August 11, 2021

New York, NY, August 11, 2021 – The Center for Architecture is excited to announce the four interdisciplinary teams that will be developing proposals for environments that encourage new ways of living collaboratively, which will be presented as part of the Center for Architecture’s upcoming exhibition, Reset: Towards a New Commons. The exhibition, co-curated by Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, and Juliana Barton, independent historian and curator, analyzes architecture’s role in envisioning new dynamics of living and community.


Contemporary American culture is increasingly disconnected, with people divided by needs, generations, and beliefs. This disconnection has been exacerbated by the enduring COVID-19 pandemic and has also been brought to light by the growing movement for racial justice.

The negative impacts of social estrangement extend, but are not limited to, the isolation of aging populations and people with disabilities. Cities, suburbs, and rural areas wittingly and unwittingly separate certain groups from larger communities through spaces designed according to age, needs, or income. Rather than designing specific spaces for specific needs, Reset: Towards a New Commons considers how spaces may be designed for all, addressing the need for barrier-free environments and practices rooted in Universal Design. The exhibition will explore how architecture can address this while helping to create communities that foster inclusion, cooperation, and mutual assistance in the broadest of terms. The exhibition asks, how can architecture serve as an antidote to the intense divisions in American life?

Reset: Towards a New Commons, opening in early 2022, will present several case studies that demonstrate how designers have helped foster community, many of them focusing on specific target groups—isolated religious communes, parents-to-be, people with disabilities, or seniors with dementia. In order to prompt designers to think beyond these examples and envision radically different environments that promote a broader and more holistic approach to inclusion, the Center for Architecture issued an RFP in early 2021 to solicit proposals from interdisciplinary teams.


Prospective teams were invited to submit proposals for environments throughout the United States that encourage new ways of living collaboratively while considering cross-generational living and designing for different abilities. The call asked for proposals that operate beyond the individual unit, addressing environments of multiple scales and exploring ideas of process and policy around one or more of three typologies: living (both permanent and temporary housing), healing (healthcare facilities, caregiving and elder care spaces), and gathering (public realm interventions).

“Rarely in day-to-day design practice do occasions present themselves to develop out-of-the-box proposals with teams of interdisciplinary expertise and diverse perspectives,” said curator Barry Bergdoll. “Reset seeks to foster conditions for innovative thinking between different talents and communities, with the express aim of catalyzing much-needed conversations on how architecture might help break down barriers that divide society. The exhibition sets the bar high in order to open the way for discussions we hope will spill beyond the walls of the Center for Architecture. Our aim is to bring designers to these critical discussions on new ways of living, working, and caring for one another in a world of unprecedented challenges.”

Block Party: From Independent Living to Disability Collectives – Berkley, CA
Javier Arbona, University of California, Davis (Davis, CA)
Irene Cheng, Cheng+Snyder; California College of the Arts, (San Francisco, CA)
David Gissen, Parsons School of Design, The New School (New York, NY)
Rod Henmi, FAIA, LEED AP, NOMA, HKIT Architects (Oakland, CA)
Jerron Herman, Artist and Dancer (New York, NY)
Georgina Kleege, Author; University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
Chip Lord, University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)
Brett Snyder, AIA, Cheng+Snyder; University of California, Davis (Davis, CA)

Decolonizing Suburbia – Cincinnati, OH
Andrew Bruno, RA (New York, NY)
Alessandro Orsini, Architensions, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (New York, NY)
William Prince, Parc Office, Parsons School of Design, The New School (New York, NY)
Nick Roseboro, Assoc, AIA, Architensions (New York, NY)
Sharon Egretta Sutton, PhD, FAIA, Parsons School of Design, The New School (New York, NY)
John Vogt, Parc Office (New York, NY)

Reclaiming the Commons Through Play – New York, NY
David Burney, FAIA, Pratt Institute (New York, NY)
Caitlin Cahill, Pratt Institute (New York, NY)
Nilda Cosco, The Natural Learning Initiative, North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC)
Jerrod Delaine, Pratt Institute (New York, NY)
Deborah Gans, FAIA, Gans and Company (New York, NY)
Robin Moore, The Natural Learning Initiative, North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC)
Nancy Owens, LEED AP, Nancy Owens Studio (New York, NY)
With: Neighborhood Safety Initiatives of the Center for Court Innovation

Aging Against the Machine – Oakland, CA
Neeraj Bhatia, THE OPEN WORKSHOP, California College of the Arts (Oakland, CA)
Todd Levon Brown, Environmental Psychology Program, CUNY Graduate Center (New York, NY)
Ignacio G. Galan, Barnard College, Columbia University (New York, NY)
Lindsay A. Goldman, Grantmakers in Aging (New York, NY)
Karen Kubey, Pratt Institute, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (New York, NY)
Annie Ledbury, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (Oakland, CA)

Over the next six months, the four selected teams will work with exhibition curators to refine their proposals and projects. All content will be developed in consultation with exhibition designer, Pentagram. The exhibition will open to the public at the Center for Architecture in early 2022.

Thank you to the Reset selection jury:
Juliana Barton, Independent Historian and Curator
Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
Rosanne Haggerty, President and Chief Executive Officer, Community Solutions
Amy Hurst, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development and Department of Technology, Culture and Society, Tandon School of Engineering, New York University
Xian Horn, Disability Advocate
Marc Norman, Associate Professor of Practice, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan
Peter Robinson, Board Member, BlackSpace Urbanist Collective
Barbara Weinreich, Assoc. AIA, Director of Undergraduate Programs, New York School of Interior Design


Reset is made possible through support from a grant from the Ford Foundation.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Cornelia T. Bailey Fund


About the Center for Architecture

The Center for Architecture is the premier cultural venue for architecture and the built environment in New York City, informed by the complexity of the City’s urban fabric and in dialogue with the global community. The Center shares a home with the AIA New York Chapter and has the unique advantage of drawing upon the ideas and experiences of practicing architects to produce thought-provoking exhibitions, informative public programs, and quality design education experiences for K-12 students. It also leads New York City’s annual month-long architecture and design festival, Archtober. The Center for Architecture’s aim is to further public knowledge about New York City architecture and architects, foster exchange and collaboration among members of the design, development, building, scholarly, and policy sectors, and inspire new ideas about the role of design in communities by presenting contemporary and practical issues in architecture and urbanism to a general audience.