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Final Thesis Presentation

May 19, 2011
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Site Model

Sectional Model


Marcel Breuer and Postwar America

March 12, 2011

Last semester I worked with Barry Bergdoll and Jonathan Massey on the exhibit Marcel Breuer and Postwar America for an SU seminar.  The exhibit opened in February followed by a series of gallery talks about the lines of interpretation and working directly with the Marcel Breuer archive at Syracuse University Bird Library.  The exhibit can be seen at the Syracuse University School of Architecture Slocum Hall Gallery.

Curation: Barry Bergdoll (The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the MoMA) & Syracuse Architecture Professor Jonathan Massey, with students

Installation Design: Jonathan Lott of PARA-Project

Graphic Design: Brett Snyder of Cheng+Snyder (*see Phantom City interview)

For more information:

Gentrification in Berlin

March 8, 2011

Cheap rents and urban glamour have attracted trend-seekers from around the world to central Berlin neighborhoods such as Kreuzberg and Neukölln. But it is the current residents who are paying the price of gentrification. They are being pushed out to high-rise developments on the edge of the city, where poverty and violence are part of daily life.

Graphic from Der Spiegel

Great article at Der Spiegel, helping justify an argument towards an architectural response to gentrification:,1518,748532,00.html

2 Scales of Design: Circulation Network + Node

February 23, 2011

Circulation Arteries through existing site and developer's plan

Subway/Retail/Fashion Node Collage

In the words of Charles Renfro

January 14, 2011

“We’re all about the public realm…like taking what has historically been at Lincoln Center an elitist institution and democratizing that institution through the use of architecture and design. Breaking down the physical barriers through glass and transparency, but also digitally and through media, providing glimpses into places that are usually not glimpsable. In that regard, we encourage people to behave badly.” – Charles Renfro (Diller Scofidio + Renfro)

Gentrification (Thesis Prep Excerpt)

January 11, 2011
Tompkins Square Riot, New York City, 1988, Ángel Franco/The New York Times

There is not a clear solution to the predicament of gentrification. However, there may be ways to spatialize an existing behavior with a certain set of constituents while allowing for the unstoppable force of commercialization and subsequent privatization to take its course. This can be termed as spatial diplomacy. There are various dialectical trajectories for this negotiation. One could approach the site through discourse (heterogeneity), singularity (homogeneity), or debate (hypergeneity).

This thesis chooses a spatial diplomacy of hypergeneity and confrontation. Deliberate tension between various users and programs promotes a subversive negotiation. In this case, the artist squatters at Tacheles exist with the commercial users to illustrate that they are needed for commercial gentrification. Without them, the Mitte area of Berlin would not be nearly as desirable a destination. This type of situation is common in urban environments around the world. In Neil Smith’s “New City, New Frontier” (in Michael Sorkin’s “Variations On A Theme Park” compilation about the proliferation of privatized and commodified urban spaces), he discusses the Manifest Destiny phenomenon of the Americanized commercial obliteration effect:

“…the processes and forces reshaping the new city are global as much as local. Gentrification and homelessness in the new city are a microcosm of a new global order etched by the rapacity of capital. Not only are broadly similar processes remaking cities around the world, but the world itself impinges dramatically on these localities. The gentrification frontier is also an ‘imperial frontier’” (Sorkin 91-92).

Theories developed saying that the Lower East Side landlords lowered the rent in the early 1980s to attract artists to make the area vibrant, only to inflate the rent once the area was “gentrified” just enough for developers to make a profit.  The medieval economic theory of Gresham’s Law -“Bad money drives out good”- sums up this process. Similar to New York City’s Lower East Side, the squatter artists at Tacheles gentrified the Mitte area to the point where developers want to further “gentrify” or obliterate what exists. The Marxist dialectic of class struggle as central to social and economic life is clearly at play in this particular process. In Walter Benjamin’s Arcade Project, the flâneur, prostitute, and sandwichman’s existence is threatened when their physical space is threatened (Hanssen 35). In order to move forward in a non-utopian world and lessen the social divide, the two forces -being the status quo and commercialization must coexist in order to the challenge the momentum of the new urban Manifest Destiny.

Thesis Prep Final Pin-Up

January 11, 2011
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