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News

Studio Summers - Oculus

Deen Sharp

Happy to report that the studio was featured in successive summer issues in the Oculus, AIA New York’s quarterly print publication.

This year’s issue, “The Inclusive City,” includes the exhibition and competition, “Big Ideas for Small Lots” and features Sorkin Studio’s winning entry: Greenfill: House as Garden.

Last year’s summer issue, “New York: Past, Present, and Future” celebrated the AIA Conference 40th anniversary and its conference ‘return’ to NYC. It included Terreform’s New York City (Steady) State project as well as Michael Sorkin’s op-ed: Sauve Qui Peut "Everyone for themselves!" the dystopian destiny of an unsustainable city.

Learn more from visual links below:

Celeste Olalquiaga - Las Ruinas Modernas en la Era Digital

Nikhil Sambamurthy

Este curso investiga la relevancia de las ruinas industriales y modernistas en la cultura hipermoderna. Ésta las invisibiliza y a la vez idealiza como restos de una era pre-tecnológica. Analizando casos específicos de abandono, preservación y recuperación de ruinas modernas en América Latina, el curso propone un marco teórico para pensar el tiempo y el espacio modernos a través de la materialidad histórica y específica de las ruinas. More information.

Ruinas Modernas - Celeste Olalquiaga

DOWNWARD SPIRAL: EL HELICOIDE'S DESCENT FROM MALL TO PRISON

Editors: Celeste Olalquiaga and Lisa Blackmore

Contributors: Pedro Alonso, Carola Barrios, Ángela Bonadies, Bonadies & Olavarría, Rodrigo Blanco Calderón, René Davids, Liliana De Simone, Luis Duno-Gottberg, Diego Larrique, Vicente Lecuna, Engel Leonardo, Albinson Linares, Sandra Pinardi, Iris Rosas, Alberto Sato, Elisa Silva, Federico Vegas, Jorge Villota. Designed by Álvaro Sotillo and Gabriella Fontanillas (VACA).

Downward Spiral is published by Terreform Urban Research in collaboration with Proyecto Helicoide and support from Archivo Fotografía Urbana and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

UR author Sereypagna Pen at TAK Berlin

Hilary Huckins-Weidner

Sereypagna Pen, co-author of our forthcoming Graham-funded book Genealogy of Basaac, will be a featured panelist in the public prelude to the project “Encounters with Southeast Asian Modernism”.

Encounters with Southeast Asian Modernism sheds light on the history, significance and future of modernism in selected cities of Southeast Asia in the context of the Bauhaus centenary 2019. With partners in Jakarta, Phnom Penh, Singapore and Yangon, Encounters explores the impact of modernism at the crossroads between early globalisation, local conditions, and the search for an own identity, starting with the period of upheaval that accompanied the transition to independence after colonial times.

Full panel list:

Avianti Armand, architect, Avianti Armand Studio, curator, architectural scholar, Jakarta, Indonesia

Puay-Peng Ho, Professor, Head of Department of Architecture, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore

Sereypagna Pen, architect, urban researcher, Executive Director of The Vann Molyvann Project, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Pwint, Professor, Deputy Head of Department of Architecture, Yangon Technical University, Myanmar

farid rakun, artist, researcher and instigator, ruangrupa, Jakarta, Indonesia

Setiadi Sopandi, architect, Indra Tata Adilaras Architects, curator, architectural scholar, Jakarta, Indonesia

Shirley Surya, Curator for Design and Architecture, M+ museum for visual culture, Hong Kong

Lyno Vuth, artist, curator, Artistic Director of Sa Sa Art Projects, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Johannes Widodo, Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore

Win Thant Win Shwin, architect, planner, lecturer at the Department of Architecture, Mandalay Technological University, Myanmar

The panel will be moderated by Ute Meta Bauer, Director of the Centre for Contemporary Art, Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and Eduard Kögel, curator, architectural scholar, lecturer, Berlin.

Berlin / 30 August 2019 /

TAK at Aufbau Haus
Prinzenstrasse 85 F
10969 Berlin

Registration is free. See full schedule.

