At Home, Near and Far.

This Week in New York (ish) Architecture, 10/11

Good Morning readers of the New York Review of Architecture,

Firstly, thank you to everyone who voted on Instagram for yard sign designs. The winning entries will be printed at a83—an organization with a three-part mission to exhibit, publish, and promote experimental projects in architecture, art, and design—and used to mobilize voters for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Check out all the submissions on our Instagram page if you haven’t already!

My name is Charles Weak and I’m guest-editing the pitch sheet this week. I’m an architect living in DC, which might seem a bit strange given this is the New York Review of Architecture. However, given our current circumstances (quarantined in our apartments, flats, houses, etc.) is it important that the Review should focus on events happening in New York, or that the pitch writer should live in New York? Quarantine has made events taking place nearby and our old daily lives feel far away, but in a funny way might also bring distant friends and opportunities closer. The distance between something a state away and a subway stop away are functionally the same when you don’t feel safe enough to leave your apartment. This relationship to distance has decentralized life, but is decentralization itself necessarily a bad thing?

It’s hard to imagine the difficulties of starting an architectural education online or holding studio while not in the same room as your students, however part of me wishes this amount of free online content had been this available to me while I was beginning my design career, hunched over my studio desk in the Cornhusker State. Reflecting on this and the possibility of a “more public” design education has me excited for an event hosted by the New York Review of Architecture and Dark Matter University this Thursday, October 14th, “A Case for Public Design Education”.

Institutions, during quarantine, have become much more active in posting online content for a public audience. Posting lectures or hosting live feeds of lecture content online seems like an easy first step, but is there the possibility that institutions or event professors might offer up disciplinary content to a wider populace for consumption? Is there a cure to Architecture’s Black Box in things as simple as the Instagram Reel function? It seems like there’s a proclivity for openings in disciplinary discussions while things are up in the air. I remember early on in quarantine watching Michael Meredith and Hillary Sample of MOS Architects give a lecture on low resolution while their internet connection was going in and out, and wondering to myself if this unintentional piece of comedy was somehow just emblematic of the time we’re living through, or if the messiness/flatness of Zoom environments is something to embrace moving forward. Does “Zooming” allow us to have new types of social interactions, through the individuals we’re now able to communicate with (internationally) in the sometimes awkward, always non-hierarchical space of a Zoom meeting?

Over the past few months there have been a slew of articles written about the ways in which COVID-19 will affect our spaces and our daily lives in future (Things like upending best practices for office layouts, and HVAC systems). However this article by the New York Times imagines the potential of using this time of shifting norms to address blurring private and public spaces within cities as well as historical inequities within the built environment.  The Times article begs the question: “Is this moment of cultural upheaval the perfect time for architects to make cultural changes or address these social issues?” Many of the events this week focus on what role architecture can play in combatting social issues, but in an event this Tuesday titled, Addressing Homelessness: What Can (and Can’t) Architecture Do?, Architect Michael Maltzen discusses his firms work on permanent supportive housing projects for the Skid Row Housing Trust in Los Angeles, and how Architects might thread the needle between realistic expectations and wholesale social change. A lecture that proposes that Architecture not stand back, but also to not create unrealistic expectations feels like a different stance from the breadth of other events we’ve seen this past spring and summer.

New York News:

COVID-19 cases have begun to grow in parts of New York. Some areas of New York have seen infection rates rise from 1% to 8%, which has led to some areas of the city to release new measure to combat the growing spread. This includes some area of the city shutting down, which has in turn led to protests.

Pier 26 at Huston River Park is now open to the public. The pier is the first new pier park in the city in 10 years. 


Quarantining inside has led me to spend quite a lot of time thinking and reading about public spaces. Some of the books that I’ve particularly enjoyed reading or skimming during this time: Public Catalysts by Manuel Bailo Esteve, New Investigations in Collective Form by The Open Workshop, Pro Domo and Architecture with the People, By the People, For the People by Yona Friedman.

Urban Renewal and School Reform inBaltimore by Erkin Ozay will be released this week On Friday as part of a book launch and lecture series through the University of Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. The book, “examines the role of the contemporary public school as an instrument of urban design.”


10/12 | Monday

Al Borde Response by Juan Herreros
6:00pm | GSAPP

10/13 | Tuesday

Mokena Makena: Experiments in Agnostic
12:00pm | The Cooper Union

The Impact of COVID-19 on Affordable Housing in NYC
12:00pm | GSAPP

Fred Wherry on Debt Collection
1:00pm | GSAPP

Faces in Stone
2:00pm | NAC

Addressing Homelessness: What Can (and Can’t) Architecture Do?
7:30pm | Harvard GSD

10/14 | Wednesday

Fall 2020 Lecture Series: Race, Social, Justice, and Allyship
1:00pm | Rice

Designing for Pacific Politics
3:00pm | UCLA

Integrated Pathways Lecture Series
3:00pm | The New School

Santiago X
4:00pm | UC Berkley

Designing for Pacific Politics
3:00pm | UCLA

Baumer Conversations
5:30pm | Knowlton School of Architecture

Alef Bet of Synagogues: Ayin, Pay, Tzakik
6:00pm | NYIT

NOMA Conference 2020
8:00pm | $25-$200

10/15 | Thursday

Process and Practice: Imminence and Immanence
5:15pm | Cornell AAP

Sara Jensen Carr with Michael Murphy
6:00pm | MIT

Dark Matter University & The New York Review of Architecture: A Case for Public Education
6:30pm | NYRA

Preservation’s Existential Crisis by Marisa Brown
6:30pm | GSAPP

Architects Declare Town Hall
7:00pm | US Architects Declare

The Physics of Diaspora
7:00pm | The Cooper Union

Marcus Samuelsson in Conversation with Thelma Golden, Toni L. Griffin and Mark Raymond
7:30pm | Harvard GSD

Buro Happold
8:00pm | GSAPP

10/16 | Friday

Just Sustainability in Policy, Planning and Practice
10:10am | Cornell AAP

Long Term Motel
1:00pm | Rice

Two Perspectives on Typology
1:00pm | The Cooper Union

Urban Renewal and School Reform in Baltimore
5:00pm | University of Buffalo

Film Series: Battle of Algiers
6:00pm | MIT

10/18 | Sunday

2020 Black Women in Architecture Brunch

To see the complete list, go to

If you plan to attend any of these events and would like to write it up for the Review, tell us! Write:

My Desk during Quarantine, where I’ve spent at least 8 hours a day for the last as seven months.

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