From Thursday, Apr 2, 2020 to Friday, Apr 3, 2020

Migrant Urbanisms


Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture
141 Convent Avenue
New York, NY 10031
Sciame Auditorium (107)


Discussion: 4/2, 5:30-7:00
Reviews: 4/3

As the world population becomes increasingly urban, the DNA of many cities is one of constant evolution and growth, spurred by human migrations. Many of these human migrations and diasporas are caused by the acute ongoing environmental crisis. This crisis is also present in another set of transformations: landscapes and ecologies are equally metamorphosing their interface with adjacent growing urban territories, thus provoking the need to consider hybrid urban and ecological practices. This two-day event hosted by the Graduate Urban Design Program at Spitzer will explore these topics with Peter Hasdell and Gerhard Bruyns (HKPU, Hong Kong); Thiresh Govender (GSA University of Johannesburg); Ignacio Galan (Barnard and Columbia Colleges); Sergio Lopez-Pineiro (Harvard GSD); and Julio Salcedo-Fernandez and Michael Sorkin (Spitzer). Lesley Lokko and June Williamson will moderate the discussion, followed by a one-day review of urban design students’ work with Visiting Professor Alessandra Cianchetta.



Dr. Ir. Gerhard Bruyns is an architect and urbanist. He is assistant professor and deputy discipline leader of environment and interior design, School of Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. As full-time faculty, he teaches design-research courses in the undergraduate, postgraduate, and PhD curricula. He holds an MSc and PhD from TU Delft, with a specialization in urbanism. Dr. Bruyns has held tenure at the TU Delft, first as faculty of the Urban Renewal and Management chair (2001-2008) and thereafter as invited faculty of the Delft School of Design, DSD (2008 -2013). As part of the DSD’s core aims to formulate an advanced research unit that combined critical theory, philosophy, and design (architecture and urbanism) into a coherent MSc and PhD design program, he took on the role as full-time Master of Science coordinator working alongside Professors Arie Graafland, Winy Maas, and Christine Boyer. Other design-research activities include the 2007 Urban Development Stall of the African Perspectives Africains, which formed the core content to 2011 African Perspectives (South) Africa (010 Publishers) and Registrar of the UIA 2014 International Student Competition (Architecture Otherwhere). During his academic career Dr. Bruyns has lectured in Germany (DIA), Colombia (Los Andez, Univ Nac), Chile (Finis Terrae), Singapore (NUS), South Africa, and Australia (UTS), while being a jury member for architecture schools in South Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, the United States, and Europe. He has published and co-edited several books as well as being a peer reviewer for Footprint and the Urban Cultural Studies Journals. Until 2013 he was Scientific Board Member of the African Centre for Studies in Leiden, The Netherlands. In 2014, he took on the task as assistant to the general reporter for the UIA 2014 - World Congress on Architecture. Presently he is an IFOU Executive Team member, guest editor of the Footprint Journal, editorial board member of the New Design Ideas Journal, and founding member of Cubic Journal. As a registered urbanist with the Dutch Registration Bureau, Dr. Bruyns consults with the ICON Group (Singapore) and with AMU, Arquitectura más Urbanismo (Colombia). His current research interest deals with the conditions of compressed morphologies and how this impacts the types of interior and exterior territories that emerge.

Professor Peter Hasdell is associate professor in the School of Design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, program leader of the Environment and Interior Department, director of the Design Social research initiative, and associate dean for facilities and resources in the School of Design. He has taught in Poly U since 2008. He is an architect, urbanist, interactive artist, and academic. He graduated in computer science and architecture from University of Sydney and from the Architectural Association, London. His professional expertise lies in the fields of architecture, urbanism, public art practices, interactive arts, environmental design, and social design. He has taught for more than 20 years in academia, in three different contexts -- Europe, North America and Asia -- in schools including Bartlett School, UCL London; University of East London; Architecture, Kingston University; KTH Architecture School, Stockholm; Berlage Postgraduate Institute, Netherlands; Columbia University, New York; Faculty of Architecture, Manitoba, Canada; Rural Studio, Auburn University, Alabama; and the Architecture Faculty, HK University. He has initiated and run research-focused graduate programs, conducted and led curriculum development in three schools to date (two architecture and one design department), and been discipline or program leader in two different schools. He is partner in the Hong Kong-based practice since 2007, D+A h.q. architecture and planning, working in China, including the award-winning Rainbow School in Kunming for Beijing Normal University 2013. Past practice includes: strategic planning concerns (infrastructure planning Switzerland); urban planning/consultancies in Europe and China; architectural projects in China including the Chinese Academy of Science campus and two other university master plans, mixed-use developments and resort complexes; cultural and public art projects. Previous practice work in London, Stockholm, and Canada focused on public art practices and public interactive art. He was formerly core/senior researcher in renowned Chora Institute of Architecture and Urbanism, London, and Centre for Architecture Structures and Technology (C.A.S.T.), Manitoba. He has initiated/directed institutes including Architecture and Urban Research Lab (A+URL) Stockholm and Pneuma, Canada. Recipient of European Union Kaleidoscope funding twice, he has a track record of grant funding and awards. His present research focuses on metabolic architecture on the scales of the city (city as a life form, urban ecology) and as architecture (interactive and responsive architectures and social systems) and social design. Books include Urban Flotsam, Border Ecologies (Birkhauser 2016) on the HK-SZ Border and Miaoxia Community Kitchen (SD Publications 2017).

