The Architects’ Resistance

Anthony Schuman & Chris Barker

TAR_SOM Protest.jpg

The Architects’ Resistance (TAR), an activist network of architecture students and faculty from Columbia, MIT, Yale, and other mostly East Coast schools in the US, emerged from the protests, occupations, and shutdowns of the 1968–69 school year. In its press releases and position papers, TAR described itself as “a communications network, a research group, and an action group . . . concerned about the social responsibility of architects and the framework within which architecture is practiced.” TAR drew inspiration from the flourishing community design movement, and the New Left, civil rights, and antiwar movements, and developed a platform of its own with local and global concerns.

In its “Architecture and Racism” campaign (1969), TAR condemned SOM’s lucrative contract with the Anglo American Corporation to design the Carlton Centre in Johannesburg. Architecture for racists, TAR argued, is racist architecture. In “Architecture and the Nuclear Arms Race” (1969), TAR opposed a new fallout shelter building program for architects and educators sponsored by the Department of Defense and endorsed by AIA leadership. In these and other “radical action projects,” TAR excoriated the architectural profession’s submission to corporate, industrial, and governmental interests. TAR argued that the profession had become dominated by a culture of expertise that, in its acquiescence to power, had reduced architecture to a purely aesthetic and technical undertaking. For TAR this was a moral failure: architecture had divorced itself from its ethical responsibility to society.

TAR lasted for little more than two years but produced a significant series of documents and events. TAR members also participated in or were connected to other activist groups and CDCs including Urban Deadline, Real Great Society Uptown Planning Studio, Urban Planning Aid, Serve the People, and The New Thing in Art and Architecture.

Mapping Feminist LA

Leana Scott


Mapping Feminist LA (MFLA) is a collaborative research project with the goal of building the Angelena Atlas, a crowdsourced map showing intersectional feminist spaces in Los Angeles County. The MFLA collective brings volunteers together every month at the Women’s Center for Creative Work (WCCW) to strategize and discuss the planning of its in-progress map. MFLA began and remains a community program at WCCW, a kindred space that provides the collective with project incubation support. Inspiration for the map draws from physical spaces of the past and present in Los Angeles that connect folks to resources linked to intersectional feminism and anti-oppression movements.

MFLA envisions the Angelena Atlas as a springboard for the discovery of places of activism and becoming. Their focus has been collecting information and building towards digital and print maps to include spaces with resources that are anti-racist, anti-ableist, pro-immigrant, LGBTQ friendly, and otherwise empowering. The hope is to foster a new spatial awareness of LA through the lens of intersectional feminism.

During its first two years, the collective explored the possibilities and strategies necessary to building a community web project committed to intersectionality. As MFLA now begins digitally building the Angelena Atlas and exits the initial stages of planning and outreach, they are moving forward with like-minded developers and considering open-source technologies. The collective has plans to keep building in iterative stages to include information on spoken languages and live events that these spaces feature.

While the final form is still a work in progress, the core values of accessibility and intersectionality will always guide the project as it evolves. The Angelena Atlas will also provide documentation of MFLA’s process and will allow for collaboration through version control and public engagement.

Architect’s Renewal Committee in Harlem (ARCH)

Roberta Washington

In the wake of Whitney Young’s call to action at the 1968 AIA convention, the field of architecture finally began to open to black architects—national and state governments increased coverage to affirmative action plans, black architects founded the National Organization of Minority Architects, and black firms gained more access to government-funded projects. But this was also the era of advocacy planning in New York.

The Architect’s Renewal Committee in Harlem (ARCH), one of the best-known examples of an advocacy planning organization, was started in 1964 by Richard Hatcher, a young white architect who was joined by John Bailey, a city planner, in 1967. Max Bond joined ARCH as its new executive director in 1968.

This was a period of urban renewal throughout the country, which for many in black neighborhoods meant removal and relocation. ARCH was envisioned as a community facilitator, helping the community communicate ideas of renewal of their own neighborhood. At a press conference, Bond advocated for the creation of a “planning review board of representatives from community organizations” that would enable Harlem to determine if projects planned for their community would, in fact, help the community.

ARCH gave voice to residents who had few means to challenge plans being proposed by local government. ARCH was able to examine and explain community development plans proposed by city agencies to the residents and propose new plans that favored those who lived there. Dozens of graduates from Howard University and other HBCUs, as well as socially conscious white planners and architects, flocked to ARCH to work as paid employees or volunteers.

In 1970, with Art Symes at the helm, Architecture in the Neighborhoods, a program to recruit local black youth to become architects, was initiated. Architecture in the Neighborhoods offered college scholarships to those who made it through a rigorous prep period.

As Art Symes once stated, “Architecture and planning are just too important to be omitted from the lives of people who happen to be poor.”

Hester Street

Lisa Hartland

New York City-based Hester Street is an urban planning, design, and development nonprofit that, among other initiatives, works to prevent the displacement of community anchor institutions by building equity through real estate and social justice. Founded in 2002, the organization aims to preserve vibrant, resilient neighborhoods and build equity at the grassroots.

Just as displacement threatens low-income tenants in gentrifying neighborhoods, community-based organizations (CBOs) that serve those tenants are affected by rising rents, lack of protections, and limited capital resources to improve or secure their spaces. Displacement of these neighborhood anchor institutions threatens community well-being by eliminating essential gathering spaces, accessible and affordable services, and often jobs in low-income communities of color.

Hester Street manages capital projects for CBOs seeking to secure their spaces for long-term benefit and neighborhood preservation. Over the past three years, they have planned, designed, or developed over 300,000 square feet of community resources: open space, libraries, child care, community centers, and more. Each project is unique and wildly complex, requiring specific skills and careful collaboration between multiple parties. Most are one-time projects for CBOs, which do not regularly develop property and need to keep focus on their missions and programs. New York City commits a large budget to these projects, but they are difficult to access and carry high risks. Hester street helps CBOs tap into and leverage that money while mitigating risks for capital projects focused on the stability and sustainability of neighborhood anchor institutions.

