| Feb 3, 2012 |
MoMA rethinks architectural possibilities around foreclosures
Boh staff
By Staff

Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream, a major initiative to examine new architectural possibilities for American cities and suburbs in the context of the recent foreclosure crisis in the United States, culminates in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art opening February 15.

The exhibition features five interdisciplinary teams of architects who have developed proposals that offer inventive ways of thinking about the relationships among land, housing, infrastructure, urban form, and public spaces, for five sites across the country near New York; Chicago; Tampa; Los Angeles; and Portland, Oregon located in metropolitan areas that lie within a corridor between two major cities. These cities have characteristics that make them particularly pertinent to nationwide challenges associated with the international financial downturn, including a significant rate of foreclosure, and a considerable amount of publicly held land available for development.

Led by principals at MOS Architects, Studio Gang, WORKac, Visible Weather, and Zago Architecture, the teams were each assigned a site within a U.S. megaregion, then developed proposals to address the issue of foreclosure in each area during the initiative’s workshop phase at MoMA PS1 from May to September 2011. Each team engaged in a cross-disciplinary conversation, analyzing and eventually imagining the redesign of their specific sites, from older east coast suburbs with rail connections to newer subdivisions accessible only by highway. During this initial phase, they discussed their projects with the public in a series of open studios. To follow the progress of proposals developed through the workshop phase, visit MoMA’s Inside/Out blog.

Models, drawings, renderings, animations, and analytical materials outline the following projects: Garden in the Machine (Cicero, Illinois); Nature-City (Keizer, Oregon); Thoughts on a Walking City (Orange, New Jersey);  Property with Properties (Rialto, California); Simultaneous City (Temple Terrace, Florida).

The teams developed proposals based on the ideas drawn from The Buell Hypothesis, which envisions a rethinking of housing and related infrastructures that could catalyze urban transformation, particularly in the American suburbs.

"MoMA has always aspired to be a showcase for the most significant and creative architecture and design work being done today...but there are times when it can also take the lead to serve as a catalyst to invite architects and designers to work in new ways on the most pressing issues of our times,” said Barry Bergdoll, MoMA's Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, who co-conceived the exhibition. “Often these challenges are not posed by everyday commissions. Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream invited new dialogues between the disciplines that shape our environments in suburbs and cities, as well as between the financial and physical architectures of housing, transport, and daily life. Questioning outdated assumptions, the designs in turn invite new discussions about a territory too often ignored by the design professions and too often leapfrogged by developers—the first ring suburbs of major cities. These projects suggest more sustainable, more equitable, futures, filled with optimism for places where that is often in short supply."

"The foreclosure crisis revealed a crisis of the imagination that has delayed an urgently needed conversation about the default settings of the ‘American Dream’ and its most visible symbol, the suburban house. These projects can help start such a conversation," said Reinhold Martin, Director of Columbia University's Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, who also co-conceived the exhibition.

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