Posts tagged with "MTWTF":

Placeholder Alt Text

nARCHITECTS’ Equal Rights Heritage Center frames the history around it

The first new civic building in Auburn, New York, in 40 years lets visitors explore the city’s place in the history of civil rights movements. The nARCHITECTS-designed Equal Rights Heritage Center, now open to the public, frames views of surrounding landmarks to expand the reach of the center to the building's historic context. What began as a request for proposal from the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation and the City of Auburn for a Finger Lakes–region welcome center in 2017 quickly snowballed in importance, according to nARCHITECTS principal Eric Bunge. In light of the rapidly changing national political climate, the governor’s office reoriented the project to focus on New York’s progressive history as a leader in promoting equal rights.  The center specifically focuses on women's rights, the abolition of slavery, civil rights, and the more recent efforts for LGBTQ rights. The 7,500-square-foot, $10 million Heritage Center opened to the public on November 13, 2018, in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, local officials, and Pauline Copes Johnson, the great-great-grandniece of Harriet Tubman. A statue of the historic abolitionist and activist stands to the south of the new building. The single-story Heritage Center sits smack-dab between several historic landmarks; the building is directly across the street from the Memorial City Hall, is next to the William H. Seward House Museum, and is in the city’s South Street National Register District. A corbelled, pink brick facade was used to better blend the building into the mainly federal-style neighborhood. Inside, the building’s structure was left exposed. Board-formed concrete walls and glulam beams (which appear to continue past the confines of the center thanks to clever mirror placement) were left exposed to open up the interior as much as possible. Radiant geothermal heating emanates up through the terrazzo flooring, eliminating the need for a bulky overhead HVAC system. Double, sometimes triple, height windows frame views of the surrounding city, and the building’s three main interconnected volumes were each rotated to maximize the range of views. Graphic design studio MTWTF worked with nARCHITECTS to co-design the exhibition and wayfinding across the building’s figure-8 circulation path, and the nARCHITECTS-led team pulled double duty as the Heritage Center’s curator. Zones are organized by medium rather than topic, and the center uses posters, videos, recordings, games, a large interactive map, portraits, and other materials to chart the history of equal rights in New York State. But the center will hopefully become the first stop in a broader historical tour of the region for visitors, said Bunge, including the local landmarks visible from the building, and that the “context is content.” Siting the Heritage Center was also an issue for the design team, as the building rose on what was formerly a municipal parking lot. Although there’s a parking garage directly across the street, the community raised concerns over the potential loss of parking at the site. Ultimately, nARCHITECTS chose to exclude any on-site parking to encourage a pedestrian-friendly scheme and included a new public plaza to the center’s east. Construction took only nine months and the project team was able to come in 20 percent under budget. Interested in visiting? Admission is free, and the center is open from 10:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. daily.
Placeholder Alt Text

It’s the last weekend to see Utopia—Dystopia at A/D/O

This is the last weekend to see the exhibition Utopia—Dystopia at the A/D/O space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Designed by Inaba Williams with MTWTF, the show questions whether we must choose between utopia or dystopia as technology radically alters the world around us and the ways that we belong in it. "The prevailing mindset is that technology is leading us toward either a great human revolution or certain social collapse. But we aren’t tied to one way of seeing the world. Other realities besides this one are possible and designers offer alternative ideas that change our beliefs of how it has to be." Staged in four categories: "Identity, Territory, Interface, and Action," the exhibition "aims to prompt discussions about what kinds of environments designers will create in order for us to gain a different perspective about the future uses of technology." Utopia—Dystopia is on view through May 3 at the recently opened A/D/O space at 29 Norman St. in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, which also features a coffee shop, restaurant, and co-working spaces alongside exhibitions and installations.

Identity

To be human is to be enhanced by technology. What are the right steps to exceed the limits of the human body in order for people to become their future selves?

Territory

With the help of technology, nature itself can be designed. Can we make nature resilient to the harmful effects of technology, rather than the other way around?