La Cocina

Helena Cardona


Professor Kathleen Coll refers to domestic labor—something that has been long-undervalued in our society—as “the most invisible city engine.” Throughout history, and in many places today, women have had limited educational opportunities resulting in limited professional possibilities, or they have had conflicting immigration status keeping them from pursuing a career or different lifestyle. The intent of La Cocina is to analyze the economic model and the physical space of having a business incubator kitchen in San Francisco, where the domestic cook occupation is recognized and formalized. La Cocina aims to build entrepreneurial independence, and they are doing this through an incubator model. La Cocina continues to break barriers by cultivating food entrepreneurs whose ranks include women, parents, people of color, and immigrants. Their mission is to provide an affordable commercial kitchen space and access to market opportunity to gain financial security by doing what they love. All of this results in an innovative, vibrant, and inclusive economic landscape. La Cocina is situated in the heart of the Mission District, an area in San Francisco undergoing a gentrification and housing crisis. Accordingly, the Mission can benefit from incubator models that address the needs of those in at-risk communities. The concepts prioritized during the design process included natural light to help cooks be happier, healthier, and more productive as well as equal, open flexible kitchen spaces that encourage interaction.

Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility

Raphael Sperry


Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) was founded in 1981 as a voice for architects and design professionals opposing the threat of nuclear war and the militarism of the Reagan administration. Groups of concerned people in the design world soon found each other in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and other cities, and then the groups united to create a national nonprofit organization with a regular newsletter, chapter meetings, and a national board of directors. ADPSR even formed an international association, ARC-Peace, with representatives from Europe, Japan, and other countries.

ADPSR seeks out creative, nonviolent means for raising public awareness and demanding changes in public policy, always from the perspective of designers. An early poster for “Architects for Social Responsibility” (before fellow professions were added) called attention to the stark consequences of a nuclear exchange not only on human life but all of humanity’s cultural achievements—including architecture. A mid-’80s design competition for a bomb shelter mocked the idea that backyard shelters—which the government encouraged at that time—could make any difference. Entries included an “Emperor’s New Clothes” model of an ideal shelter, which was just a blank page. The collection of entries was published under the title “Quonset Huts on the River Styx: the Bomb Shelter Design Book.” ADPSR also arranged an exchange of visits with architects in the Soviet Union, showing through “citizen diplomacy” that even though our two countries’ governments were openly hostile, the people of the two countries themselves could work together peacefully and develop professional and personal collaborations. ADPSR remains active today around issues of human rights and social justice, especially in critiquing the US prison system.

Prison Design Boycott Campaign

Raphael Sperry


The Prison Design Boycott for Alternatives to Incarceration is a pledge campaign launched by Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) in 2004. In some ways a response to the violence and racism of the Iraq war, the Prison Boycott turned the critique of militarism inwards to call out prisons and jails as the architectural embodiment of the domestic war on poor people of color. The Prison Boycott pledge gathered over 1,000 signatures from architects, designers, and allies, demanding an end to the construction of new jails and prisons. It is a private matter for an architect or a firm to decline projects they feel are morally or politically unacceptable, but it is a public reckoning to demand that one’s profession as a whole cease such projects. The Prison Boycott asserted that professional ethics are a ground for collective action, grounded in the professional charge to act in the public health, safety, and welfare.

ADPSR expanded the Prison Boycott in 2012 with a petition demanding that the American Institute of Architects (AIA) prohibit members from designing execution chambers and prison spaces for solitary confinement. A campaign highlight was a design competition for posters, with the winning entries mailed to deans of the 100+ schools of architecture across the United States for display in their schools. After six years of rejection, denial, and exclusion, AIA’s 2018 Code of Ethics was changed to prohibit members from ”wanton disregard of the rights of others” under the heading of human rights. This victory marks a success of intersectionality, having been driven as much by demands for AIA to address sexual harassment and gender discrimination as by human rights concerns for people in prison. More work is needed to ensure that the role of human rights within the AIA Ethics Code is widely understood, respected, and enforced.

Open Architecture Collaborative

Garrett Jacobs


The Open Architecture Collaborative (OAC) is a global learning network mobilizing architects and designers with technical skills to build capacity within communities experiencing systemic marginalization.The organization’s programs bring people from different backgrounds together to cocreate a new narrative of power in our contemporary environment through accomplishing small projects. Programs include the volunteer Chapter Network and Pathways to Equity, a design leadership experience for social equity launched in 2018. All programs support local practitioners working their local communities.

The OAC was born from the network of Architecture for Humanity in 2016 and maintains twenty volunteer chapters located around the globe, with thirteen located in the US. Informed by over fifteen years of volunteer coordination, community project management, and advocacy, the organization identified a need to develop more rigorous training and focus on building resources to help practitioners develop a lens for equitable practice. In order to deepen the impact of community design for everyone from community partners and local residents to designers, all OAC members must develop a better understanding of the systems of oppression that lead to the projects we often undertake.

Pathways for Equity is designed to build an equity lens in design. Supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Curry Stone Foundation, and the Association for Community Design. Pathways to Equity brings together an interdisciplinary cohort of fellows to develop skills such as self-reflective practices and resetting frameworks around privilege, power dynamics, and systemic racism.

The OAC is committed to providing leadership opportunities and programming for those who want to be the change-makers and problem-solvers in the fight for a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable society.

The Memorial for Peace and Justice

Alison Katz


"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
-George Santayana

How we address our history affects how we remember it and frames the lessons we learn from the past. Racial violence is often glossed over in school, watered down in textbooks, and sanitized for white America’s convenience. Many Americans, however, are not privileged enough to be able to ignore this part of American history. Violence and terrorism have haunted black communities, particularly in the South, shaping race relations and power structures through policy and psychology.

All over the United States, organizations like the Ku Klux Klan targeted black Americans with beatings, bombings, lynchings, and other acts of terror to demonstrate their power and to repress the political and economic action and success of black communities. This violence intensified when the Confederacy was defeated in 1865 and continued with increased intensity until the murder of Emmett Till in 1955. It was only after the media coverage of Till’s open casket—a decision made by Till’s mother to display her fourteen-year-old son’s unrecognizably beaten face—that white Americans began to express outrage and call for justice.

MASS Design Group, and Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) created the Memorial for Peace and Justice to finally memorialize the lives lost through these acts of racial terrorism. MASS is a nonprofit architecture firm known for empowering communities through their thoughtful design and work with nonprofits. EJI has been working for twenty-nine years to end mass incarceration, protect the basic human rights of vulnerable communities, and end racial and economic injustice against these groups.

