you covered with a cardboard edition of Ernő Goldfinger’s Balfron Tower (also known as Trellick Tower). If that doesn’t take your fancy, Oscar Francis’s wash bag comes enamored with a print of Sulkin House in Hackney, north east London on it. Art Deco Wrapping paper Art Deco and geometry go hand-in-hand so the style seems ready-made to be used for pattern work, in this case, on wrapping paper. This subtle approach will most likely bring a warm smile to most design types before they’ve even opened your gift. Just make sure the gift is as good! Frank Lloyd Wright Bird Feeder Frank Lloyd wright had an affinity for the natural world, often celebrating it in his work—Falling Water being the most obvious example. "Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you,” he once said. Now you can feed Frank’s feathered friends with this bird feeder whose glass artwork emulates patterns found in the architect's Darwin D. Martin house in Buffalo. Audrey Wachs, Associate Editor

Stop. Close your forest of Amazon Prime tabs right now, and make a gift to nonprofits that make our built environment more just, equitable, and beautiful. Better yet, make a donation for the architect in your life: She has enough crap already, and you get a tax deduction. Win-win, right? Here’s a few suggestions:

If you care about fairness and equity in the field, become a member of the Architecture Lobby. The national organization promotes the value of architecture in the public realm and advocates for structural change within the profession to produce better working conditions. For general donations, the group’s Architecture Initiative funds public forums and the Lobby’s educational mission. To the uninitiated, gender and architecture have more synergy than meets the eye. Organizations like QSPACE, a queer architectural research organization based at the New Museum’s NEW INC, center sexuality and gender in its analysis of the built environment. In addition to donations, the group, founded this year by GSAPP grads, also solicits technical expertise for ongoing projects. QSPACE isn’t the only group accepting in-kind donations. In the wake of the Oakland warehouse fire that killed 36 people, architects Melissa J. Frost and Susan Surface founded national nonprofit Safer Spaces to help artist-run venues and live/work lofts get up to code. Right now, the group is soliciting donations of fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and other fire prevention tools, as well building services, project assistance, and plain old-fashioned cash. Check out their local meet-ups and skill-share document here. For the architect-urbanist, a great way to give back to your city is a gift to your nearest Community Development Corporation (CDC). These nonprofit, hyperlocal organizations typically operate in disinvested, low-income neighborhoods to develop affordable housing, spur economic development, plan neighborhoods, and make streets beautiful. There are CDCs in nearly every city, and for New Yorkers, this list from NYU’s Furman Center is a good place to start.
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More Human than Human

Does design make us human?
Open for only a month, from October 22nd through November 20th, the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial was a quick look at an extremely expanded understanding of design. Far from a trade show of the latest in design objects or material innovations, Are We Human? The Design of the Species 2 seconds, 2 days, 2 years, 200 years, 200,000 years explored the relationship between what it is to design and what it means to be human. In order to provoke a response to this instigation, co-curators Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley set out eight interlinked propositions to which the participating 250 designers, architects, scholars, and scientists reacted:
  1. Design is always design of the human
  2. The Human is the designing animal
  3. Our species is completely suspended in endless layers of design
  4. Design radically expands human capability
  5. Design routinely constructs radical inequalities
  6. Design is even the design of neglect
  7. “Good Design” is an anesthetic
  8. Design without anesthetic asks urgent questions about our humanity
These propositions set up a standing provocation: What defines a human is the act of design. The resulting show investigated this claim, presenting evidence in support of, and questioning of, these eight statements. The array of work ranged from very physical infrastructures of resources, power, and movement around the world, to the ephemeral space of social media. The show specifically rejected the construct of looking at the immediate past and future, usually two years before and after a biennial, and instead looked back to the beginning of humanity and the path to its current state. The defined understanding of design presented by the show was nothing less than extreme in its scope, temporally and ideologically. The work of the participants was divided into four overlapping “clouds”: Designing the Body, Designing the Planet, Designing Life, and Designing Time. Together the show strove to present a worldview in which humans were at once defined by and inseparable from the things they design. In many cases, the curators and participants would not have to look far to find evidence to support their many investigations. Istanbul itself was leveraged repeatedly to enforce the narrative of the show. In one striking exhibit, a cast of hundreds of footprints, recently found during a subway excavation in the city, shows evidence of Neolithic humans ritually gathering in large groups, while all wearing shoes. A room away, a dance floor produced a space that highlights the much-misunderstood world of the Köçek, a sexually ambiguous class of dancers from Turkey’s recent history. In both cases, clothing was presented as an augmentation for either utility or performance, expanding the definition of the human condition. Such investigations continued through the show, looking into the human body and to its immediate relationship to the world. Over and over throughout the Biennial, the idea of human existence was defined by endless layers of design. Prosthetics, complex neural maps, medical pedagogy, and the body of Olympic athletes all highlighted the direct and indirect indications of design's relationship to the human body. Turkish gravestones, atomic testing sites, oil production infrastructure, and geopolitical gerrymandering, questioned society’s—and design's—relationship to the planet as a whole. As a whole, the Biennial felt neither cynical nor optimistic. Rather, it built an image of the world that, for good or for bad, was a construct of humanity. This image was less about dividing the world into artificial or natural, or destructive or constructive. Instead, it illuminated a world of facts and situations, each intertwined with a definition of what it means to be human. Often invoking the concept of the Anthropocene, the proposed geological age in which humans are the dominant influence on the world’s environment and climate, the show was unflinching in laying out a case for humans’ role in shaping every aspect of the world we live in. By broadening the topic and scope of the Biennial, Colomina and Wigley, admittedly, were attempting to questions the very role of all biennials. With the proliferation of biennials and triennials around the word, each one is undoubtedly compared to every other. The breadth of this show's topic set it in opposition those with very specific investigations as well as those events with loose or ambiguous themes. Yet despite the seemingly expansive vision of this show, its tightly curated thematic prompts and Andres Jaque’s subtle exhibition design held it together. The result was a biennial that allowed visitors to focus on whether they agreed or disagreed with the show's premise, rather than trying to figure out what the show was even about. A note must also be said about who actually went to this exhibition. While many biennials may attract a majority of visitors from around the world (but within the design field), Istanbul was decidedly attended by locals. The organizers and the curators knew well that the Istanbul Design Biennial, this being the third iteration, is mostly attended by Turkish residents. The country’s recent political situation has only exasperated this point. Some estimates put Turkey’s tourism numbers down by over 30% in the past year. At the same time, Turkey has taken on more than 2.5 million refugees from Syria. And though it may be hard to quantify exactly who is coming to the show, these facts felt somewhat fitting as part of Are We Human? The thoughts of shifting populations, global economic and political systems, all enforced the thesis of the unrelenting impact of humans on the world as a whole. While short in length, Are We Human? The Design of the Species 2 seconds, 2 days, 2 years, 200 years, 200,000 years, was big on vision. By just asking “are we human?” it opened up a dialogue that could be as short as “yes” or considerably protracted. In either case, it put forward that the key to any discussion of this topic is a relationship to, and the act of, design. In effect, it raised the discourse of design above mere products and objects while grounding it in the very fabric of humanity.
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#NotMyAIA