Territory

With the help of technology, nature itself can be designed. Can we make nature resilient to the harmful effects of technology, rather than the other way around?

Action

Automation reduces the number of actions we perform. As actions become more frictionless and disconnected from the laws of physics, what kinds of human gestures will designers propose to accomplish physical tasks—from waking up to finding a spouse?

Placeholder Alt Text

GSAPP’s House Housing exhibit comes to The Schindler House

Like many cities across the country, Los Angeles is suffering from a chronic shortage of housing, period. So, it's quite timely that House Housing: An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate in Thirty­ One Episodes is set to arrive April 9. The exhibition, to be held at the Schindler House's MAK Center, showcases recently published research from the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University. The product of a multi-year research project, House Housing is being published as a book and traveling exhibition, both of the same name and designed by New York City-based graphic design studio MTWTF. The research analyzes contemporary American housing typologies through the lens of design, policy, and finance, aiming to elucidate the interdependency between these topics in American housing today. The exhibition comes to Los Angeles after being exhibited at the recent architecture biennales in Venice and Chicago as well as in conjunction with the Wohnungsfrage ("The Housing Question") project at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin.  The opening event is scheduled for Saturday April 9 from 3-5pm and will be accompanied by a panel discussion moderated by LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne featuring Juliana Maxim, Julie Eizenberg and Andrew Wiese, to be followed by a free public reception. The exhibition runs through May 8th.
Placeholder Alt Text

CUP Tools Up

Two years ago, the Brooklyn-based Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) asked housing advocates and community groups what educational tools they needed the most. The topic of affordable housing was at the top of the list, so designers set to work devising a handy way to help New Yorkers comprehend the much-debated subject. “Affordable housing is a term that has been thrown around for a long time,” said CUP staff member John Mangin. “A lot of people are suspicious of it, it is complicated, and the technical meaning behind it is not always apparent when you hear the word.” CUP’s answer is a red plastic kit of parts called the Affordable Housing Toolkit. Inside the box is a colorful felt chart designed for workshops where housing advocates, community organizers, developers, and educational institutions can use bright squares and dots to help participants engage in a conversation about current projects—and whether those are actually affordable for residents in need. Also included is a guidebook outlining the basics of affordable housing, as well as access to an online map that displays statistics and income demographics in different neighborhoods. (The kit is available for purchase on a sliding rate scale, while the map and the book can be accessed for free.) Developed with graphic design studio MTWTF, the Pratt Center for Community and Economic Development, and Brooklyn-based advocacy group Fifth Avenue Committee, the project aims to get New Yorkers to ask the question: “Affordable to whom?”  According to CUP Executive Director Christine Gaspar, there is a need for a certain level of mutual understanding in order to be able to start a deeper conversation. “Hopefully the toolkit will let individuals throughout the city understand how affordable housing works. This means that they can advocate in their own community, talk to elected officials, and hold them accountable to the decisions they make,” Gaspar said. Dave Powell, a tenant organizer, stressed that CUP’s pedagogic and visual approach is necessary, since the finer points of housing policy are rarely conveyed to ordinary citizens. “CUP helps us deconstruct our environment in order to advocate for social justice––which we are unable to do simply by reading through hundreds of tax pages from the planning department.” Last Friday, a group of young community organizers gathered for one of CUP’s first workshops with the new toolkit. Among the participants was coordinator Katie Goldstein from tenant-rights group Tenants & Neighbors. She said her citywide organization will use the felt chart to involve residents in a discussion about broader policy trends. “It will help us figure out what are the right targets for us to organize against and how to preserve affordable housing for the long term,” she told AN, adding that the interactive quality of the toolkit is what she appreciates the most. At a time when one in 20 New Yorkers lives in public housing and a third of the city’s residents spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing, the toolkit might perhaps be better called a first-aid kit. Fortunately, this effort is just the first in CUP’s program called Envisioning Development Toolkits, which aims to demystify controversial and confusing concepts in New York City land use. Upcoming curatives focus on zoning law and the city’s exhaustive development review process, the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.