Freedom of Assembly and Public Space Today

Reports from the Field by • 09/26

A lively panel with audience participation made for a thoughtful Sunday morning discussion on the relationship between architecture, urban design, and the use of public space.

Laura Trimble

Event: Freedom Of Assembly, Public Space Today, Part 3
Location: Center for Architecture, 09.16.12
Organizers: The Center for Architecture, City College of New York School of Architecture, and Pratt Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment.
Welcome: Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director, American Institute of Architects New York Chapter; Lynne Elizabeth, Director, New Village Press
Moderator: David Burney, FAIA, Commissioner, New York City Department of Design + Construction
Speakers: Roland Anglin, Faculty Fellow, Director and Associate Research Professor, The Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies, Rutgers University; Joan Byron, Director of Policy, Pratt Center for Community Development; Daniel Latorre, VP, Digital Placemaking, Project for Public Spaces; Signe Nielsen, FASLA, Principal, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects; Michael Pyatok, FAIA, Principal, Pyatok Architects; Quilian Riano, Founder, DSGN AGNC
Closing Remarks: Ron Shiffman, FAICP, Professor, Pratt Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment; Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, ACSA, Distinguished Professor, Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York

Last year the Center for Architecture initiated a series of discussions titled Freedom of Assembly, the first of which, in December 2011, was a swift reflection upon the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. Last Sunday was the third panel of the series that accompanied an exhibition entitled “Beyond Zuccotti Park.” The exhibition, in turn, is derived from a book by the same name. In all, the Center has become a forum for one of the most relevant intersections of occupy-thinking and standard architecture and planning practices.

Engaging us this time were activists, designers, and city planners. Rick Bell and Lynne Elizabeth, director of the New Village Press, opened the event with a discussion about what should be done now, a year after the occupation. New Village Press is a subsidiary of ADPSR (Architects Designers & Planners for Social Responsibility).

Joan Byron argued that European city master plans be used as a model – and that New York should have one (this city’s most recent comprehensive master plan dates to 1969). She suggested that the Bloomberg Administration’s recent plaNYC 2030, technically not a master plan, favors established interests. NYC Department of Design + Construction Commissioner David Burney, FAIA, who moderated the event, described the capacity of the city government to transform public space. He cited recent and future developments in Times Square and the Department of Transportation’s creation of bike lanes.

Michael Pyatok, FAIA, of Oakland-based Pyatok Architects, showed his firm’s design of the plaza in front of Oakland, California’s City Hall; New Yorkers in the room noted the lack of an open and accessible public square outside of our own city hall. Signe Nielsen, FASLA, while initially supporting the open expression at Zuccotti Park, described her sense that the proliferation of tents represented a misuse of public space, Pyatok said the Oakland Occupation suited the space. He designed the amphitheater-like steps as “the living room” and the adjoining lawn as “the people’s mattress” – useable metaphors for a livable city.

Quilian Riano spoke about “politics as design and design as politics,” describing his efforts to analyze spaces of conflict in whOWNSpace, a project documenting “work-shopping” public spaces (especially privately owned public spaces, or POPS) in New York. whOWNSpace identifies potential sites for public space within cities.

Daniel Latorre, a software designer who works at Project for Public Space, was perhaps the panelist closest to the Occupy movements. He is part of Occupy Town Square, self-described on its Facebook page as “Mobile, daytime outreach occupations, held in parks and other public spaces around NYC, building the movement for economic, social, and environmental justice.”

Ideas presented and debated at the three-hour long session described the potential role of municipal government in commissioning public spaces that could be designed to encourage open dialogue and participatory democracy. There was no consensus, however, that a design solution could be created, despite Pyatok’s example, in response to social movements. The ability of architects, landscape architects and urban designers to plan spaces is limited by the terms of engagement. Closing remarks by Ron Shiffman, Hon. AIANY and Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, also among the editors of the book, were more upbeat, noting the value of the dialogue about the design of public space in advancing issues of social justice.

Comments are closed.

