Posts tagged with "Teddy Cruz":

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Protestors shut down the New Museum’s IdeasCity Bronx

IdeasCity Bronx, a festival organized by the New Museum and scheduled for this past Saturday, was canceled shortly after the programming began. Held at Concrete Plant Park on the Bronx River, the festival was supposed to feature discussions, performances, and workshops by artists, architects, and local community organizations as a way to address “the physical, social, and economic forces that define the Bronx and other cities.” Themed “New Ecologies 3755,” many of the discussions were to be centered around the effects of global climate change but also how they relate to Bronx communities, but plans were derailed after protesters intervened. During the event’s opening talk by V. Mitch McEwen, the festival’s curator, a group of activists to the side of the stage interrupted the proceedings with a speech of their own, leading to about 30 minutes of heated back-and-forth between the protesters and the scheduled speakers, ultimately ending with the day’s events being canceled. Prior to the festival’s commencement, a few Bronx grassroots organizations scheduled to participate, including DreamYard, Take Back the Bronx, and No New Jails, had already withdrawn. Other groups, such as Bronx-based arts organization Hydro Punk, had declined the offer to participate from the beginning. During her opening remarks, McEwen passed the microphone to Tiara Torres, one of the protesters from Hydro Punk, who stated, “New Museum has never invested anything into the Bronx. This is a one-day event. They are not contributing any long term financial backing or support into any of the ideas that come from today.” According to Hyperallergic, the activist went on to say that they had declined to participate after finding out that the events were being promoted by the real-estate company South Bronx Luxury. McEwen told AN that the organization had received no financial support from real estate developers. Highlights from the event were supposed to include a keynote discussion by Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman, but after attempting to speak during the protesters’ interruptions, Cruz and Forman did not continue with their presentation. But the site was the biggest point of tension, to be sure. Concrete Plant Park is located in the Southern Boulevard part of the Bronx, a neighborhood that activists say is actively being threatened by “gentrification-driven rezoning.” McEwen explained to AN that the location wasn’t the first choice to begin with. Since its opening in 2011, IdeasCity New York was staged across from the New Museum in Manhattan along the Bowery, but with ongoing conversations surrounding new ideas in ecology, the Bronx seemed like a better fit. McEwen said, “we started to map out sites on the Bronx River and other waterways believing that this borough defined by waterways is more complex and robust than Manhattan.” They had anticipated the site to be located near the Soundview Ferry Terminal, but according to McEwen, they were “strongly encouraged to move” by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. “We should not have been in [Concrete Plant Park],” she said, while also agreeing that many of the protester’s points were “brilliant and spot-on” and were even “aligned with the framework of how we organized IdeasCity” to begin with. 
 
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The DreamYard Project will no longer be participating in IdeasCity Bronx—based on the lack of clarity, collaboration and communication in the planning of IdeasCity Bronx, as well as the compromised integrity of DreamYard’s community-centered values. . Three months ago, we were approached by IdeasCity for the opportunity to uplift our young people and community’s work around Arts and Activism. We were asked to collaborate in organizing a panel discussion, a student performance and community-based organization /activism booths; since then, a small team of DreamYard staff members have worked diligently to organize these parts of the event, and ensure fair compensation for our young people and representing CBOs that we have asked to get involved in this event. DreamYard staff members initially created a panel discussion on the relationship between politics and grassroots movement, “Who’s Got the Power?” which centered a young DreamYard participant, and a DreamYard alumna and current staff member. Since then, IdeasCity renamed the panel discussion we were organizing, shifted the original intention of the discussion (shaped by intentional labor of Black Indigenous Queer Femmes), and was essentially handed over to another party who was not involved in the concept, the process, nor the work we do and are seeking to uplift. We do not feel safe having our young people participate, nor having DreamYard’s name further implicated in what has turned out not to be a collaboration, but something in which DreamYard’s name has seemingly been used as merely a means to an end. . We entered this collaboration in good faith, and since then have been made aware of the missteps inherent in the planning of IdeasCity. Based on the feedback from the community as well as the challenges in planning this event, we have decided not to participate in IdeasCity Bronx. . <Continued in comments>

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In a public statement McEwen made on Twitter, she ends with a series of questions aimed to open dialogue and to keep the conversation going. “NYC Parks Department—I have no words,” she asks, “what would a functional democratic process around public space look like for New York City?” She urges for a “radical imagining” of the spaces in which we exchange knowledge outside of the academic institution, and of a place where the pain expressed by the protestors can “coexist in dialogue with the technical, creative, and spatial work involved in change.” In a statement shared via email, the New Museum told AN:
We wholeheartedly support V. Mitch McEwen’s curatorial vision for IdeasCity over the past year, and the ciphers and convenings that have advanced thinking in significant directions. We believe it is more important than ever to continue to provide platforms for productive dialogue, debate, and healing in a challenging and divided world. Knowing this can only happen through deeper engagement, proximity, authentic and time-tested connectivity, and sustained commitment, IdeasCity will continue to organize events in the hope that, going forward, groups of every type can come together, voicing differences, but collaborating on possible futures.
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American Academy of Arts & Letters Announces 2013 Architecture Award Winners

