Into the Open: Positioning Practice

By danielle


If you couldn’t make it to Venice this past fall for the 2008 Architecture Biennale, you can thank the New School for bringing the amazing U.S. Pavilion back to our home turf. This morning, I had the opportunity to get a preview of the Into the Open: Positioning Practice Exhibition. Curated by William Menking, Aaron Levy and Andrew Sturm, Into the Open is a glimpse into the awe-inspiring world of architectural activism. From showcasing housing solutions for displaced populations to installations exploring the source of urban conflict, the exhibition illustrates how a new generation of architects is using the built environment to respond to social, political and environmental issues.  Despite the fact that the exhibition was commissioned by the U.S. Department under George W. Bush and that it opened in Italy a few weeks before our historic election, the curators have labeled it as “the first architectural endeavor of the Obama presidency.”  

While there are differences between the Venice edition and the New York one (for example, The Edible Schoolyard/Yale Sustainable Food Project is made up of vegetation native to the Northeast while in Venice it contained plants typical of the Veneto Region and Estudio Teddy Cruz’s  Tijuana-San Diego border wall surrounds a proposed meeting room/screening room whereas in Venice the scrim stretched across the entire 89-foot facade and courtyard of the U.S Pavilion), the effect is no less compelling and thought-provoking.  

The NYC exhibition has been designed to be bold, immersive and interactive.  It is a multi-layered installation with chalk-board painted walls (creating an open forum for feedback by visitors and students), large stenciled texts (a typography made using spray painted Cool Wool), informally arranged images, multiple digital projections, text banners and display furniture.  

Into the Open officially opens tonight at the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center and will run through May 1.

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60 Linear Mile Section, San Diego/Tijuana, 2008

Migrant Farmworker Housing, Adams County,

Migrant Farmworker Housing, Adams County, Pennsylvania, 2003 Design Corps

Panhandle Bandshell Flyout, San Francisco, California, 2008 Rebar

Panhandle Bandshell Flyout, San Francisco, California, 2008 Rebar

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