Waterproofing of the facade system and roof at 540 West 26th Street for Savanna. Design Architect: Morris Adjmi. Rendering: Morris Adjmi.
Featured Member: Howard Zimmerman Elevated to AIA College of Fellows Featured Member
From left: Signe Nielsen, RLA, FASLA; Cynthia Rosenzweig; Susanne Desroches; Jeffrey Raven, FAIA, LEED BD+C; and Jee Mee Kim, AICP. Photo: Center for Architecture.
Climate Change in NYC: Bridging Science and Practice At the Center for Architecture
From left: Peter Lampen, AIA; Luke Surowiec, LEED AP; Steven Winter, FAIA; John Lee, AIA. Photo: Center for Architecture.
A Closer Look at 80×50 Initiative’s NYC Retrofit Accelerator Program At the Center for Architecture
Courtesy of the Center for Active Design.
Policy Pulse: FitCity 2017 Lands in Queens Policy Pulse
Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Astoria, Queens, NY. Somvanshi’s role: Associate, Project Manager and On-site Supervisor. Firm: Ennead Architects (previously Polshek Partnership). Photo: Jeff Goldberg/Esto.
Featured Member: Kalavati Somvanshi Elevated to AIA College of Fellows Featured Member
Robert Michael Kliment, FAIA. Courtesy of Kliment Halsband Architects.
Robert Michael Kliment, FAIA (1933 – 2017) In Memoriam
Museum of Modern Art  east section renovation by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler. Credit: Iwan Baan
In the News In The News
Names in the News Names in the News
09.17.17: Call for Entries: 2017 AIANY COTE Awards
New Deadlines New Deadlines
Lurie House by Kaneji Domoto, featured in "“Kaneji Domoto at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia,” opening 06.22.17. Credit: Thad Russell
On View On View
Classifieds Classifieds
New York City Police Academy by Perkins + Will. Photo: Courtesy of Perkins + Will.
Featured Member: Michael Plottel Elevated to AIA College of Fellows Featured Member
AIANY Opposes Paris Climate Accord Exit From the Desk of the President
Manhattan Districts 1/2/5 Garage and Salt Shed by Dattner Architects and WXY architecture + urban design, 2016 Building of the Day. Credit: Center for Architecture
Call for Archtober Buildings of the Day New Deadlines
Upper East Side residence by Gabellini Sheppard, New York. Photo: Paul Warchol.
Michael Gabellini, FAIA, Delivers AIANY 2017 Gil Oberfield Lecture At the Center for Architecture
AIANY representatives at AIA New York State's "Architects in Albany Advocacy Day." Credit: Center for Architecture
Policy Pulse: 2017 Architects in Albany Advocacy Day Policy Pulse
Families make collages of their dream playgrounds. Credit: Center for Architecture
Draw, Design, Build! NYU Teams Up with the Center for Architecture for Family Programming Learning by Design
Weill Hall at Cornell University, Ithica, NY. Photo: Scott Frances.
Featured Member: Renny Logan Elevated to AIA College of Fellows Featured Member
The Shed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group.
In the News In The News
Names in the News Names in the News
New Deadlines New Deadlines
Siegel House by Kaneji Domoto, featured in “Kaneji Domoto at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonia,” opening 06.22.17. Credit: Thad Russell
On View On View
Classifieds Classifieds
AIANY 2017 President David Piscuskas, FAIA, at the National Summit on Design and Urban Mobility. Credit: Center for Architecture
Are We Ready for Autonomous Vehicles? From the Executive Director
Reflections at Keppel Bay in Keppel Bay, Singapore. Photo: Keppel Bay Pte Ltd.
Featured Member: Daniel Libeskind Elevated to AIA College of Fellows Featured Member
Join us for FitCity 2017! Hunter's Point South Waterfront Park by Thomas Balsley Associates and WEISS/MANFREDI. Credit: Albert Vecerka/Esto.
Policy Pulse: FitCity 2017 Policy Pulse
Speakers of "Hesitation and Constraints: Barriers to Social Research in Practice." Credit: Center for Architecture
Social Sciences, Good for Your Bottom Line and Society At the Center for Architecture
The Quad Cinema, renovated by Projects Design Associates with rebrand by Pentagram. Credit: Marion Curtis / StarPix.
In the News In The News
Names in the News Names in the News
New Deadlines New Deadlines
"Architecture of Independence - African Modernism" closes on 05.27.17. Credit: Sam Lahoz
On View On View
Classifieds Classifieds
Claremont University Consortium, Claremont, CA. Photo: Michael Moran.
Featured Member: Paul Lewis Elevated to AIA College of Fellows Featured Member
Diane Lewis at a Design IV review, Fall 2008
In Memoriam: Diane Lewis, AIA In Memoriam
Photo courtesy of Aaron Burson via Unsplash
Policy Pulse: AIANY Launches New Civic Leadership Program Policy Pulse
Ben Prosky, Assoc. AIA (AIA New York and the Center for Architecture); Medal of Honor winner Dr. Sharon E. Sutton, FAIA; Award of Merit winner Fiona Cousins, PE; and David Piscuskas, FAIA (AIA New York and 1100 Architect). Photography: Samuel Lahoz.
Industry Gathers at 2017 AIANY Honors and Awards Luncheon Around the AIA + Center for Architecture
AutoPound in Queens, NY. Credit: Alex Severin.
Featured Member: Jane Smith Elevated to AIA College of Fellows Featured Member
Obama Presidential Center by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners and InterActive Design Architects. Credit: Obama Foundation
In the News In The News
Names in the News Names in the News
New Deadlines New Deadlines
"El Helicoide: From Mall to Prison" opens 05.09.17. Image credit: Pietro Paolini, 2012
On View On View
Classifieds Classifieds
The Medical University of South Carolina, Ashley River Tower, Charleston, SC. Credit: Frank Ooms.
Featured Member: Timothy Johnson Elevated to AIA College of Fellows Featured Member
Image courtesy pixabay
Policy Pulse: AIA Urges Policymakers to Keep Carbon Neutral Goals Policy Pulse
Students at IS 234 present their scale store models to their peers. / Image credit: Dustin Atlas
Store Design Program Engages Students in Real-World Design Problems Learning by Design
Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, Biloxi, MS. Credit: Francis Dzikowski.
Featured Member: Daria Pizzetta Elevated to AIA College of Fellows Featured Member
The Arab City: Architecture and Representation
Oculus Book Review: The Arab City: Architecture and Representation Book Reviews
Never Built New York by Greg Golden and Sam Lubell
Oculus Quick-Take: Never Built New York Podcast
David Ginsberg, FAIA / Image credit: ©Alex Kaplan
In Memoriam: David l. (Dave) Ginsberg, FAIA (1932-2017) In Memoriam
75 Kenmare by Andre Kikoski Architect / Image credit: Redundant Pixel
In the News In The News