The Memorial for Peace and Justice is sited in Montgomery, Alabama, a city with a vital history in both the civil rights movement and the enslavement of African Americans. Pre-Civil War, Montgomery was one of the largest trading posts for domestically sold slaves. During the Civil Rights movement, it was also the city where Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Freedom Riders were attacked by a mob at the Montgomery Greyhound station in response to their fight to end illegal interstate segregation. John Lewis led an attempted 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery, during which his marchers suffered police brutality on the Edmund Pettus Bridge so vicious that 50 protesters were hospitalized after being severely beaten. While the city had dozens of statues and memorials celebrating its Confederate heritage, it was not until 1990 that the city began to use signage and statues to acknowledge its role in the civil rights movement.

At the memorial entrance is a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” Passing through the gate, an outdoor path walks you through a brief history of the enslavement of Africans, their treacherous voyage to the Americas, emancipation, and the creation of Jim Crow laws. The pathway is lined with written history and accompanying sculptures depicting the physical and emotional struggles of African Americans leading up to Reconstruction.

Approaching the central structure of the memorial, you enter the era of racial terror in America. A roof floats over the square pavilion, with a central courtyard open to the sky. As you circulate through the building, the path descends lower and lower. In the first section, corten steel boxes hang just above the floor. From afar I thought each box represented a single life lost, but to my horror I discovered every box represents a county—one for each county in the United States where a known lynching had taken place. On each box is a list of names that ranged in length. Some boxes contain dozens of names. If a person’s name was unknown, but their death had been recorded, they were listed as “unknown.”

As the path descends, the roof remains at the same level. By the second side of the pavilion, the boxes float above you. While it very literally represented the way many of these lynchings happened, through hangings, it also symbolized two things to me: the weight of the life lost and the feeling that the names where floating towards the sky, towards freedom.

In the third wing, the boxes hang about eight feet from the floor and as the viewer continues to descend, the boxes hang well above them, at about twelve feet. Along the walls are plaques detailing what triggered white Americans to lynch black citizens. People were lynched for reasons that included  registering black voters, refusing to give up their land to white people, asking for a drink of water, complaining about the lynching of a husband, and eloping with a white woman.

The final wing focused on two sentences. The wall read, "Thousands of African Americans are unknown victims of racial terror lynchings whose deaths cannot be documented, many whose names will never be known. They are all honored here.” This wing leads you to the final pathway, which brings you through even more boxes; this is powerful because as you leave the structure you may assume that all of the boxes have been displayed, but there are many more names waiting to be read and acknowledged.

Beyond the final box is a statue of Rosa Parks in celebration of the civil rights victories of the 1950s and 1960s but beyond her, there is another reminder of how much we still must do for civil rights and racial equality. The final stop along the timeline of racial terrorism is a statue of a line of black men with their hands held above their heads, a reminder of the all-too-frequent killing of unarmed black men at the hands of the police, is the final stop along this timeline of racial terrorism. Although mass lynchings no longer take place, last year dozens of unarmed people of color were shot and killed by the police.

The monument forces the viewer to feel and acknowledge the weight of the history. While at times overwhelming, the structure itself was peaceful, calming even. I found myself sitting and thinking about what I had seen, and instead of feeling bogged down by the weight of the subject matter, I felt empowered. What holds many people back from visiting these memorials is the sadness and reflection they must face, but in order to effect change, we must recognize the past and our roles within it.

As a white woman from the Northeast, some may argue that I am not a directly impacted by this history; am I the right person to be reviewing this? People of all backgrounds need to experience this memorial. My experience was drastically different than that of a person whose family has been victims of these crimes, or a person whose family took part in the lynchings. Regardless of background, this memorial should mean something to you. It reminds me of the consequences of apathy and motivates me to engage in the fight against oppression. It reminds me of the innate privilege I have, and how others have suffered and continue to suffer in America due to lack of opportunity, lack of respect, and lack of understanding for those who come from diverse backgrounds. As an architecture student, my profession has been guilty of heinous racism and lack of empathy for underprivileged and diverse peoples. We can either practice through ignorance or thrive by elevating and empowering disenfranchised communities.

The Memorial for Peace and Justice screams for just that: peace and justice. While we may like to believe that this history is behind us, the Equal Justice Initiative reminds us that racial terror and inequality did not end, they just evolved. This memorial gives America a place to publicly express the pain and anguish this truth evokes. EJI also created the Museum of Legacy in Montgomery, which chronicles the evolution of slavery into the current system of mass incarceration.

Future Firm’s Office of the Public Architect

Anastasija Spasovska


Future Firm is a Chicago-based architecture practice founded by Craig Reschke and Ann Lui in 2015. Their work spans a number of disciplines, placing them at the intersection of art, architecture, community engagement practices, and technological innovation. Both founding partners have worked for corporate offices and are involved in academia. After working in offices on mostly foreign, large-scale projects, they started Future Firm to explore how architecture can more methodologically describe and affect the built environment through landscape, culture, and society.

Running in conjunction with the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) challenged fifty Chicago-based architects to rethink underappreciated and underperforming spaces in their city. Showcasing their investigations at the exhibition, “Between States—50 Designers Transform Chicago's Neighborhoods,” the design teams were to identify a physical asset in one of Chicago’s fifty wards that could benefit from a redesign and imagine a way to transition it “between states.” The meaning was twofold: first, propose a way to change the state of an underperforming or dilapidated site into a rejuvenated civic anchor; and second, present an inspiring case study of a similar and successful project from another US state or location outside of Chicago.

Future Firm answered CAF’s call with a proposal for an Office of the Public Architect. Rather than working in a single area of the city, Lui and Reschke took a more systematic approach to the problem. Having recently opened a practice in Chicago, Lui and Reschke were quite open about the type of projects they would take on. Working on standard residential and commercial projects, they started dealing with the practical and mundane problems of their clients. In this period, and to the surprise of its partners, the office started to receive numerous inquiries and requests from Chicago citizens on another type of work: help in resolving building code violations.

The Department Of Building logged over ninety thousand building violations in 2017 alone, according to Chicago’s data portal. About 45 percent of residential field inspections revealed code violations. Building codes go a long way toward ensuring that houses are safe, and it is not uncommon for a building to have multiple violations at the same time. Some building code violations are easy to find, such as missing or defective ground-fault circuit interrupters, handrails without returns, improper bathroom ventilation, missing deck flashing, and misplaced smoke alarms. Other common and potentially dangerous building code violations are hard to locate—and even harder to fix—because they’re buried behind finished walls. These include improper framing, excessively cut and notched studs and joists, shallow insulation depth, improper type and size of electrical wires, and inadequate connections between building materials. The occurrence of building code violations can be an effect of hiring a careless inspector or disreputable builder, or of the house predating current building codes.