Images: Buddhist Library Yangon, National Sports Complex Phnom Penh, Hotel Indonesia Jakarta, Golden Mile Complex Singapore. Graphics: Alexander Lech

Sereypagna Pen is the director of the Vann Molyvann Project and urban researcher based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He has been awarded scholarships and fellowships including the Chevening Scholarship (2017–18), US/ICOMOS and East West Center (2015–16), Sa Sa Arts Project (2014–15), Asian Cultural Council (2012–13) and Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments as a visiting scholar (2012). Pen’s work on genealogy of urban form Phnom Penh, genealogy of Bassac, and Phnom Penh visions has been the subject of several exhibitions and presentations in Cambodia and selected venues in Asia, Australia, and the US such as Phnom Penh SaSa Bassac, Art Stage Singapore, Bangkok H Gallery, PARSONS the New School, Taipei Biennale 2016, and Sydney Biennale 2018. He has contributed essays to scholarly journals and books including Cité De L’architecture & Du Patrimoine (forthcoming 2019), Chulalongkorn University’s Nakhara: Journal of Environmental Design and Planning(2015), and Parsons Design Dialogues (2014).

Sereypagna Pen, Schizoanalysis of White Building, 2015, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. © Sereypagna Pen.   Genealogy of Bassac  presents a careful architectural study of an area in downtown Phnom Penh constructed on twenty-four hectares of landfill along the swampy floodplain of the Bassac River from the perspectives of artists and residents who have lived through five decades of genocide, exile, return, and eviction. It highlights a new creative generation in Phnom Penh whose emergence is a counter narrative to the current “casino urbanism” of the Cambodian regime.

Sereypagna Pen, Schizoanalysis of White Building, 2015, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. © Sereypagna Pen.

Genealogy of Bassac presents a careful architectural study of an area in downtown Phnom Penh constructed on twenty-four hectares of landfill along the swampy floodplain of the Bassac River from the perspectives of artists and residents who have lived through five decades of genocide, exile, return, and eviction. It highlights a new creative generation in Phnom Penh whose emergence is a counter narrative to the current “casino urbanism” of the Cambodian regime.

On Lower Manhattan and Resiliency Projects - NYC

Hilary Huckins-Weidner

The latest issue of The Indypendent bravely tackles the rubberband ball of issues as the city proposes its $1.45 billion flood-mitigation plan, East Side Coastal Resiliency Project:

LES residents April Merlin (left) and Yvette Mercedes are helping to lead the charge to save the East River Park.Photo: Sue Brisk.

LES residents April Merlin (left) and Yvette Mercedes are helping to lead the charge to save the East River Park.Photo: Sue Brisk.

It raises questions about how other major coastal cities will respond to an escalating global climate crisis and to whose benefit; the legacy of housing segregation; the conflicting priorities of top-down city planning and neighborhood-based concerns; the values we assign private automobiles and mass transit; and the hollowed-out state of democracy in a New York where “the tale of two cities” persists.

Tom Angotti, UR author Zoned Out! Race, Displacement, and Urban Planning in New York City and professor emeritus at Hunter College, charges:

“This is about the consolidation in Lower Manhattan of a giant Noah’s Ark for the wealthy with beautiful waterfront views while the outer boroughs get flooded,” he told The Indypendent. There will only be a place for public housing, he added, “if there are opportunities for private investment.”

WATERPROOFING NEW YORK  Editors: Denise Hoffman Brandt and Catherine Seavitt Nordenson  Contributors: Lance Jay Brown; Nette Compton; Deborah Gans; Jeffrey Hou; Lydia Kallipoliti; Signe Nielsen; Kate Orff; Sandra Richter; Frank Ruchala Jr.; Thaddeus Pawlowski; Janette Sadik-Khan; Hilary Sample; Judd Schechtman; Gullivar Shepard; Michael Sorkin; Byron Stigge; Erika Svendsen, Lindsay Campbell, Nancy F. Sonti and Gillian Baine; Georgeen Theodore

