Columbia GSAPP continues the “100 Days” talk series in which faculty and students gather to discuss, organize, and plan for changes during the Trump administration. The next event is a discussion featuring editors and contributors of the Avery Review’s And Now: Architecture Against a Developer Presidency.
The election and inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the president of the United States of America provoked an unprecedented intensity of reflection in virtually all academic disciplines. The professions of architecture and planning, faced with the phenomenon of a self-proclaimed “builder-in-chief,” have found themselves facing a series of fundamental questions, both old and new. How should we think, teach, and practice under a developer presidency? What sort of walls will we and won’t we choose to build? What are our commitments of critical thought, and what obligations should we turn our energies toward?
Eight months into Trump’s term, the Avery Review is publishing And Now: Architecture Against a Developer Presidency, which brings together a series of critical essays that explore the nature of architecture’s many long-standing complicities. Architecture coordinates colossal expenditures (of material, of energy); it scripts forms of labor (in its construction, in its operation, and in the programs it houses); and it is both a repository and generator of capital. Architecture participates, centrally, in defining modes of life, whether for the privileged or the dispossessed—designing and building the boundaries between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” This fundamental reality of architectural practice need not inspire either nihilism or defensiveness but should rather be understood, quite simply, as the terrain we navigate. Naming these complicities and the injustices they perpetuate is a first step toward addressing them.
Karen Abrams, Diversity and Community Affairs Manager, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
Kadambari Baxi, Professor, Department of Architecture, Barnard College
Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi, Assistant Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, NYU
In conversation with Caitlin Blanchfield, James Graham, and Jacob Moore