In the firm’s experience, professional developers or landlords are not usually the ones who call to ask for help. Homeowners seldom reach out for assistance, and architectural services, in this case, have a different dimension when the payer is an individual client. This led Lui and Reschke to think about what happens when a person cannot afford the architectural services needed to bring their building up to code. Furthermore, Chicago is known for having a problem with empty lots and dilapidated buildings. According to Reschke, owners not being able to resolve their building code violations has directly contributed to the empty lot issue.

“When you commit a crime, if you cannot afford a lawyer, you have the right to a public defender. When issued a building violation, should you also have the right to a public architect? People could go get guidance, get architectural plans, have a way to fix their violations,” Reschke says. Future Firm proposes opening an office that would provide services to those who can’t otherwise afford them.

Future Firm envisions this office as an easy access resource for design, architectural work and bureaucratic building code resolution procedures that would offer a faster, compassionate, and dignified service to its citizens. In regards to prospective employees, they see this office as a good fit for early-career architects to gain on-the-ground experience and a chance for senior designers to engage in community-based work.

There are precedents to pro bono work within the field of architecture. Some architecture offices lend their services for free to communities in need and nonprofit organizations that genuinely cannot afford to pay market rates. Others, such as Public Architecture, serve as a connection between such nonprofits and architects willing to contribute. However, Future Firm’s proposition avoids charity and donations, relying on taxpayer dollars.

Lui and Reschke understand that this concept might seem a bit far-fetched. However, the same was originally said of the idea of a public defender. Clara Foltz, California’s first woman attorney, proposed the idea at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. She saw the public defender as a counterweight to public prosecutors, having equal funding and stature. Though Los Angeles opened a public defender office in 1913, it wasn’t until 1963, in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright, that the Supreme Court decided that states must provide legal counsel for those that cannot afford their own.

Thinking about underutilized space in the framework of CAF’s multi year strategy for Chicago, Future Firm positions the Office of the Public Architect in the unused spaces of post offices. Regarding the post office as a central civic space of society, it would be a perfect fit for the proposal, taking over empty post office windows in a number of wards in the city. From these windows, the public architect could work on behalf of Chicago’s citizens through collective investment in the city’s architecture.

Clara Foltz's idea that “the law should be a shield as well as a sword” grew mainly from her experience representing underprivileged citizens in the western courts. Future Firm’s idea is a big one, but the firm believes it has the political will to achieve it. Examining the existing structures of society in regard to public service and human rights has put this office on the map of activist thinking within the architecture and design industry. We all deserve safer and more humane living spaces—and we all deserve dignified means of achieving them. Projects like this bring us closer, one step at a time.

Sweetwater Spectrum

Je'Nen Chastain

Sweetwater Spectrum_Tim Griffith 1.jpg

Sweetwater Spectrum is a new national model for supportive housing for adults with autism, offering life with purpose and dignity. Created to address a growing national housing crisis for adults with autism, this community for sixteen residents in Sonoma, California integrates autism spectrum-specific design, universal design, and sustainable design strategies. The design welcomes people of all abilities, promotes healthy environments, and reduces energy consumption.

In 2009, a group of families, autism professionals, and community leaders founded the nonprofit organization Sweetwater Spectrum to meet an extraordinary need—appropriate, high-quality, long-term housing for adults with autism. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, affecting 1 in 59 children, yet few residential options exist for adults with autism. To solve this impending housing crisis, Sweetwater Spectrum created a model that could be replicated nationwide.  

The site for the first Sweetwater Spectrum community was located near the historic Sonoma Town Square in Sonoma, California. The program includes four 3,250 square foot four-bedroom homes for residents and their support staff; a 2,300 square foot community center, therapy pool and spas, and an urban farm. The new community provides a supportive environment designed to address the full range of needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorders, maximizing residents’ development and independence.

The project was informed by the latest research into the environmental requirements of this growing population. Research published by the Arizona State University Stardust Center provided evidence-based design goals and guidelines that informed the design of spaces to reduce sensory stimulation. Safety and security are paramount and healthy, durable materials are utilized throughout. The design strategies include clear and calming spatial organization, defined transitions, and opportunities for preview and retreat. The project is a PG&E Zero Net Energy Pilot Project and uses 88 percent less energy than baseline with future capacity to supply all energy onsite. Sweetwater Spectrum is currently working with several groups across the country to replicate this model in other countries.

Ed Roberts Campus

Je'Nen Chastain

The Ed Roberts Campus (ERC) is one of the first buildings of its kind in the nation—opened in 2010 as a community center serving and celebrating the Independent Living /Disabled Rights Movement. Located at a regional transit hub and integrating advanced strategies of Universal Design and Sustainable Design, the ERC is designed to welcome and support people of all abilities.

The Ed Roberts Campus is a nonprofit corporation formed by seven organizations that share a common history in the independent living/civil rights movement of people with disabilities. In 1998, these seven organizations joined together to plan and develop a universally designed, transit-oriented, and environmentally sustainable campus located at the Ashby BART Station in Berkeley. Commemorating the life and work of Edward V. Roberts, an early leader in the independent living movement of persons with disabilities, the ERC is the foremost disability rights service, advocacy, education, training, and policy center in the world.

The ERC is an 85,000 square foot facility designed from the ground up to meet the needs of people with all ability levels. The program includes exhibition space, community meeting rooms, a childcare center for children with disabilities, a fitness center, offices, vocational training facilities, and a café gathered around an enclosed courtyard. A transparent entry façade at the new civic plaza displays a monumental helical ramp inside. The ramp, a major work of public art beneath a skylit rotunda, serves both functional and symbolic roles, expressing the spirit of universal design by providing dramatic access to upper floors for all users.

Guided by the principles of Universal Design—the creation of environments that are equally usable by individuals of all abilities—the project exceeds the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Universal Design strategies and elements were selected to maximize benefits to the broadest variety of users while remaining economical and replicable by others. The ERC is designed as an important community building with a distinct civic presence that celebrates the collective values of its partner organizations. The building acts as both community center and urban threshold, positioning the partner organizations at a major regional transit portal.