UPDATED: Architects continue to denounce AIA, AN has collected outcry here
Architects, architecture firms, and advocacy groups continue to denounce the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and more specifically, AIA CEO Robert Ivy over a tone-deaf post-election memo issued by the figurehead pledging support for President-Elect Donald Trump’s so-called infrastructure initiatives. The memo, which used open-ended language to embrace the candidate’s pledge to embark on a $500 million infrastructure program, has been panned across the field for ignoring the openly racist and climate change-denying rhetoric propagated by the now-incoming administration. UPDATED: AIA pledges to work with Donald Trump, membership recoils. As a result, the statement—which stood in stark contrast to many of the AIA’s own stated social and environmental professional and policy goals—alienated and potentially endangered rank-and-file AIA membership, especially women and members of minority groups. UPDATE: Robert Ivy, executive vice president and CEO of the AIA, responds to post-election memo criticism. The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) has been collecting the outpouring of criticism and commentary over the last few days, as wave after wave of individuals, firms, and organizations continue to speak out against the AIA and Ivy, with a growing chorus calling for the CEO’s resignation. Attempts Monday night to quell the backlash have involved a flat-footed apology issued Satruday night as well as a more heartfelt video apology posted online by AIA National president Russ Davidson issued a recorded apology Monday night that has apparently fallen on deaf ears. Watch: Robert Ivy issues second apology for tone-deaf post-election memo See below for a selection of statements collected from comments on our Facebook posts and articles, as well as direct messages to the AN editorial team and public press releases. 
“Dear AIASF Members and Friends, The elected leadership of AIA San Francisco (AIASF) met this afternoon and dedicated a significant portion of its board meeting to discuss the post-election statement issued by Robert Ivy, FAIA, of AIA National, made without our input or knowledge, that purported to speak on behalf of its 89,000 members. As many of you have expressed to us over the past week, this message does not represent the view of our members, nor did it communicate the ethics or core values of the Institute. AIA National has since issued a video apology. AIASF is non-partisan and does not support candidates. We support policies. We would like to reassure our 2,300+ members in the Bay Area that we will continue to advocate for equity, diversity, inclusion, resilience, and for the advancement of the profession, built environment, and success of all citizens on behalf of its members. We remain dedicated to advancing equitable practice in the workplace and the communities we serve. We recognize that our environment and climate are changing, and resilience of the built environment and continued commitment to AIA’s 2030 initiatives are paramount to the continued success of our society. We are San Francisco, and are fortunate to practice in one of the most diverse and inclusive cities in the world. AIASF will continue to serve as the collective voice of progress, empathy, and inclusion, and urges AIA National to operate with the same considerations when it speaks on behalf of all members. AIASF is our organization – we are comprised of individual members, and our members contribute to our collective strength. We encourage you to reach out and join us with your thoughts – positive, negative, neutral – so that we may collect and share them with AIA National. Our first action is to convene a town hall meeting on December 2 from 3:30 to 5:00 PM at the AIASF headquarters office. With your input, we will craft an action plan designed to continue to affect positive change in our professional association, our community, and the built environment. In addition, please email membervoices@aiasf.org with your suggestions for how this organization can best respond to the challenges facing us as a community. We are here for you, and are committed to addressing your concerns.” #weareAIASF Aaron Jon Hyland, AIA 2016 AIASF President
   