WATERPROOFING NEW YORK

Editors: Denise Hoffman Brandt and Catherine Seavitt Nordenson

Contributors: Lance Jay Brown; Nette Compton; Deborah Gans; Jeffrey Hou; Lydia Kallipoliti; Signe Nielsen; Kate Orff; Sandra Richter; Frank Ruchala Jr.; Thaddeus Pawlowski; Janette Sadik-Khan; Hilary Sample; Judd Schechtman; Gullivar Shepard; Michael Sorkin; Byron Stigge; Erika Svendsen, Lindsay Campbell, Nancy F. Sonti and Gillian Baine; Georgeen Theodore

Earlier this year, the city proposed an East River extension to protect Lower Manhattan at a cost of $10 billion. UR co-editor of Waterproofing New York and Director of the Graduate Landscape Architecture at CCNY, Denise Hoffman Brandt, responded in a Salon article:

“Unless you’re going to surround Manhattan with a wall, the water is going to get in somewhere and in some kind of situation,” she said, asking why a more holistic, citywide solution was not being considered. “How’s it going to look when Lower Manhattan is high and dry and the rest of the city is flooded?”

Vanessa Keith, author of   2100: A Dystopian Utopia - The City After Climate Change     at CUNY  Climate Action Lab  (CAL). The event brought together “activists, researchers, and artists to reimagine climate politics through the lens of the city as both the frontline impact-zone and the potential source of grassroots, artistic, and scientific alternatives informed by the principles of climate justice, for A People’s Plan for Climate Action for NYC.”   Watch videos of the day long event, which included UR authors, Vanessa Keith and Tom Angotti, on the Center for the Humanities - CUNY website.

Vanessa Keith, author of 2100: A Dystopian Utopia - The City After Climate Change at CUNY Climate Action Lab (CAL). The event brought together “activists, researchers, and artists to reimagine climate politics through the lens of the city as both the frontline impact-zone and the potential source of grassroots, artistic, and scientific alternatives informed by the principles of climate justice, for A People’s Plan for Climate Action for NYC.”

Watch videos of the day long event, which included UR authors, Vanessa Keith and Tom Angotti, on the Center for the Humanities - CUNY website.

Big Ideas for Small Lots

Hilary Huckins-Weidner

Terreform cheering on Michael Sorkin Studio at last week’s Big Ideas Small Lots exhibition opening at the Center for Architecture. The exhibition was recently included in The Architect’s Newspaper must-see list for this summer.

Learn more about Sorkin Studio’s proposal:

Hiding in plain sight in New York City are nearly two dozen potential solutions to the city's affordable housing shortage. Small, irregular vacant lots that are residential-ready yet challenging in scale to develop, these 23 city-owned properties are the focus of the 2019 Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC competition, which has named as a finalist The City College of New York Distinguished Professor Michael Sorkin, Director of the Graduate Urban Design program at CCNY's Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, principal of Michael Sorkin Studio, and president of Terreform, a nonprofit urban research center. Greenfill: House as Garden, submitted by Michael Sorkin Studio, is one of five finalists chosen from a field of 444 entries from 36 countries.

From: “CCNY's Michael Sorkin is finalist in NYC innovative affordable housing competition”

Zoned Out! Ridgewood and Bushwick

Hilary Huckins-Weidner

RIDGEWOOD. UR editor and CUNY - Hunter College professor emeritus Tom Angotti, will join the “Community Forum on Luxury Development in Ridgewood” organized by Ridgewood Tenants Union. The forum will take place on Saturday, August 3, 2:30-4:30p at the Ridgewood Branch - Queens Library.

Left to right: Cynthia Tobar and Pati Rodriguez of Mi Casa No Es Su Casa, economist Lynn Ellsworth, urban policy expert Tom Angotti, local historian Dennis Sinned and Bronx activist Chino May. Photo by Paul Stremple for The Brooklyn Eagle .

Left to right: Cynthia Tobar and Pati Rodriguez of Mi Casa No Es Su Casa, economist Lynn Ellsworth, urban policy expert Tom Angotti, local historian Dennis Sinned and Bronx activist Chino May. Photo by Paul Stremple forThe Brooklyn Eagle.

