January 25, 2013
This week marked the opening of an important new exhibition, “Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers,” curated and hosted at the Museum of the City of New York. The exhibition, set to run through September 15, “showcases innovative design solutions to better accommodate New York City’s changing, and sometimes surprising, demographics, including a rising number of single people.
Making Room features a full-sized, flexibly furnished micro-studio apartment of just 325 square feet–a size prohibited in most areas of the city. Visitors to the exhibition will see models and drawings of housing designs by architectural teams commissioned in 2011 by Citizens Housing & Planning Council, in partnership with the Architectural League of New York. The exhibition also presents winning designs from the Bloomberg administration’s recently-launched pilot competition to test new housing models, as well as examples set by other cities in the United States and around the world, including Seattle, Providence, Montreal, San Diego, and Tokyo.
Click here to learn more about the Making Room exhibition, online at , or click here to read “New York City extols virtues of tiny apartments,” one of the better articles we’ve seen covering the exhibition (including a photo), online at Salon.com.
October 9, 2012
Accompanying the “Dignifying Design” op-ed that appeared in the print edition of The New York Times‘ Sunday Review section is an online slide show of related projects. Several of the projects appear in the new Autodesk Gallery exhibition, such as the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda by MASS Design Group (featured prominently in the article) as well as the Embrace Nest infant warmer and the ReMotion Knee by D-Rev: Design Revolution.
We are especially happy to introduce a few non-exhibition projects, including the gorgeous Windsor Farmers Market by the Studio H high school design/build program of Project H Design in North Carolina, the amazing Lions Park Playscape by Auburn University‘s Rural Studio students in Greensboro, Ala., and the stunning Masonic Amphitheater in Clifton Forge, Va., by Virginia Tech‘s design/buildLAB.
Click here to view the “Good, by Design” slideshow, online at NYTimes.com.
October 5, 2012
Enormous thanks to the 480 people that turned out for the opening of our Autodesk Gallery exhibition in San Francisco on Thursday, October 4, 2012. Pictures of the event, our co-curators’ remarks, and a roundup of media coverage to follow next week.
Click here to view our introductory infographic about “Public Interest Design: Products, Places, & Processes.”
October 3, 2012
Many month in the making, “Public Interest Design: Products, Places, & Processes,” a special exhibition combining storytelling and design for the public good, opens tomorrow, Thursday, October 4. This special Autodesk Gallery exhibition is co-curated by our own John Cary and author Courtney E. Martin. Above is a low-res, pre-overhead-lighting-adjustment shot of a large graphic wall that’s part of the show. The graphics were designed by PublicInterestDesign.org partner Megan Jett, and they’re beautifully captured in an infographic that will debut tomorrow as well. So stay tuned.
The exhibition opening coincides with Autodesk’s second monthly “Design Night,” including music, drinks, food, and fun activities. Opening tickets may be purchased online at http://autode.sk/good. Thereafter the exhibition is expected to remain on display and travel for the next 4-5 years.
Click here to register for Design Night and the exhibition opening at the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco, online at Autodesk.com.
September 13, 2012
The next in a series of exhibitions on design for the public good–”Public Interest Design: Products, Places, & Processes“–will officially open Thursday evening, October 4, 6-10pm, at the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco. Months in the making, the exhibition is co-curated by our own John Cary and his partner, Courtney E. Martin, together from their vantage points as a designer and storyteller, who are currently the first guest curators in residence at the Autodesk Gallery.
Focused on actual projects in use by real people around the world as well as “Products, Places, and Processes,” the exhibition includes everything from affordable solar lanterns and a life-saving infant warmer, to a couple of San Francisco’s popular parklets to a hospital in rural Rwanda, to a global ideas-sharing platform and sanitation system in Ghana–all designed or redesigned for the public good. The opening will coincide with Autodesk’s second monthly “Design Night,” including music, drinks, food, and fun activities. Thereafter it is expected to remain on display and travel for the next 4-5 years.
Click here to register for Public Interest Design Night, and stay tuned for more information about the exhibition itself.
September 12, 2012
“Save for a few projects and pavilions, probably the less said, the better, about “Common Ground,” the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, organized by the fine British architect David Chipperfield.” So starts out Michael Kimmelman‘s latest column as architecture critic of The New York Times. It is a brutally honest review of the Biennale and the design profession’s ongoing crises, albeit one with kernels of hope–as “Projects Without Architects Steal the Show.”