“In the wake of the response by AIA members to AIA CEO Robert Ivy’s post-election statement, the Texas Society of Architects (TxA) would like to reaffirm our core values. Above all, TxA is committed to being the voice for Texas architecture, supporting the creation of safe, beautiful, and sustainable environments. Furthermore, TxA stands behind AIA’s stated Diversity and Inclusion Goals (see below). TxA acknowledges that much of the presidential campaign rhetoric, prior actions, and statements of the president-elect seem to be in contradiction to our core values and those of the AIA. We anticipate learning more about the intentions of the new administration in the coming weeks and months, and will support those policies aligned with our core values and speak out against those which are not. TxA and its membership will continue to promote the design of spaces that serve our communities and are inclusive, as well as continuing to seek greater diversity within the profession, no matter which political party is in the majority. Architects have an important role to play in designing and building a more prosperous, peaceful, and sustainable society for the future. We know architects of all political parties will continue to use their skills and voices to promote the highest ideals of design, as our aging infrastructure is renewed, as well as the ideals of our nation, including life, liberty, and justice for all.
  1. Civil rights The AIA supports the promotion of human and civil rights, the universal respect for human dignity, and the unbiased treatment of all persons in employment, civic, and business transactions.
  2. Diversity The AIA recognizes that diversity is a cultural ethos – a way of thinking or acting that fosters inclusion and enhances our membership, our profession, and the quality of life in our communities. Embracing this culture of diversity, all programs and initiatives of the AIA and its members shall reflect the society that we serve, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, physical abilities, or religious practices. The AIA supports the development of policies and programs that endeavor to ensure equal access to professional degrees in architecture for those who are underrepresented in our profession.
- Texas Society of Architects (link to original, full release here)
“Dear AIANY Members, The statement made post-election by AIA National on behalf of you, the largest chapter within its network of 89,000 members, pledged your support to an administration that many strongly denounce. The Board of Directors of AIA New York was not consulted by AIA National leadership prior to their decision to support President-Elect Trump’s yet undefined infrastructure agenda, and we do not condone their statement. The leadership of the New York Chapter would like to reassure our membership and extended community that we reject the violent rhetoric that has pervaded the recent presidential campaign and we oppose any association with it. We believe in inalienable rights, regardless of creed or nation of origin; gender or sexual orientation; language of birth or skin color. Architects, by training, are fundamentally committed to providing shelter and protecting the safety and wellbeing of all people. Civil dialogue, reciprocal respect, and the protection of human rights are essential to this activity and are vital characteristics of the profession. These principles are not only our human values; they underpin the practice of our profession. We believe in equity in design and its benefits to all, especially in the critically needed areas of affordable housing, safe schools, and accessibility. We will continue to espouse fair and ethical business practices throughout the building industry. And, we remain committed to mitigating climate change and protecting New Yorkers from its unavoidable consequences. We are fortunate that the New York Chapter functions in one of the most diverse and inclusive cities in the world. To this end, AIA New York is committing to increasing programming and exhibitions that promote a more inclusive America and address the needs, concerns and principles of you, our members. We are first and foremost a membership organization, and our members are our strength. As members, your insights will drive our future actions. We want to hear from you. Please email membervoices@aiany.org with your suggestions for how this organization can best respond to the challenges you see facing us as a community. We are committed to addressing your concerns. Sincerely, The Board of Directors American Institute of Architects New York Chapter” (link to original release here)
“As a national organization that has representation in each of the 50 United States, the AIA is in the unique position to frame a conversation among what is, no doubt, a politically diverse constituency.    While uniting as a nation immediately following this election may be too much to ask, we should be using every opportunity to have honest and open discussion—as difficult as that may be. We urge Robert Ivy and AIA leadership across the country to recognize the need for these important conversations and create space for them immediately—through gatherings, panels, online forums, lectures and other avenues. Architecture is a fundamentally discursive and collaborative discipline and as a diverse community of professionals we should seize the opportunity engage each other in dialogue.” - Basar Girit, Aleksey Lukyanov-Cherny, Wes Rozen and Bradley Samuels, Founding Partners, SITU Studio
“The AIA statement is the usual kind of response by a professional association after an election. But in this instance, it is part of the normalization of Donald Trump, which is a dangerous and deluded process. Trump is not the usual kind of American politician and we must not treat him as such. Architects must devise a different kind of response to make sure our values, priorities, and concerns are heard in Washington and around the country” - Clifford Pearson, Director of the USC School of Architecture’s American Academy in China
“As Hon. FAIA I am dishonoured by the AIA self-serving, and TOTALLY unnecessary statement.” - Phyllis Lambert
The United States is about to pass through what is perhaps its worst crisis since the Civil War. The First Amendment of our Constitution states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” The President-Elect, meanwhile, has promised to place a moratorium on the entry of Muslims into this country; he has incited racial hatred and has sanctioned sexual assault; he abhors dissent. His views pose a mortal threat to the liberal principles on which our social institutions—our schools and universities, our professional organizations and civic bodies—rest. His promises—yes, his promises—have compelled states such as New York and California to reaffirm their sacred obligations to their citizens. They have compelled schools and universities around the country to the same. It appears inevitable that the Trump presidency will cause a constitutional crisis once his tenure begins. That the AIA chose last week to offer a categorical pledge of loyalty to the President-Elect is beyond comprehension. It reminds me of similar pledges that the Confederation of German Architects made in Nazi Germany. That it did not consult its membership prior to issuing its memo makes me sad for this country, very sad. It suggests that some of us have already forgotten what it means to live in a democratic society. It also tells me that maybe, just maybe, some of us may not even care. The AIA’s actions represent a violation of its core mission, as the editorial board of The Architects’ Newspaper rightly and so courageously note. They represent a betrayal of trust to the AIA membership body. They have further endangered the lives of those which the incoming administration has demonized. They may also be illegal, especially if, as I anticipate, a constitutional crisis announces itself on January 20. Hatred in and of itself is ugly and dangerous. Hatred fueled by capitalism is a recipe for humanitarian disasters. Unconditional or even conditional cooperation with the incoming administration may destroy the AIA and do irreparable harm to the reputation of the architectural profession in this great country. The AIA's exposure to legal liability could well grow exponentially. The American Civil Liberties Union will be watching. Human rights groups will be watching. The eyes will be on the street.” - Nader Vossoughian, New York Institute of Technology
