VISITING CRITIC STUDIO / 2020
BANDWIDTH will examine our capacity as architects to work together toward social change in both built and virtual environments. History has demonstrated how discriminatory planning policies, institutional practices, and physical spaces have reified and advanced racist ideologies. Similar inequities appear in online spaces. Between YouTube algorithms and Facebook political groups, the internet enables the formation of ideological silos that can reproduce biases and reinforce divisions. At the same time, the internet can foster connection and activism in intensely powerful ways. The Black Lives Matter protests are showing us how collective action is split between our streets and screens: both are sites that we occupy to provide material relief, share knowledge, and build lasting interpersonal networks. As we develop anti-racist approaches to shaping our surroundings, perhaps we can learn from the digital realm. How can designers work collaboratively to dismantle oppressive systems? What technologies can promote civic engagement and collective care? How does digital culture shape our understanding of places and publics? In what ways can architects help to identify and redistribute resources more equitably and sustainably? What role can architects have in envisioning and implementing alternative systems? We will address these questions and more through design exercises that speculate on the status of contemporary urbanism in an increasingly networked yet politically divided world. Students will work in groups using a shared physical site and cultural context, but this studio will resist the deeply ingrained and misguided attitude of “white saviorism” that can result in an unsolicited and harmful building proposal or masterplan. Instead, our collective efforts will culminate in the design of frameworks that architects and community stakeholders can occupy as we work toward a more just future.
Felipe Becerra Gomez
Jake Hayward + MaryKate Krege + Heather Skinner
Dan Manzi + Mehak Saroha + Ashley Woo