arts_and_letters_01 The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced its 2013 architecture awards recipients. The winners were chosen from a group of 32 individuals and practices nominated by Academy members. An exhibition of their work will be on display at the Audubon Terrace in New York City from May 16 to June 9, 2013. The Academy’s architecture awards program was established in conjunction with the 1955 inauguration of the annual Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture, which is presented to a leading architect from any country who has made a noteworthy contribution to architecture as an art. Alberto Campo Baeza from Madrid, Spain won the $5000 prize this year. He has practiced and taught architecture for over 35 years at prominent universities in the U.S. and abroad. He turns architecture into art through utilizing timeless forms. Campo Baeza received the 2013 Heinrich Tessenow Gold Metal. Two Arts and Letters Awards of $7500 recognizing American architects whose work holds a strong personal bearing were presented to Teddy Cruz of San Diego, California and Thomas Phifer of New York. Teddy Cruz is an architect, academic, and activist who investigates the politics and economics that compel urban conflict. Thomas Phifer, who has led his own New York City practice since 1996, blends the beauty and simplicity of Modernism with awareness of the natural environment. Barry Bergdoll and Sanford Kwinter of New York each won an Arts and Letters Award of $7500 given to Americans exploring ideas in architecture using any method of expression. Barry Bergdoll, a 19th- and 20th-century architectural history scholar, is the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art. Sanford Kwinter is a witer, editor, and Professor of Architectural Theory and Criticism at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he co-directs the Master in Design Studies program.
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The Burbs Unbound

The suburbs are in a sorry state—rampant foreclosures, derelict downtowns, and anyone under 35 fleeing for their lives. But as we’ve reported in a look at Long Island, the burbs are now seeing the stirrings of a smart-growth insurrection as town officials try to find a sustainable way to the future. Helping lead the charge, the Long Island Index is today announcing the launch of Build a Better Burb, an open ideas competition to rethink what the suburbs can be. They want us to dream big—and they’re dangling $22,500 in prizes for the boldest solutions for retrofitting Long Island's acres of “underperforming asphalt.” As Nancy Rauch Douzinas, president of the Rauch Foundation and publisher of the Long Island Index, put it in a statement: “The postwar ‘first’ suburbs, exemplified nationwide by Long Island’s own Levittown, are now pushing sixty years old and the needs of these communities have changed dramatically over the years. Now is the moment to address contemporary challenges by retrofitting the prewar suburban landscape of small towns and train transit that languished during decades of construction of new highways, shopping malls, gated subdivisions, and far-flung office parks.” The jury includes Teddy Cruz, Allison Arieff, June Williamson, Daniel D’Orca, Rob Lane, Paul Lukez, and other planners, urban designers, and architects. Register by June 21; winners will be announced in September.
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Get Set, Go, Party

Yesterday, we posted the feature from our current California issue, "On Their Mark," about a new show at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego highlighting seven local firms. While sending over the pictures of the exhibition, Mix: Nine San Diego Architects and Designers, that went into our slideshow, the fine folks at MCASD also sent along these nice photos from the opening party, which were taken by Lauren Radack. In case, like us, you couldn't make it. (And if you know anyone in these photos we may not have mentioned, do tell).
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Beyond Pruitt-Igoe

The University of Pennsylvania School of Design sought to bring social equity back into architectural discourse last weekend with a conference called “Unspoken Borders: The Ecologies of Inequality,” hosted by the Black Student Alliance. Architects have been skittish about addressing large-scale social issues ever since the profession’s notorious Pruitt-Igoe-style failures in the 1960’s, said presenter Craig Wilkins. Since then, he added, the predominant attitude among architects has been, “‘We’re not doing that again. They got mad at us the last time we did that!’” One of the most impassioned exceptions to that rule is architect Teddy Cruz, who gave the conference’s keynote speech on April 4th. Cruz described how the flows of people and goods across the US-Mexico border manifest the stark inequities between the two countries: people go north into San Diego; garbage goes south to Tijuana. His firm, Estudio Teddy Cruz, is turning those flows from signs of the problem into solutions to it, by finding ways to re-use building waste. So leftover garage doors from California, for example, become the walls of cheap housing for the Mexican poor. To institutionalize this kind of recycling, he has started convincing foreign factories in Tijuana to tweak their systems of production so that their byproducts can be re-used as scaffolding. Participants at design conferences often call for more “interdisciplinary collaboration,” but it is rare for such talk to yield anything other than more talk. So it was especially refreshing to hear Maurice Cox, director of the National Endowment for the Arts, present some actual collaborative approaches to pressing social problems. “One in every 13 houses in Cleveland is vacant and they’re being vandalized,” he said. Pointing out that foreclosures have ripple effects for the communities they’re in, Cox asked, “What can design do for communities that have been devastated by high foreclosure?” In search of an answer, he’s putting together a team of architects, landscape architects, public artists, preservationists, land use attorneys, and developers. Instead of dealing individually with each foreclosed house, they’ll be looking for solutions at the block and district-scale, and ultimately convening with policy makers to put those solutions into action. Amidst the discussion of what designers can do about social inequities, a related question emerged: should design education address the root causes of those inequities? “There’s no lack of design-build studios going out to poor neighborhoods to build houses, but there’s no discussion [in architecture school] of why those neighborhoods exist,” said architect Kian Goh. But isn’t there a trade-off between expertise and generalism? Some participants thought so, and urban designer Felipe Correa countered: “It is important that we not overextend the net, that we bring it back to what we know how to do best,” he argued. “Allow sociologists to deal with the sociology.”