“What a remarkably missed opportunity. We live in a continuously evolving world and our role is to foster that evolution rather than to abet in the construction of a world that no longer exists. Rather than issuing empty but damaging statements, the AIA should sponsor a national conversation about the public possibilities and extraordinary relationships that architecture can generate.” - Sarah Whiting, Rice School of Architecture
“Dear Mr. Ivy, We were dismayed to read this week that, as members and supporters of the AIA, we had offered our unqualified support for President-Elect Trump and the 115th Congress. We are  ashamed that our professional organization decided that the prospect of public commissions for a very few of us was important enough to silence concerns about the specter of an anti-elitist society defined by racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and the denial of science. As members and supporters of the AIA and Equity in Architecture, we have worked hard to demonstrate that our profession, like our society at large, harbors systemic racial and gender biases that have real impacts upon our professional outcomes, and upon our firms’ bottom lines. This work demonstrates that our profession continues to overlook this systemic injustice at our own peril -- we are losing talent by failing to create healthy, equitable, meaningful and culturally diverse work environments for all professionals. Please recognize that, in word and in action, you perpetuated our profession’s white, male privilege when you offered the Institute’s support for a person known for promoting a worldview that threatens to pit us against one another on the basis of our race, gender, creed, or sexual orientation. These beliefs do not reflect who we are, nor do we believe that they reflect the core values we are responsible for upholding as a profession. These include: sustainability through dedication to climate action, promotion of domestic and global projects that are humane and socially just, and equity, diversity and inclusion in both practice and representation. Chancellor Merkel’s statement on the election, which declares that her country and ours share common values of “democracy, freedom, the respect for the law and the dignity of human beings, independent of their origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political position,” is exemplary as a way in which the AIA could have offered qualified support for the new administration on the basis of our values. Yes, we believe in infrastructure, but that belief is subsidiary to our belief that we have an important role to play in building a just, fair and transparent society. As architects, we are often tasked with working on behalf of many while in consultation with a powerful few. It is our responsibility to reflect and protect the communities that we serve, which often means advocating for those who haven’t been included in the decision-making process. We do not simply provide our clients with what they initially tell us they want to see, but instead work with them to envision a future in which they are their best selves and protect our planet for future generations. This is what architects do. This is the value that we provide, and the basis for our continued relevance. In offering our profession’s unequivocal support for the incoming administration, we believe that the AIA has fallen short of our duty to the communities that we serve. We have failed to speak truth to power, and have instead offered a willingness to capitulate to an unpardonable worldview because we are enticed by the pursuit of new commissions. We have countermanded years of hard work on our profession’s relevance and on equity within the profession with a statement that suggests that we are simply “yes”-people who rubber stamp the beliefs of those who pay our bills. We owe our society—and each other—better than this. In the very near-term, we would urge the AIA to establish an ongoing—and public—forum in which leaders from all levels of practice are invited to reflect upon the Institute's core values, and the value that our profession provides to society. This could be launched at the national plenary broadcast of the Center for Civic Leadership’s Forum on Friday, November 18th. In addition, we believe that the AIA must reaffirm that equity, diversity and inclusion is central to our professional mission. The upcoming Build America Summit on November 29 - 30th, hosted by AIA President Russ Davidson, affords our profession the opportunity to declare that we must renew and rebuild our country's social infrastructure upon the basis of mutual respect, empathy and concern for the health, safety and well-being of all who live in our communities. We would hope that this issue be addressed in the opening session on "Neglect, decline, and consequence," and featured in any policy recommendations that are delivered to the incoming administration. In the long term, we look forward to continuing to work with the AIA to foster and advocate for a profession that exemplifies sustainability, equity, diversity and inclusion by championing the communities that we serve. Equity is for Everyone. In solidarity, - Annelise Pitts, Assoc. AIA; Rosa Sheng, AIA; Lilian Asperin, AIA; Saskia Dennis-van Dijl; Julia V. Mandell, AIA, The Equity Alliance Note: These views solely represent our thoughts alone and do not represent that of any other individuals or groups who support our efforts as we cannot speak for them.”
“On November 9, 2016, the American Institute of Architects resigned itself to a cowardly position of economic and political subservience with its support of President-Elect Trump. The AIA’s refusal to take a principled stance on an incoming administration that galvanized support through hatred, divisiveness, and fear constitutes an abdication of its self-proclaimed responsibility to speak on behalf of architects and a contradiction of its own stated beliefs. We, the undersigned students of the Yale School of Architecture, unequivocally denounce the AIA’s endorsement of the new status quo. For too long, our profession has been complicit in giving form to landscapes of inequality and discrimination, and has itself been plagued by a history of racial and gender inequity. The AIA’s immediate and unquestioning pandering to the Trump administration threatens a continuation of our troubled past and demonstrates a willingness to pursue financial gain at the expense of our values. With the promise of renewed federal investment in infrastructure, the position of architects as conscientious stewards of the built environment has never been more important. We believe it is paramount for the AIA to protect and maintain the integrity, quality, and security of the built and natural environments at every level. The organization has long recognized climate change and touted “energy conservation... as well as aggressive development and harvesting of energy from renewable sources.” It professes a commitment to “the promotion of human and civil rights, the universal respect for human dignity, and the unbiased treatment of all persons in employment.” It claims to promote “design that engenders greater community health [as a] way to not only save costs, but to enhance the lives of individuals.” These principles must not bend to opportunism in the face of a new administration. If we are to unite in the best interest of America’s future, it will be with our values intact. We cannot afford to relinquish the agency of our craft to those who would use it for self-serving political gain. We have an ethical responsibility not to erect walls that divide, but to lay the foundation for a more unified, just, and safe society. We stand firmly behind the following principles, which we believe are greatly imperiled by the position of the AIA: We believe in the social value of architecture and the moral agency of architects. We believe human values are more important than material values. We will work to mitigate the effects of the built environment on climate change. We will resist individuals, institutions, and systems that exploit people and land for power and profit. We will continue our commitment to promoting equality and diversity within the profession. We will exclusively contribute to the creation of a built environment that is equal, just, and safe for all people.” - Students of the Yale School of Architecture