Thireshen Govender is an architect, urban designer, and educator working in Johannesburg. A keen observer of the contemporary urban world, Govender is interested in the speculative nature of architecture and its ability to put forward necessary provocations and possibilities for post-traumatic sites and cities. Underlying this is his understanding of space as a political instrument -- a tool to better organize, shape, and make sense of societies -- and his penchant for seeking out narratives through a set of spatial tactics and strategies in order to make sense of, and build literacy around, these troubled sites. Following his graduation from the University of Cape Town, Govender trained in local practices in Cape Town and Johannesburg before being awarded a Chevening Scholarship and advancing his studies in urban besign at The University College of London (Bartlett) in the United Kingdom. Education and knowledge production around space and design form a crucial role in Govender’s efforts to develop a more widespread understanding of the architectural practice. Exhibiting work at the Venice Biennale, teaching at ETH in Zurich, and presenting lectures in Hong Kong, Germany, Namibia, Amsterdam, and the UK are a few of the shapes that these efforts have taken. Govender also leads a design-research unit at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg investigating rogue, subversive spatial tactics. Collaboration and the deliberate choice to work across various disciplines, scales, and interventions in order to challenge architectural practice are central to Govender’s navigations of the craft. UrbanWorks Architecture & Urbanism, Govender’s design-research studio founded in 2008, employs innovative and responsive design strategies to more critically engage with, and provide solutions toward, radical transformation in South African cities across cultural and economic infrastructures. Govender was selected to deliver the keynote address for the South African Urban Conference "Undercurrents of Radical Possibility" (2018) and presented a lecture at the Graduate School of Architecture -- Boogertman+Partners International Lecture Series (2018). Most recently, he has co-authored the book Township Economies: People, Spaces and Practices, which collates and distills nine years of research and insight into 11 townships across Southern Africa, published by HSRC Press (February 2020).

Ignacio G. Galán is a New York-based architect, historian, and assistant professor at Barnard College, Columbia University. His work is concerned with the role of architecture in the articulation of societies, with a particular focus on nationalism, colonialism, and diverse forms of population transience. His research has led to the production of several publications and exhibitions including the installation Cinecittá Occupata for the 2014 Venice Biennale by invitation of the general curator Rem Koolhaas. The designs of his firm [igg-office for architecture] have been awarded in several competitions, including the first prize for the New Velodrome in Medellín, and are part of the permanent collection of the Pompidou Center. His work unfolds through diverse media and platforms and is continuously informed by different kinds of conversations and collaborations. Together with the After Belonging Agency, he was the chief curator of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale (Graham Foundation Grant 2015) and an editor of the volume After Belonging: The Objects, Spaces, and Territories of the Ways We Stay in Transit (Lars Muller, 2016). He is also a member of the research project Radical Pedagogies and has co-curated its exhibition at the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale and at the 2014 Venice Biennale, where it was awarded a special mention of the jury. He is currently one of the editors of the eponymous volume, forthcoming in 2020 by Sternberg Press (Graham Foundation Grant 2019). Galán studied Architecture at ETSAMadrid and TUDelft, he graduated with distinction from the M Arch II program at Harvard GSD, and he has a PhD in Architecture History and Theory of Architecture from Princeton (2018). He has been a fellow at the Spanish Academy in Rome and a Fulbright Scholar. Prior to joining Barnard, Galán taught studios and seminars at Columbia GSAPP and PennDesign and serve as assistant instructor at Harvard GSD, Princeton SOA, and ETSAM.

Sergio Lopez-Pineiro is the founder of Holes of Matter, an experimental design and research practice exploring voids within patterns of urbanization as sources of freedom, diversity, and spontaneity. His work has been supported nationally by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and The MacDowell Colony, and it has been published internationally by a+t, MAS Context, Bracket, arq: Architecture Research Quarterly, Places, and 2G, amongst others. He is the author of the book A Glossary of Urban Voids (Jovis, 2020). Lopez-Pineiro is a lecturer in landscape architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he teaches design studios and theory seminars on architecture and landscape architecture. He held the 2006-07 Reyner Banham Fellowship at the University at Buffalo and the 2014-15 Daniel Urban Kiley Fellowship at Harvard University. Lopez-Pineiro is a graduate of Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid and received his Master of Architecture degree from Princeton University.

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