Grad Info Sessions

Thursday, Oct 24, 2019

Urban Design Program Open Studio


Thursday, Oct 24, 2019

3:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture
141 Convent Avenue
New York, NY 10031


3:00 - Spitzer School Tour

3:30-5:30 - Open Studio

5:30 - Sciame Lecture Series: Jean-Pierre Pranlas-Descours, Architecture and Landscape

Open Studio event for architecture and landscape architecture students and graduates to learn about the two-semester Graduate Urban Design Program. Tour the Spitzer School of Architecture, meet current Urban Design students and view their works in progress, and speak informally with Program Director Julio Salcedo-Fernandez and Distinguished Professor Michael Sorkin. Specifically, open studio visitors will witness the commencement of the third exercise of the semester: Among the obvious causal effects of the rapid global urbanization and accompanying migrations is the enlargement of the urban realm and its increased density. The co-opting of non-residential spaces and "colonization" of other non-urban territories are having a critical impact on the ecology of the core and surrounds of the city. In addition, in first-world contexts that experienced suburban and exurban expansions –- such as New York -- there are other dynamics of regressive growth and new models of inhabiting these ex-urban territories in light of their environmental implications. In all, the studio will delve into the consideration of what may constitute new imaginative hybrid models.

The Graduate Program in Urban Design is focused on creating new, equitable, beautiful, and sustainable forms and technologies for the city and urban life. We believe trans-disciplinary designers in general and urban designers in particular are in an ideal position to positively contribute to re-envisioning a series of global urban realities in crisis. Through cultural, technological, environmental, and social engagement, we can harvest a newly found design adroitness to address the problems that render our cities less just, less plural, less safe, unproductive, and environmentally deficient. The Urban Design program seeks emergent urban narratives that can guide design through the aforementioned surplus of practices, orbiting epistemes, and technologies addressing the city.

Far from the smart city movement and tightly codified Western planning efforts, some of the most promising urban practices are emerging in the Global South. These urban practices are bound by another set of drivers that enable a set of complex and advanced anthropologies, economies, and social structures. In addition, they address an enmeshed range of issues such as scarcity, equanimity, densification, resource depletion, and environmental crises. Together, these practices are inciting new urban narratives that spatialize social economies, environmentally responsive practices, and new public infrastructures.

Students in our program will surface the narratives that guide and enable these complex interactions and if necessary dream or induce them to a new reality. Focusing on topics such as diasporas as they intersect with environmental and urban systems, we will promote design methods ranging from systems and processes thinking, to the recalibration of existing urban fabrics, and to novel spatial practices. Hence, in the concerns of cities lie also the opportunities to redefine our practices.

The program is designed to be completed in two full-time, sequential semesters. At the core of the curriculum is the design studio. Committed to both experiment and amelioration, the two-semester program focuses, each year, on a New York City site and, after a research visit, on design of a city in a demanding environment abroad.  Projects have addressed sites including Havana, San Jose (Costa Rica), Gaza, the Ecuadorian rainforest; Belfast; Tianjin; Nicosia; Johannesburg; New Orleans; Hanoi, Wuhan, Bogota, Tijuana, Biloxi, and Chicago.

A total of four courses are required each semester. The electives are chosen from the remarkable and wide-ranging urban offerings and distinguished faculty at the School of Architecture and City College at large, the Urban Affairs and Planning Program at Hunter College, and the CUNY Graduate Center.

Applicants to the Urban Design programs should hold a professional degree in either architecture or landscape architecture. Applicants from other backgrounds will be considered only in exceptional circumstances and on demonstration of a high level of design ability.

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