“Fellow Architects, this is a call to action. The AIA National statement is flawed in so many ways, and I am grateful to all of you for calling it out. By writing and sharing your opinion, you are taking action. This is the most important thing we must do now. In taking action, we must also do so smartly. Having been a Board Member of AIA Chicago in the past, and being connected with the broader AIA community ever since, I know, without a doubt, that the AIA statement is a case of a well-intended communication poorly executed. Today, we need AIA more than ever before. This is no time to pick the wrong fight. By confusing the goal to remain bipartisan with the urgent need to aggressively call out attention to such issues as 97% scientific consensus, the AIA is proving its own limitation. But remember, we are AIA. The ultimate responsibility to figure this out rests with us, the members. We have to take this into our own hands, get organized, and force the change we know is needed. This approach will strengthen all AIA efforts as an added benefit. Our grass roots coalition, Architects Advocate for Action on Climate Change, revolves around one specific topic for the sake of focus. However, now is the time for our platform to be adopted by any and all of you: I ask you to launch Architects Advocate for Action on Affordable Housing, Architects Advocate for Gender and Pay Equality, you name it. Take it and run with it. Your actions will speak louder than your words. With regard to Climate Change, we are facing an emergency. The President-elect has called human-caused climate change a hoax, has vowed to dismantle the Paris Agreement that sets targets to reverse the worst effects of global warming - which nearly 200 countries agreed to last December – and has tapped a climate-change skeptic to oversee the transition of the EPA. In order to get ready and organized to fight the impending assault on scientific consensus, healthy and livable communities, and reason, we urge you to join Architects Advocate for Action on Climate Change: www.architects-advocate.com. Today, there are over 150 architecture firms nationwide in our coalition, but we need 1,500. Fast. Architects Advocate for Action on Climate Change plans to send a letter to every U.S. Congress member, as well as the President-elect, detailing the case for needed Action on Climate Change, and imploring all elected officials to support the Paris Agreement. We plan to list the names of every supporting company on the letter. It is important to remember that only a minority of members of Congress, approximately one third, are denying climate science. The other two-thirds acknowledge the scientific consensus and already support action or are likely persuadable. There is a silver lining as a result of this election if we – the architecture profession - are ready to seize it. This can become the moment in time when we architects realized that being apolitical is no longer an option. Being political does not mean fueling the flames of partisanship, on the contrary. It means recognizing the urgent need to engage more effectively where decisions are made that affect us all. We can demonstrate what it means when citizens take their civic responsibilities seriously, and we can model the kind of behavior we wish to see in others. Onward, upward—by taking action now,” - Tom Jacobs, Architects Advocate for Action on Climate Change
“To members of AIA Chicago: The AIA Chicago Board of Directors wants to assure our members that we do not support the recent statement made by national AIA on November 10, which prematurely expressed the support of AIA’s 89,000 members for an unarticulated infrastructure agenda made by the incoming presidential administration. Further, we are committed to working with all of you to deepen our diversity and inclusion initiatives, and to continue the discussions that affect positive change on issues that are critical to our profession. We believe in and are dedicated to:
  • Supporting our members, our committee leaders, our board and our staff as we engage, educate and challenge our elected leaders locally, regionally and nationally on the issues faced by architects;
  • Assuring that the built environment addresses the realities of climate change;
  • Creating more equitable opportunities for all in our profession regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation;
  • Upholding our professional standards of creating spaces that are safe and promote equality for our clients and the public;
  • Building stronger and more resilient communities, including urban, suburban and rural areas in which our members practice and live.
AIA Chicago vows to continue work that is already underway to give all members a voice on how these goals can be achieved now and long into the future. To do this, we need all of you to continue to engage in the work of our chapter and continue to express your views and opinions. It is in working together that we can accomplish the most and make the greatest impact. Your voice will keep us moving forward. Respectfully, Dawn Schuette, FAIA 2016 Board President Matthew Dumich, AIA 2016 First Vice President 2017 Board President Anthony P. LoBello, AIA 2015 Board President Scott Rappe, AIA 2014 Board President” (link to original release here)
“Seen before. From my experience during the disintegration of values from former Yugoslavia, this does not look better for architects, artists and for everyone in general, not also for our kids that we have now in the U.S. Yet, there are ways of organizing that are sustaining the upcoming pressure of sheer suspense as the U.S. President-Elect was offering without explanation. Many of us experienced this suspense in Yugoslavia during the 1990s (during Clinton administration and Milosevic dictatorship). At the time, as architects without jobs nor future, we figured ways how to go through it together in all our distinctions. It is the human interaction that matters first and always. For my American friends and colleagues, please do not think that the system will protect you. It will not in this administration. It will only exacerbate the divide between architectural culture and [economic] status to the point of being unmanageable at some point, for both. So we have a lot of work to do together, and skill set of architecture can play a large role to go through this new political situation. As Winston Churchill said: 'If you are going through Hell, keep going.'” - Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, NAO
“Dear Mr. Ivy: On behalf of the Boston Society of Architects/AIA I am writing to share our shock and disappointment with last week’s post-election statement expressing the Institute’s willingness to work with Presidentelect Trump and members of the 115th Congress. While we support the need for design professionals and AIA members to work together to move the country forward, and the country’s need to address failing infrastructure, this statement fails to acknowledge the serious contradictions between the Trump campaign and the AIA’s own mission and values. The conciliatory and congratulatory tone of last week’s message in response to the election is at odds with the very goals and values articulated by the AIA. We agree with the Architect’s Newspaper. It would be irresponsible and reprehensible to “ignore the role design and designers could play in instituting and perpetuating the inequality inherent in the racist patriarchy Trump’s ideology embodies.” We wish to reaffirm our commitment to AIA’s goals of Diversity and Inclusion, Sustainability, and Resiliency, and the fundamental belief that architects have the skills and resources to serve the greater needs of our communities. We believe this is the message we should be sending to both Presidentelect Trump and the 115th Congress. Sincerely, Tamara Roy AIA President, Boston Society of Architects/AIA” (link to original release here)
