MoMA To Go House Hunting in the Burbs

National
Monday, April 25, 2011
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(Courtesy The Washington Independent)

The foreclosure crisis has up-ended old assumptions about the relative prosperity of cities versus suburbs. In many regions waves of foreclosures have hit the suburbs hardest. In the second iteration of their “Issues in Contemporary Architecture” residency and exhibition series, MoMA and P.S. 1 will ask five teams to design interventions for five “megaregions” facing high levels of foreclosures. Like the earlier iteration, Rising Currents, the new project, Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream will include a residency and public workshops at P.S. 1, followed by an exhibition and public programs at MoMA. Organized by Barry Bergdoll, chief curator for architecture and design, and Reinhold Martin, director of the Buell Center at Columbia, Foreclosed “will enlist five interdisciplinary teams of architects to envision a rethinking of housing and related infrastructures that could catalyze urban transformation, particularly in the country’s suburbs,” according to a statement from the museum.

The five multi-disciplinary teams will be led by Dan Wood and Amale Andros of WORKac, who will work on the Portland, Oregon region; New York’s Michael Bell will examine Temple Terrace, Florida; Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang will focus on Cicero, Illinois; Hilary Sample and Michael Meredith have been assigned The Oranges in New Jersey, while Andrew Zago of Zago Architecture will work on Rialto, California.

The teams will use a recent housing studies by the Buell Center as the grounding research for their work. “The museum will act as a kind of handmaiden for taking a body of research into form,” Bergdoll told AN. “Images can inform the nascent national conversation.” Bergdoll notes that the foreclosure crisis is still unfolding, and that many plans that could be leveraged to improve the situation, such as the national High-Speed Rail network, are being scaled back. The teams will likely propose housing, infrastructure, and landscape interventions.

In a move tailor-made to generate conversation, during the launch of the workshop phase on May 7, “team leaders will present their approaches and a round table will offer a debate between various models of thinking about replanning suburbia, including that represented by the Congress of New Urbanism,” according to a release from the museum.

While Rising Currents attempted to address local conditions resulting from global problems, Foreclosed will address a national problem through an examination of five distinct sites across the country. “We expect the project to parallel the best intentions of the current administration,” Bergdoll said. Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream will open at MoMA on January 31, 2012.

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