The exhibition still positions architects as producers of surplus value through aesthetic quality, less so as players at the decision-making table, organizing cities and communities. Cautious, dated, with too many cooks (Mr. Chipperfield farmed out many sections to friends like Mr. Foster), the show suggests above all an uncertainty about how to unpack, evaluate, present and tame the messy, multilayered social, political, economic and architectural processes that go into making good buildings and places today.
Click here to read “Projects Without Architects Steal the Show,” online at NYTimes.com.
August 29, 2012
Today, August 29, marks the official opening of the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale. The overall theme of the Architecture Biennale, as determined by architect David Chipperfield, is “Common Ground.” (The U.S. Pavilion, curated by Cathy Lang Ho and covered extensively by Architect Magazine, builds on the overall theme with Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good.) On the main Biennale website, Chipperfield explains, in compelling terms, why he chose this year’s overall theme of “Common Ground”:
“To encourage my colleagues to react against the prevalent professional and cultural tendencies of our time that place such emphasis on individual and isolated actions. I encouraged them instead to demonstrate the importance of influence and of the continuity of cultural endeavour, to illustrate common and shared ideas that form the basis of an architectural culture…I was inspired to direct this Biennale towards concerns of continuity, context, and memory, towards shared influences and expectations, and to address the apparent lack of understanding that exists between the profession and society.”
Click here to learn more about the Common Ground theme of the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale.
August 27, 2012
The U.S. Pavilion team for the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale today relaunched their official exhibition website, SpontaneousInterventions.com. The exhibition itself, addressing the theme “Design Actions for the Common Good,” runs August 29-November 25, 2012. For those that can’t make the trip to Venice, however, the new website as well as the special issue of Architect Magazine (profiled here previously), both provide great windows into the show, the 124 projects, and the energy around them all. In their curators’ statement, Commissioner & Curator Cathy Lang Ho along with Co-Curators David van der Leer and Ned Cramer introduce the exhibition as follows:
Spontaneous Interventions celebrates a movement for democratic change in cities in the United States, inspired by a kindred activism around the world. The actions–planting abandoned lots, occupying and reprogramming public spaces, and generally making cities more beautiful, inclusive, productive, and healthy—are planning at its most direct, expressions of a desire for good places that cannot simply await the sanction of the “authorities” to find their form. As these small but powerful works multiply and coalesce, a just and sustainable city, a city of all its communities, is being born. This is a celebration of a long and vibrant history of urban activism and takes particular pride in representing the U.S. during the tenure of a president whose career began as an urban community organizer.
Click here to visit the newly redesigned SpontaneousInterventions.com website.
August 23, 2012
This month’s newly-released issue of Architect Magazine, available in its entirety online here and as an interactive PDF here, documents the offerings of the U.S. Pavilion of the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale. Addressing the theme “Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good,” the exhibition itself as well as the issue represent the latest effort to capture the spirit and impact of public interest design. In her essay, curator Cathy Lang Ho writes:
In researching projects for the exhibition, we found hundreds of examples even before we issued an open call in January, which itself yielded over 450 compelling self-initiated urban improvements. We narrowed our choice to 124–the maximum number we could fit in the 4,000-square-foot permanent American pavilion in the Giardini, the public gardens of Venice–though we wish we could have included many more. We were expansive in our consideration of what qualifies as a “spontaneous intervention,” including projects that encroach on the territory of art and graffiti, well aware that some acts are more about self-expression than tactics for long-term change. Our goal was to find a diversity of original projects that transform public urban space to better serve the common good, seeking those that would add up to a useful archive of actionable strategies that could be replicated in other cities facing similar problems.
August 22, 2012
The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts has announced its 2012 Grants to Organizations, with 43 awards totaling $413,000. (These are on top of $410,000 to 57 individuals from earlier this year.) The organizational grants will go to support “public programs around the world that demonstrate innovative approaches to understanding architecture and the designed environment.” Funded organizational projects include exhibitions, films, new media initiatives, publications, and other programs.
Among many others, a select few grantees in the public interest design space include: Archeworks New Practice program to “develop and test new definitions of socially responsible practice and promote actionable leadership and civic innovation among designers;” a major exhibition on the work of Studio Gang–well-known for its commitment to pro bono design–at the Art Institute of Chicago; and an exhibition, called “Architecture as Social Form,” to take place at the University of Toronto‘s Justina M. Barnicke Gallery.
Click here for more information on the Graham Foundation’s 2012 Grants to Organizations, online at GrahamFoundation.org. Caption: Photo from Archeworks New Practice program profile.