"After taking a few days off to regroup and process what our work means in the face of a Trump presidency, QSPACE is now ready to act. AIA CEO Robert Ivy’s comments that "The AIA and its 89,000 members are committed to working with president-elect Trump" are unnecessary, tone deaf, and an insult to to marginalized groups within the architectural field. We call on Robert Ivy and the AIA to clarify their statement and to explain how they will work with the Trump administration in compliance with their own ethics policies. Rule 1.401 states “Members shall not discriminate in their professional activities on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or sexual orientation.” Donald Trump has proven time and time again that he does not intend to run a country that treats people equally. And how will the AIA still advocate for sustainability (Rule E.S. 6.3) with a president who doesn’t believe in climate change? Will the AIA address the treatment of architects who have been cheated out of pay by the Trump Organization as they pledge architects’ commitment to work with him as President? We are scared. We are angry. We are determined. We will speak out. We will act. We have a lot to of work to do. Years of progress for the LGBTQ community under Obama are under threat. As LGBTQ people, we must actively lift up the most vulnerable members of our community: transgender people, people of color, immigrants, women, queer people in less-tolerant demographics, and other folks marginalized by Trump. As architects, we must promise to design a more inclusive future for all. We will organize action in cities while simultaneously reaching out to rural areas and the spaces in between. We will leverage the intersection of queer identity and architecture to make political change. QSPACE takes our promise of organized and collective action seriously― look out for events in the coming weeks and months. And as always, reach out to us for support or with idea." - QSPACE (Link to original statement here)
"Full disclosure, I'm not an AIA member. I'm the director of SCI-Arc and I cannot assume that everybody thinks in the same way in our school , so my comments are coming from my own points of view. I am disturbed that the leadership of the AIA decided to speak on behalf of its entire 89,000 member constituency, and by implication architects in general, without consultation and public debate. Beyond the process by which it was released, I thought the statement itself was insensitive and tone-deaf to the tensions of this moment in American history. It seemed overly focused on commercial opportunities and blind to other demands for service to the public (which incidentally is an entire section of the AIA's own code of ethics). Architecture is not just a business. It is also a way of representing in built form what we think is important. It is a platform for questioning what we thought was important in the past. It is a way of working that enables necessary conversations in the present. If the AIA becomes nothing more than a lobbyist for the commercial interests of the largest corporate architectural practices, architects should question what their membership in the AIA actually means. If we've learned anything during this election, it's that words matter more than ever. Speaking to each other matters more than ever. Thinking about the world we build for ourselves and future generations matters more than ever. The discipline of architecture is thousands of years old, but architecture has been professionalized for less than two hundred (the AIA was founded in 1857). Because of the AIA's relative youth compared to the entire history of architecture, we can only assume that what it is and what it does is still very much up for debate." Hernan Diaz Alonso, Dean of Southern California Institute of Architecture
“I am not a practicing architect, but I found the AIA’s rapid embrace of Donald Trump’s infrastructure program to be deeply troubling. We have few details of this program, but all of the campaign rhetoric thus far suggests that this “infrastructure” program is nothing short of a massive attempt to privatize public resources and amenities, akin to this administration’s recent proposals to replace Medicaid with a privatized voucher system. Rather than align ourselves with such efforts – ones likely to increase inequality, concentrate wealth, take indigenous land, and speed up climate change– we must now all press hard for maintaining infrastructure as a public amenity, as a necessary precondition for good architecture, and as something we cannot release to corporate control.” - Meredith TenHoor, Associate Professor and Undergraduate History-Theory Coordinator, Pratt Institute School of Architecture
“At this time when the country is notably divided and exploring many paths forward, AIA New York / Center for Architecture remains dedicated to our core values, which include promoting architecture and cities that are equitable, diverse, resilient and committed to improving quality of life in our communities. We are respectful and supportive of the statements made by AIA National and open to working with a range of constituents to support infrastructure initiatives and the betterment of the built environment.” – Benjamin Prosky, New York AIA / Center for Architecture
"OK, fine, let’s imagine that a certain degree of pragmatism might guide some decisions right now - that Trump might surprise us and take a more functional problem-solving approach to investing in public infrastructure. The problem for us is that problem-solving or business smartness without ethics, and without respect for human dignity, and without a sensibility towards social justice... is simply just business. The AIA should not consider this business-as-usual and remain politically neutral. To maintain impartiality in face of today’s social and economic injustices is to be complicit with those institutions that perpetuate what is ethically and morally wrong. Where was the AIA during Trump’s campaign’s denigration of immigrants, the overt drive for more privatization at the expense of our collective assets, and the proposal of building a border wall? This should have been the best time for our profession to take a position about what is ethically and morally wrong: That xenophobia is wrong, that inequality is wrong, that building border walls is wrong. OK, fine, as a profession we have never been that interested in considering what is ethically and morally wrong. Ask Albert Speer. The commission is all we want. So we say: Let’s engage this commission because it is about public infrastructure, and if we don’t, someone will (this has always been our excuse to ignore ethics). But have we asked how Trump will pay for his public extravagance? Are tax cuts for the very wealthy and the erosion of our social safety net the building blocks for his investment in public infrastructure? Are we that naïve? Here is where the AIA needs to take an even more political position: we need to say it aloud: Taxes are our civic duty, because they are the basis for realizing our collective commitments and shared interests. We also need to demand a more enlightened government to invest this revenue smartly and efficiently – our bureaucracies need to be re-designed. The future of our cities depends on this double project of progressive taxation and public imagination. So, if the AIA will extend its ‘neutral’ hand to Trump –please - it should also demand that corporate power and the plutocrats of this country pay more taxes, much more than many of us, as they have profited exorbitantly. The most socially-inspired urbanizations in the world, such as Barcelona, Spain, in the 80’s and 90’s or Medellin, Colombia, in the 2000’s, emerged from agendas committed to progressive taxation, and smart, efficient public management to cultivate inclusive public infrastructure. Those were instances when visionary politicians brought ethics and architecture together, giving shape to an urbanism of social justice." - Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman / Estudio Teddy Cruz + Forman
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Coasting