A Timeline of The Obama Presidential Library and Terreform

Hilary Huckins-Weidner

Check out this interactive timeline made by Terreform research associate Casey Breen that tracks our work and interest in the development of the Obama Presidential Library.

From South Side Stories project page:

Our goal is to produce a series of proposals–including physical plans–that can channel the great history, energy, and creativity of these communities and leverage the huge impetus that the arrival of the Obama library will bring, not simply to its immediate surroundings but to a territory stretching from Bronzeville to Calumet. We intend to collaborate and work with any organization that looks forward to mobilizing positive changes on the South Side, in particular: the citizens, the city, the community activists, the University of Chicago, and the Obama Foundation.

The project will center itself on the belief that everyone should have access to a parity of rights and expression in developing their communities. A successful plan is one that is premised on the idea of a common “right to the city”, that addresses not only the needs of the community, but also, its desires.

Celeste Olalquiaga - Ruinas Modernas

Hilary Huckins-Weidner



On August 9 a conference on modern ruins will be held at Universidad Católica, Chile, featuring: Giuliana Bruno; Jon Beasley-Murray; Celeste Olalquiaga; and Liliana De Simone.

The conference is organized by Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Estudios Urbanos Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Centro del Patrimonio Cultural.

Details and registration.

A month-long graduate seminar, led by Olalquiaga, will follow the conference.

Downward Spiral  was published by Terreform in collaboration with Proyecto Helicoide and support from Archivo Fotografía Urbana.

Downward Spiral was published by Terreform in collaboration with Proyecto Helicoide and support from Archivo Fotografía Urbana.

PN2019 - A Terreform Recap

Hilary Huckins-Weidner

“What, exactly, do we mean by ‘progressive’ anyway? Who is supposed to be progressing, and what are they progressing toward?” Sam Stein, Introductory Keynote

Progressive City, Planners Network online publication, recently published Sam Stein’s introductory keynote, “The Urgency and Uncertainty of ‘Progressive Planning’ Today.” Stein presented at the 2019 Planners Network Conference (PN2019), a multi-city event held at New York City, Tiohtià:ke/Montreal, and Tacoma.

PN2019 - NYC was held at Pratt Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment. Terreform tabled together with comrade publisher, The New Village Press. Terreform associate, Casey Breen, reports below.

Learn more about Planners Network, the organization of progressive planning. Photo below: Visual Recap. Planners Network NYC.


Street Lessons and Learning from Planners Network Conference

BY Casey Breen

I was stirred up by Sam Stein’s questions of what it means to be progressive and his arguments for the urgent need for new modes of planning. They served as guides as I moved through the panels and conversations. As a student of mathematics and architecture, my knowledge of planning is primarily from canonical texts. This conference was a headfirst dive into its other sides — activism, advocacy, organizing — how the work actually gets done on the ground.

I attended two panels based on my interest in housing inequity. The first panel was on “Building Tenant Power, Holding Banks Accountable for Predatory Equity”. Jim Markowich, a Tenant Leader at Tenants Taking Control Coalition, told us about his experience bonding together with his neighbors against the mistreatment of their new landlord. He spoke of his surprise in “discovering the multifaceted skillset of the people around him” and the power this imbued in their fight to leverage their rights as tenants. Brandon Kielbasa, Director of Organizing at Cooper Square Committee, advised listeners on the purpose of organizing practices as a way for “people to see the systematic nature of the issues they face.” Both spoke about the larger factors at play in these mistreatments, such as how banks force landlords to kick out rent-controlled tenants if [the landlords] want any hope of paying back their mortgages.”

The second panel I attended was “Resistance to Gentrification and Global Real Estate Finance in Sunset Park, Brooklyn”. I remember the electrifying moment when the audience voiced their experiences growing up in the neighborhood. A multitude of languages — Chinese, Spanish, English —seemingly clashed but all came to a halt on agreement in their mistrust of Industry City’s promise to provide new jobs in their local community. Then an activist from Brazil, Emilia Maria de Souza, chimed in with her concerns. In Portuguese with consecutive English translation, she reminded us that while the issues discussed in the context of Sunset Park and Industry City were place-based, it was part of a much larger global phenomenon.