Women's Development Corporation

A. Ipek Türeli


Second-wave feminism led to an increasing awareness that US housing was largely built for a nuclear family with a working father and homemaker mother, despite this family structure’s declining prevalence. Feminist design practice began to focus on housing alternatives for the changing family, specifically examining issues of the suburban house. Architects Katrin Adam, Joan Forrester Sprague, and Susan Aitcheson founded the Women’s Development Corporation (WDC) together with Alma Green in 1979 as a response to a major shift in housing policy that allocated governmental spending from direct housing supply to dispersal programs that ranged from community development programs to vouchers.

The WDC’s housing projects in Providence, Rhode Island, featured plan layouts developed based on information gathered through community design workshops with local women in need of better housing. The workshops, which went on for over a year, gave these  low-income women a sense of participation in the design process. Furthermore, earlier projects focused on adaptive reuse of abandoned historic properties and downtown revitalization. Because the units were dispersed, these projects managed to avoid the stigma of living in public housing projects, a quality much appreciated by future residents. The WDC eventually focused its efforts more on real estate management, development, and fundraising.

Once federal grants became harder to obtain, the WDC diversified its target groups to include elderly, disabled, and other marginal groups to tap into other types of local, city, and state funds. Since historic housing stock is not always available, the group also engaged in building new housing that resembles low-income housing.

The architects in the WDC were aware of their relational power in choosing to work with women of different racial and class backgrounds and experiences, but they wanted to build alliances that would challenge the norms of the “male-dominated” built environment and empower both the user groups and themselves as architects. 

A. Ipek Türeli is Canada research chair and assistant professor of architecture at McGill University. She has worked on urban visual culture with geographic focus on the eastern Mediterranean, and more recently on social engagement in the profession, ranging from the longer history of humanitarian architecture, such as that of religious missionaries, to efforts by contemporary designers to contribute to social movements.

The Organization of Lesbian and Gay Architects + Designers

A.L. Hu

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In 1991, the Organization of Lesbian and Gay Architects + Designers (OLGAD) was formed in New York City, originally as a networking collective for job-seeking, political activism, employment harassment support, queer design discourse, and recognition of design contributions from LGBT architects and designers. The national organization’s mission was to reclaim lost history by identifying and recognizing lesbian and gay architects throughout history, identify spaces and places that have significance in the history of lesbian and gay movements, and analyze and define “queer design.” To commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City, OLGAD organized Design Pride ’94, the first International Lesbian and Gay Design Conference, in partnership with Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) and the Elsie de Wolfe Foundation. The exhibit, Design Legacies: A Tribute to Architects and Designers Who Have Died of AIDS, celebrated the talent and contributions of people who lost their lives at the height of their careers.

One of OLGAD’s most well-known public advocacy efforts was A Guide to Lesbian & Gay New York Historical Landmarks, a foldout map of historic lesbian and gay sites in Greenwich Village, Midtown, and Harlem published in 1994. The map broadened the public’s knowledge of LGBTQ place-based history beyond Stonewall. Former OLGAD members Andrew Dolkart and Jay Shockley, along with historian David Carter, through the auspices of Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, wrote the nomination of Stonewall, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000. It was the first and only LGBT-associated site recognized by the federal government for over ten years. Those two listings helped pave the way for the 2016 designation of the Stonewall National Monument by President Obama.

Evolving out of the OLGAD map, preservation committee members Andrew Dolkart, Ken Lustbader, and Jay Shockley officially launched the New York City LGBT Historic Sites Project in August 2015. The project includes a selection of sites from the 1994 map on its interactive website, which covers the five boroughs of New York City with over 140 locations associated with LGBT history. The project is an important resource for the long-unknown history of queer spaces in New York City.

#Roadsidemarker Series: an Interview with Dr. Alyssa Mt. Pleasant

Elsa Hoover

Elsa Matossian Hoover + Alyssa Mt. Pleasant, Central NY Waterway Systems, photograph courtesy of Alyssa Mt. Pleasant, 2017.

Elsa Matossian Hoover + Alyssa Mt. Pleasant, Central NY Waterway Systems, photograph courtesy of Alyssa Mt. Pleasant, 2017.

Dr. Alyssa Mt. Pleasant’s #roadsidemarker series is a personal archive that considers the spatial implications of memorial markers and political signage. As a Tuscarora scholar of Native American and indigenous studies at the University at Buffalo, Dr. Mt. Pleasant’s travel draws her along the highways and backroads of New York State, which has been contested space for over 200 years—and her people’s homeland for much longer.

A 2017 interview between Dr. Mt. Pleasant and myself (an architect) brought this project into architecture’s orbit. #roadsidemarker series’ historical lens, archival approach, and biographical qualities create important points of reference and discussion for architects and spatial thinkers. For the last 18 years, Dr. Mt. Pleasant has watched—and now photographed—signs playing out a microcosmic fight over the future of these lands through historical representation, a fight occurring simultaneously in judicial, academic, public, and commercial spaces along these roads.

This includes:

  • historical markers recalling the violent Sullivan Campaign and land surveys directed by Gen. George Washington (what native people here remember as the invasion);

  • towns, parks, roads, and other places named in ways that represent a long-standing anxiety toward indigenous presence; and

  • political signs contesting the Cayuga Nation’s litigation and earlier landmark legal fight by the Oneida Indian Nation of New York to reclaim land in the region between the 1970s and the first decade of the twenty-first century.

History is directed through physical remembrance along the highways of the Haudenosaunee homeland, some of which is called Upstate New York. Contemporary legal battles resurrect the invasion—and with it a zombified history told by parts, reanimated and made to walk the highway. The spatial experience generated by these signs and their documentation are sites of indigenous memory work that make room for future visual practice by indigenous designers, builders, and communities.

Universal Design

Leslie Kanes Weisman

My work as an activist architectural educator was profoundly shaped by the civil rights, anti-war, environmental, women's, and disability rights movements of the 1960s and ’70s. I began teaching in a traditional school of architecture in 1968, and in the ’70s I co-founded the Women’s School of Planning and Architecture (WSPA). In the ’80s, I participated in protest marches with friends and colleagues in the disability community, whose years of persistent activism eventually resulted in the passage of the Americans With Disability Act (ADA) in 1990. The ADA was a sweeping piece of civil rights legislation that, among other requirements, mandated access to public buildings and spaces for people with disabilities by removing physical barriers. The universal design movement grew in the US in the early ’90s to incorporate and build upon minimal access codes by embracing a human-centered approach to design that strove to create inclusive products and spatial environments with the same level of comfort, accessibility, and assistance to users of all ages, cultures, abilities, and lifestyles.