Studio Gang’s research-based approach to ecological design rethinks the shape of urban waterfronts

As Studio Gang gains respect as an office that builds formally and programmatically ambitious projects, one aspect in particular has helped the firm continue to be a major force: It is an office that does its homework. Every project that the studio does is accompanied by a body of research as well as collaborations with experts often outside of architecture. “As architects, we think of our role as being that of the translator,” explained Claire Cahan, design director at Studio Gang. “Early on in the project we bring in experts from interdisciplinary fields to discuss the past, present, and future conditions of a site. Our job is to ask questions and translate ideas between disciplines.” This becomes particularly visible in projects that involve water ecologies.

After a yearlong study in collaboration with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), the studio released Reverse Effect (2011). The book explored urban and ecological implications of severing the link between the Chicago River and the Mississippi River, effectively reversing the flow of the Chicago River to its original direction (something that has actually happened three times). The book presented a new Chicago that embraced a reshaped river as part of its cultural and civic space.

“We’re interested in the intersection between built and natural environments,” said Cahan about the office’s broader vision and approach. “While building projects typically have distinct property lines and boundaries, natural systems often intersect with property lines in a fluid way. Through research, which includes conversation, mapping, and analysis, we seek to understand the natural, cultural, economic conditions far beyond a property line.”

A similar study, in collaboration with Milwaukee-based Applied Ecological Services and Edgewater Resources, looked at the 1,000-acre Milwaukee harbor. The Edge Effect master plan set out to establish a framework and logic for Milwaukee’s waterfront development. The master plan envisions relocating the current active inner harbor to a new outer harbor, while bringing the city to the water’s edge. The process would include softening the coastline to achieve a more complete and sustainable ecosystem by learning from stable natural coastlines and reefs. This concept is already being deployed in the Studio Gang–designed improvements to Chicago’s Northerly Island, which has a similar geographic situation.

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BIG P

Bjarke Ingels, Kengo Kuma, and Dominique Perrault on board for Paris subway overhaul
Danish studio Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has been award the commission to design a subway station in Paris. Working with local firm Silvio d’Ascia Architecture, BIG has designed the Pont de Bondy station situated northwest of Paris. The station will one of 68 new stations which will form the Grand Paris Express—a new infrastructure project in the French capital which is due to add 124 miles of rail to the existing subway network. Clad in terra-cotta, the looped "P"-shape design bears an orthogonal frame in section and spans the Ourcq canal, providing a sheltered walkway for pedestrians. Inside the P's counter will be the station area itself, meanwhile the other main entranceway extends along the canal's banks. This will elegantly connect with the sidewalk while passing under the existing tram and road bridge. Keeping with the typographic theme, "PONT DE BONDY" appears to be emblazoned on the structure in BIG's distinctive typeface. The Pont de Body station will be a major part of the Grand Paris Express, being one of nine special "emblematic stations" throughout the new subway network. Conceived by the Société du Grand Paris (a public agency for industrial and commercial transport development), the scheme aims to reduce travel times, link business districts with each other and the center of Paris, as well as connect airports Charles de Gaulle, Orly, and Le Bourget. BIG and Silvio d’Ascia Architecture's station will be part of Line 15, a ring route surrounding Paris, and be the main access point for the business hub that joins the Bondy, Bobigny, and Noisy-le-Sec districts. Other notable architects such as Kengo Kuma and Dominique Perrault are also part of the scheme, with both, like BIG, having won the commission to design a business district node. Kengo Kuma Associates has designed the Gare Saint-Denis Pleyel station located north of Paris and Dominique Perrault Architecture has designed the Gare Villejuif Institut Gustave-Roussy situated south of the capital. Both stations will be on the Line 15 ring route and connect to Pont de Bondy.
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Let That Sink In