This conference introduced me to questions that had never occurred to me even needed to be asked. It was inspiring to meet with researchers, organizers, activists, and community members — each with differing perspectives on what it means to be progressive, and what we all should be striving for. While I left with my own personal answer on Stein’s question — what the nature of progressive planning should be — not fully fleshed out, I know it was a start of a working answer; and more importantly, I’m itching to find out more!

Reading now:

Hum, Tarry. “Get Ready Sunset Park, ‘Brooklyn’ is Coming”: The Real Estate Imperatives of an Innovation Ecosystem.” Progressive City.

Hum, Tarry. Making a Global Immigrant Neighborhood: Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2014.

Pannum, Hari. “Horto Will Protest Against Eviction ‘However Many Times is Necessary”. Rio on Watch. 

Stein, Samuel B. Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State. New York: Verso, 2019.

Stein, Samuel B. “The Urgency and Uncertainty of ‘Progressive Planning’ Today.” Progressive City.

'Spaces of Disappearance' mentioned in Salon

Hilary Huckins-Weidner

"This affecting and harrowing book examines the spatial manifestations of the War on Terror. From the uncertain sovereign spaces of Guantanamo Bay to the prefabricated metal cells that are used to house detainees in black sites, to the globally disbursed architecture of torture and disappearance, this book's focus on extraordinary rendition illuminates the uneven spatio-temporal distributions of power and violence." — Laleh Khalili, Author of  Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies

"This affecting and harrowing book examines the spatial manifestations of the War on Terror. From the uncertain sovereign spaces of Guantanamo Bay to the prefabricated metal cells that are used to house detainees in black sites, to the globally disbursed architecture of torture and disappearance, this book's focus on extraordinary rendition illuminates the uneven spatio-temporal distributions of power and violence." — Laleh Khalili, Author of Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies

New Terreformers!

Hilary Huckins-Weidner

Meet our new 2019 team members!

Anthropologist and spatial strategist DeNeile Cooper and environmental consultant Oliver Wright are contributing research to Waste Not, the second installment of New York City (Steady) State. Theo Brandt is a student and NYC native assisting on New York City (Steady) State: Home Grown. Casey Breen and Alex Serbanescu are visiting us from the University of Chicago and contributing to South Side Stories.

Learn more about them and the rest of the Terreform team at People.

From left to right: Oliver Wright, Theo Brandt, Casey Breen, DeNeile Cooper, and Alex Serbanescu.

From left to right: Oliver Wright, Theo Brandt, Casey Breen, DeNeile Cooper, and Alex Serbanescu.

Zoned Out in dDAB

mariacecilia fagel

dDAB Commentary: …The diversity of subject matter, the quality of the scholarship, and the progressive ideals shared by the various subjects are highly commendable in the case of those three books. The same can be said of Zoned Out!, which features six chapters on the role of zoning in displacing low-income communities of color in New York City.

More at dDAB.

“In March, when my book  NYC Walks  was released, I was fortunate enough to be in conversation with Michael Sorkin at Rizzoli Bookstore. Following our talk and me signing a few copies of my book, I passed by titles from Sorkin's UR Books (an imprint of his nonprofit Terreform) conveniently located by the register. The product placement worked…”  More at dDAB .

“In March, when my book NYC Walks was released, I was fortunate enough to be in conversation with Michael Sorkin at Rizzoli Bookstore. Following our talk and me signing a few copies of my book, I passed by titles from Sorkin's UR Books (an imprint of his nonprofit Terreform) conveniently located by the register. The product placement worked…” More at dDAB.

In Conversation: NYC Walks (Prestel Publishing, 2019) - John Hill - Michael Sorkin

In Conversation: NYC Walks (Prestel Publishing, 2019) - John Hill - Michael Sorkin