In 2004, to promote universal design education and practice, Elaine Ostroff and I created a free online slide presentation with full lecture notes called “Tools for Introducing Human-Centered Design.” This teaching unit compared the civil rights, disability rights, and universal design movements; illustrated the principles of universal design in several design disciples, including architecture and planning; and included a user-friendly building survey that, for the first time in one form, included universal design performance criteria, ADA requirements for public buildings, and sustainable design principles. That same year, Ostroff and I also made available online the “Universal Design Building Survey” for architects, planners, facilities managers, and others to use to conduct post-occupancy evaluations of users’ experiences of public spaces across the spectrum of age and ability.

Leslie Kanes Weisman is Professor Emerita of Architecture at the NJIT and the author of Discrimination by Design (1992), “Diversity by Design: Feminist Reflections on the Future of Architectural Education and Practice,” in The Sex of Architecture (1996), and “Creating the Universally Designed City: Prospects for the New Century,” the epilogue to the Universal Design Handbook (2001).

Accessible Design

Karen Braitmayer

Karen Braitmayer in practice, photograph courtesy of Karen Braitmayer, date unknown.

Karen Braitmayer in practice, photograph courtesy of Karen Braitmayer, date unknown.

Specialization and Service

When I moved to Seattle after my first job, I thought I just wanted to be an architect—an average architect. Then a very kind architect told me, “there are a lot of good architects—focus on the unique perspective you can bring to the profession. That might be disability.”

I didn’t see the value in that, but as I started working at a large firm, I was going to my friends’ work desks and thinking, “Oh, that design is not a good idea.” I began to realize that if I was going to make those comments, I needed to know what I was talking about. I started taking some classes, and I discovered I really loved to help people make their projects more accessible.

I had the opportunity to start a firm twenty years ago, and I decided that one of our services would be accessibility support. When my partner retired from the firm, we stopped doing traditional architectural services altogether and decided to only do accessibility consulting.

My involvement with the code development process in Washington state, along with my participation as a member of the US Access Board, helps me understand the intent behind the codes and standards. I think of myself as a cultural ambassador; I help architects understand not only the letter of the law but why it’s beneficial for somebody who uses a mobility device or doesn’t have full vision or hearing. Having eighteen inches clear on the pull side of a door, for instance. Why eighteen inches? Why not twenty or fourteen? Explaining about how a wheelchair user approaches at an angle and needs enough room for their footrest outside of the door swing gives designers the knowledge that allows them to use their design skills to make good decisions.

People ask to see pictures of my accessibility work all the time, but my work is meant to go unseen. Most of my input is in tweaking a design and supporting the architect’s original vision. About sixty-five percent of our work is multifamily housing, and that is because that project type has complex accessibility regulations with a lot of overlapping language. In the last year, we’ve been asked to work on more projects where we look at existing buildings and remove barriers to review compliance. Really, what we’re trying to do is make good design decisions and support a full range of humans who want to use and feel welcome in our buildings. If you don’t understand how people interact with the building, it’s hard to get the design right.

In my tenure on the Access Board, there have been several other licensed architects, including Michael Graves, prior to his passing. There are other people who provide accessibility consulting services but have different backgrounds; there are people who represent disability organizations; there are many, many others.

Experiences in education and early career

Except for too-high desks, I never really dealt with any challenges from being a wheelchair user in architectural school at the University of Houston. The first day of studio, a bunch of my classmates looked at me and looked at the desk, which was at stool height, and decided that wasn’t going to work. They went out and bought a bunch of two-by-fours and built me a lower desk. I had very supportive classmates.

The next big hurdle was trying to get a job. The difficulty with trying to get employment when you’re a wheelchair user, especially in the ’80s, before the Americans with Disabilities Act, is that people did not expect that a wheelchair user could even do the job. They imagine an architect must to be able to climb a ladder and wield the hammer on a job site, and that was certainly not a good fit for me. If I went in for an interview and the interviewer’s jaw hit the floor, I would say thanks and leave and try again at another firm. At that time, you had to look for the right open-minded employer; now the laws are different. I think it would be easier to show your skills first, rather than deal with misconceptions up front. I have both felt marginalized and have benefited from my unique perspective. I didn't have the same job opportunities as my peers, but I turned my worldview into a service I could provide for other architects.

Pressing Issues in Design

Equal and substantial access to our environment by people with disabilities is a pressing issue in design—then and now. To young people with disabilities, I say: be an architect. Become a accessibility consultant. Architecture is one of the few careers where you can influence the built environment for the better and shape what you understand about people’s needs. If you see a gap in what is being provided, you have a chance to fill that with your ideas and solutions. You have the the opportunity to impact your community.

I am increasingly aware of the lack of inclusion and equal access in education, the workforce, and access to technology and housing. Up until November of last year, I would have said we were moving forward in all sorts of areas, though there’s certainly more work to do. There’s a lot of focus on accessibility for technology, communication technology, and how the rapid advancement of technology is continuing to support and engage people with disabilities. Since the administration changed, all bets are off. We don’t know what is going to happen. Now we might be in a pause period—where we’re trying to just maintain the rights that we have. And in architecture, people with disabilities are in a minority that is often overlooked when people talk about diversifying the profession.

Karen L. Braitmayer, FAIA, is the founder of her own accessible design consulting company in Seattle, Washington. In her position as an accessibility expert, she advises architectural firms, developers, and government agencies at the local and state level on how to implement and improve building code and accessibility for all users. Karen also served as chair of the federal Access Board, where she is currently a public member.

Whitney Young's Address to the AIA

Margaret Phalen & Tyler Rukick

Whitney Young Jr. Speaking to AIA National Convention, The American Institute of Architects Archive, Washington D.C., 1968

Whitney Young Jr. Speaking to AIA National Convention, The American Institute of Architects Archive, Washington D.C., 1968

As Whitney Young Jr., executive director of the National Urban League, stood at the podium at the 1968 American Institute of Architects (AIA) national convention in Portland, Oregon, he gazed upon a sea of almost entirely white, male faces. He saw an AIA that appeared unfazed by the changing world, and he seized the opportunity to start a conversation that carries to this day.