Developers add nursery school with playful multipurpose kitchen to Brooklyn development

Prospect-Lefferts Gardens was once referred to by locals as “Brooklyn’s best-kept secret.” Now, developments—many of which offer vistas across Prospect Park and onto downtown Manhattan—are shooting up as the area surges in popularity. One of those is The Parkline at 626 Flatbush Avenue between Fenimore and Hawthorne streets.

The 23-story building, backed by developer Hudson Inc., is the tallest in the neighborhood. It offers 254 units as part of a mixed-income “80/20” scheme (a development that is granted tax-exempt financing when at least 20 percent of the units are reserved for low-income earners).

Aside from the rental units, a restaurant with a glazed facade can be found on the ground floor, along with a bookstore. As per the “Community Facility” zoning code of the area, Hudson decided to include a school—an expansion of the nearby Maple Street School—into the development.

“We could easily have opted for a doctor’s office,” said principal Alison Novak. “Frankly, a doctor’s office might have paid more for the space. But having a nursery school, especially one based in the neighborhood with a stellar reputation, was more appealing in part because it is a more attractive use to residents of the building. We also recognized that it is more difficult to locate a school than a doctor’s office, and we had an opportunity to support a neighborhood institution.”

Maple Street School is located on the second floor of The Parkline and has been open since September. The preschool, designed by Brooklyn-based studios Barker Freeman Design Office architects and 4|MATIV, offers three classrooms on the west side, all connected in a linear fashion through sliding timber doors. Holding approximately 16 children each, the classrooms can open up to form larger spaces with adjacent rooms when needed.

Even when closed, however, the doors facilitate connections between classrooms. Windows, placed at varying heights and shapes, can be found. Novak remarked how her daughter, who attends the school, interacts with friends on the other side, often knocking on and peering through the low-level windows. Around the north and west perimeter, large windows have also been included.

Inside each classroom, children have access to bathrooms and “play-sinks.” Alexandra Barker of Barker Freeman described how the sinks connect the inside and outside of the bathrooms. “The play-sinks store toys where the children can play, but on the other side is where they can wash after going to the bathroom,” said Barker. Situated in the classrooms themselves, the bespoke bathrooms prevent children from wandering astray when they need to go.

Another feature is a multipurpose kitchen area. Priya Patel of 4|MATIV said that a “big part of the curriculum is to teach kids through cooking.” Barker elaborated: “It’s a diverse space: At one level it acts as a kitchen-cafe area, whereas on another level kids can climb up and play. It also doubles up as an informal performance space and, due to its location, a gathering point that the whole school has access to. It was actually a big deal to decide that this was a specific space that wasn’t just the classrooms or lobby.”

Within this space, and indeed throughout much of the school, maple timber has been employed for flooring, cabinets, and other furniture, as well as a “peg board” (a board with moveable pegs that children can play with in the lobby when being dropped off or collected). With its white interior walls—left intentionally blank so children can display their artwork on them—and generous amounts of daylight, the school has a Scandinavian feel to it. “We wanted to materially represent Maple Street,” said Barker. “This was a big choice to use maple flooring, as opposed to something that would have perhaps been easier.”

Resources

Engineered Maple flooring: Kährs Contractors: Bolt Construction Developer: The Hudson Companies Design Architects: Barker Freeman Design Office 4|Mativ Design Studio
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Fluid Plans

This master plan calls for a brand new city to alleviate China’s water issues

Chicago-based UrbanLab has a knack for combining water infrastructure with architecture and landscape to find new urban forms. In the 2014 Venice Biennale, the studio presented the Free Water District (FWD), an urban-scale multiuse, multi-environment development that would encourage industry through a controlled, but free, use of Great Lakes water. In its latest commission, UrbanLab has been asked to address an even more complex urban situation in China.

The Yangming Archipelago in Changde, Hunan, China, will be a new district that will accommodate 600,000 people in five square miles. Changde is part of a larger program in China to implement large water-infrastructure projects in order to improve urban water quality. At the heart of the project is an island-filled lake, which will act as an ecological, as well as a social and cultural space. The Yangming Archipelago also includes a dense system of public transportation and housing, integrated into eco-boulevards.

Eco-boulevards, a concept that can be found in many of the studio’s proposals, put water at the center of urban improvement. The idea is based on case-by-base performance-based infrastructural landscapes. These rich boulevards would come in many forms and sizes, but they would all function as more than a space for vehicular movement, providing social, ecological, and energy amenities. The boulevards would traverse the city with integrated water-filtration and water-retention technologies,a space for vehicular movement, providing social, ecological, and energy amenities. The boulevards would traverse the city with integrated water-filtration and water-retention technologies, a space for vehicular movement, providing social, ecological, and energy amenities. The boulevards would traverse the city with integrated water-filtration and water-retention technologies, both passive and active. The stitching of nature to the larger urban environment would connect formerly disparate parts of the city with a common civic space.