“One need only take a casual look at this audience to see that we have a long way to go in this field,” he told a crowd containing some of the most prominent figures in architecture. “You are not a profession that has distinguished itself by your social and civic contributions to the cause of civil rights…You are most distinguished by your thunderous silence.”

Young was frustrated with the growth of stark high-rise housing projects that towered above the nation’s toughest urban neighborhoods. For him, these “vertical slums” marked a failure for city governments and the field of architecture as a whole.

“I can’t help but wonder about an architect who designs some of the public housing that I see in the cities of this country,” he said. “That architects as a profession wouldn’t as a group stand up and say something about this is disturbing to me.”

But as he wrapped up his fiery speech, Young offered a way forward—a dedicated scholarship program aimed at reshaping the profession and the communities it serves.

In the weeks following Young's speech, AIA officials formed a task force on equal opportunity that would open the profession to minority groups and develop architecture programs to improve lives in impoverished urban neighborhoods.

Margaret Phalen is the manager of the Octagon Museum; she has been working with the Architects Foundation since 2014. She is interested in the ways cultural heritage institutions engage communities, and the ways in which people are impacted by, and interact with history. Visit

Tyler Rudick is a writer and graphic designer currently based in the Chicago area. Through his small agency, Valley House Design, he works closely with design groups and nonprofits to communicate their mission and vision. Clients in recent years include the American Institute of Architects, the Art Newspaper, the Menil Collection.Visit

The New Alchemy Institute

Meredith Gaglio

The New Alchemy Institute was an environmentalist organization, established in 1970 by Nancy Jack Todd, John Todd, and William McLarney to develop prototypical ecological technologies that would promote self-sufficiency and sustainability. John Todd and McLarney were marine biologists alarmed at the ecological and social impact of contemporary pollution on the ecosystems they researched. Their Institute, with outlets in Cape Cod, Prince Edward Island, and Costa Rica, pursued what John Todd referred to as both “new alchemy” and the less mystical “biotechnology,” creating research centers as sites for scientifically-supported experimentation into economically and environmentally sustainable systems that could be broadly implemented.

For John Todd, alchemy was a fitting analogy for the work he and his partners undertook. The New Alchemists believed that a restoration of environmental well-being required comprehensive, fundamental changes in the current societal structure, and their small-scale experiments in alternative energy production, organic agriculture, aquaculture, and self-sufficient building were alchemical phases in an ultimate global transmutation. Such an approach reversed the technocratic program of mainstream society, which favored provisional, low-cost substitutions and ever-changing technological “fixes” in response to ecological difficulties. The New Alchemy Institute (NAI) replaced such unsustainable practices with small-scale, simple, and nonviolent “appropriate” technologies (AT) espoused by British economist E. F. Schumacher in his seminal book, Small is Beautiful (1972).

The New Alchemy Institute East (NAE), the Alchemists’ twelve-acre farm in Woods Hole, MA, quickly became the experimental epicenter of the organization, the site upon which the researchers would execute their first bioshelter designs, develop self-sustaining aquaculture systems, and test biodynamic, holistic agricultural theories. From New Alchemy East, the contingent would also publish articles, newsletters, and the Journal of the New Alchemists; apply for countless grants; and host AT icons, journalists, and curious passersby.

A sixteen-acre Costa Rica-based center, the New Alchemy Institute South America (NAISA), situated in the coastal Limón province, was established by McLarney and fellow Alchemist, Susan Ervin, in 1975. During its first two years, NAISA experienced more setbacks than victories as its staff adjusted to the new physical and social ecologies of the region. However, by 1977 they had resolved such issues: together they had erected a house, successfully cultivated traditional produce, and established fruitful relationships with their neighbors. The Costa Rican center prospered and still exists today, as the Asociación ANAI.

Concurrent with its pioneering research in Costa Rica, the NAI embarked upon an alternate alchemical endeavor on Prince Edward Island, Canada. In 1974, the Canadian Ministry of Urban Affairs invited the Institute to submit a proposal for a biotechnological demonstration project to be built the following year as part of the country’s Urban Demonstration United Nations Human Settlement Program. A departure from the sprawling campuses of the Cape Cod and Costa Rica farms, the Prince Edward Island outpost was a single, fully integrated unit: a self-sufficient “world in miniature” that wove together renewable energy systems, polycultural facilities, and residential space.1 Similar to Noah’s Ark, the “PEI Ark” internalized organic structures as a response to a potentially devastating ecological threat, but conversely, the NAI’s proposal offered a symbiotic alternative to global collapse. If reproduced throughout the northern hemisphere in place of inefficient suburban housing, the New Alchemists theorized, this domestic bioshelter could check further environmental decline and even reverse some of the social, economic, and ecological crises facing Western nations. The demonstration model served as a beacon for a wiser future, yet its complexity and high cost rendered it an inappropriate solution for most of the population. Thus, the PEI Ark, which was closed and sold by the Canadian government in 1981, remained the only of its kind and the last residential bioshelter attempted by the Institute.

Following the frenetic productivity of the early to mid-1970s—during which the NAI successfully founded three distinct compounds, created multiple bioshelters, and developed aquacultural facilities and biodynamic outdoor gardens—the organization began to prioritize the maintenance and evaluation of completed and ongoing ventures over new construction in 1977. From a scientific perspective, the Institute had a methodological imperative to collect and analyze data related to these various projects, and so it adapted its work toward the tacit mandate. After almost nine years of relentless effort, such concrete validation relieved, to a certain degree, the formative urgency of New Alchemy; having met its initial objectives, the collaborative devoted itself to monitoring its impressive portfolio of built work.

From late 1976 onward, many members of NAI East redirected their energy to those less appraisable sorts of appropriate technologies such as public education and environmental activism. Educating the public on the benefits of clean, safe solar and wind energy systems was crucial to effect national or even global change, and inspiring antinuclear sentiment would prove equally significant. In the following years the Alchemists trained in community organization and established summer school education programs for elementary school-aged children, among many other efforts.

In the early 1980s, John Todd departed as the executive director of the Institute, and McLarney began to spend an increasing amount of time at NAISA, disconnected from New Alchemy East. Without the founding biologists, the Woods Hole cohort began to focus almost entirely on educational outreach. By concentrating solely on education, the Eastern New Alchemists abandoned many of the foundational principles of the Institute: the objectives of biotechnology disappeared from their work; the communal-libertarian philosophy essential to the NAI’s early success became irrelevant; the mystical component of the alchemical project was discarded; and scientific experimentation ceased for the most part. Untethered from these bedrocks and from its sister projects in Costa Rica and Prince Edward Island, the Eastern outpost was the NAI in name only.

Over the course of two decades, the NAI’s seminal microcosmic adventure transformed into a more conservative project. The remaining Alchemists dissolved the Institute in 1991, creating a new nonprofit organization, The Green Center, on the Cape Cod site. This new foundation maintained New Alchemy’s original mission statement—to “restore the land, protect the seas, and inform the Earth’s stewards”—but reframed its role in meeting those objectives, emphasizing the informational component of the slogan as the primary method by which the Center might accomplish environmental restoration and protection.

1 J. Todd, “A World in Miniature,” The Journal of the New Alchemists 3 (1976): 54.

Interval Projects

Benedict Clouette & Marlisa Wise

Butte Map.jpg

Architecture has perhaps been too magnetized toward a future-to-come—when now is the only time we have.

Now could be a time for architects to rethink the structures we build that support our own engagement with social, political, and ecological realities. How do the ways that we practice design within the profession and academy affect the buildings, landscapes, and cities that architects produce? We explore these questions in our own practice by working through two separate but affiliated entities: a nonprofit design advocacy collaborative—Interval Projects—and a for-profit design company—Interval Office. We are now in conversations with a group of friends to transition Interval Office into a worker-owned cooperative business in order to bring democratic governance and equitably shared profits into the traditionally hierarchical design firm model. We see this as an opportunity to work on the structures by which inequalities are reproduced in the field by offering a radically horizontal, anti-oppressive model of design practice.

Partisan Communities

For a long time, we hesitated to use the word “community” in our work, since it is so often abused and devalued by being conflated with an idea of abstract, universal good. Communities—and cities—are defined by contestation, not by homogeneity. In our work, we want to pick sides and support partisan communities, rather than claiming the position of design in the “public interest” or for “public good.”

Our design for the Silver Bow Creek Headwaters Park in Butte, Montana, is a master planning project commissioned by the Restore Our Creek Coalition, an all-volunteer environmental justice organization. The site is located at the headwaters of a watershed—the largest Superfund site in America—where twentieth-century smelting operations contaminated a twenty-six-mile-long portion of the watershed and left the groundwater unfit for human consumption. It is a highly visible, highly contaminated public space in the heart of downtown Butte that has been the site of passionate environmental organizing for decades. We brought together public feedback and expert technical input with our own research and design process to produce a master plan for the restoration of the landscape and the provisioning of a public park and recreation area. We temporarily relocated our small office to Butte during the design process, working in donated office space, attending community meetings and events, facilitating design workshops, and living in the house of a coalition member. The resulting master plan has been successful in advancing the Superfund negotiation process, as the parties announced an agreement in principle this January after decades of stalled discussions and closed-door meetings. The EPA regional administrator began his public announcement by holding up a copy of the Silver Bow Creek Headwaters Park project book, assuring the community that the agreement was built around their desires as articulated through the Headwaters Park master plan. The EPA has set 2024 as the target date for the cleanup, and plans made public in February will allow treated water from a nearby source to flow into the restored Silver Bow Creek.

Spaces Beyond Property

An important consideration for our work as architects and urbanists is how ownership structures affect access, control, and autonomy in the buildings and landscapes that we design.

Our design for the Ranch on Rails in Long Island City, Queens, is a landscape project located on the site of the Montauk Cutoff, a decommissioned railroad spur owned by the MTA where a group of guerrilla gardeners have built a thriving community garden. In late 2015, the MTA put out a call requesting ideas for the use of the site, and the gardeners (Smiling Hogshead Ranch) pulled together a coalition of local businesses, nonprofits, community organizations, and area residents to envision a use for the site that would incorporate their garden. We were commissioned by this group, the Cutoff Coalition, and collaborated with the community land access advocacy group 596 Acres to visualize the coalition’s plans for the site. We synthesized the input from multiple working groups into a cohesive master plan for a self-powered urban farm and resiliency lab, featuring green infrastructure, rainwater catchment, communal spaces, educational gardens, clean energy generation, and an amphitheater. The proposal brings together nature, community, and industry on a postindustrial site, and encourages common stewardship of open space and the preservation of a rare oasis of communal space in New York City. The Ranch on Rails design allowed the gardeners to prevail over real estate interests in the process initiated by the MTA. It also forms a key element of the recently released Newtown Creek Revitalization Plan. The Coalition is currently negotiating land access and fundraising strategies in order to implement the full design, and in the meantime they are planning their upcoming season of “cultivating the commons,” growing vegetables and community together.

Collective Autonomy

Design for collective autonomy considers how communities live and work together and assert the right to make decisions about the spaces they occupy. Rather than seeing autonomy and collectivity as opposed, such that group structures and individual freedoms have to reach some accommodation, we see collectivity as creating the shared power necessary for autonomy.

Our schematic design for Flux Factory in Queens aims to preserve and expand their nonprofit art space and residency program by renovating their existing facilities and expanding vertically. The design takes a playful approach to the existing complexity of two adjacent buildings connected via their party walls, where the varying heights of floor plates creates a complex industrial vernacular raumplan. The design emphasizes programmatic porosity, maximizes allowable square footage, and takes advantage of the mixed-use zoning district to create both residential and commercial uses within the building. Courtyards bring light and air deep into the plan while creating shared outdoor spaces for both informal gathering and public exhibitions. Cross-programming and unusual adjacencies are essential to the collaborative ethos of the institution, and the design preserves and expands upon these patterns of collective use.

When architects work with cultural institutions as clients, we must consider how artists are valued and compensated by those institutions and how the institutions are positioned within a larger cultural economy and processes of displacement. In order to preserve community spaces such as Flux Factory for long-term affordability, we volunteer with the New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative (NYCREIC), which utilizes crowd-investing to secure permanently affordable commercial spaces and create community land trusts in New York City. Flux Factory is now in dialogue with the NYCREIC to explore how crowd-investing could enable the purchase of their building and the creation of a community land trust on the site, fully removing the property from the speculative real estate market and thus ensuring permanent affordability and creative freedom.