March 16, 2022

March 16, 2022, New York, NY – The Center for Architecture is excited to present Reset: Towards a New Commons, opening Thursday, April 14, 2022, at 6:00 pm in conjunction with the AIANY 2022 Design Awards exhibition. Co-curated by Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology, 19th- and 20th-century Architectural History at Columbia University, and Juliana Barton, Director of the Center for the Arts at Northeastern University, the exhibition analyzes architecture’s role in envisioning new dynamics of living and community.

Contemporary American society has become increasingly fragmented, with people separated both physically and socially based on ability, age, income, and belief. This fragmentation is built into the urban fabric of cities, suburbs, and rural areas, which wittingly and unwittingly isolate certain groups from larger communities through the design of spaces according to specific needs. A host of colliding crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, embedded structural racism, and deepening political polarization, have only exacerbated these divisions.

Reset: Towards a New Commons aims to open dialogues that foster more diverse and inclusive solutions to building community. Rather than designing specific spaces for specific needs, the exhibition considers how spaces may be designed for all, addressing the importance of barrier-free environments and practices rooted in Universal Design.

The majority of the exhibition will be dedicated to four projects developed by interdisciplinary design teams—one focusing on New York City, one on Cincinnati, Ohio, and two in the San Francisco Bay Area—which were selected by an advisory committee through an open call for proposals in the spring of 2021. The projects envision environments that encourage new modes of living collaboratively and more holistic approaches to inclusion, with special attention paid to ameliorating the divisions of age, race, and ability. In addition to these commissioned projects, Reset also presents 12 contemporary case studies from across the United States that address the co-existence of difference. The exhibition will also feature a Reading Room, which will include additional resources on Universal Design, accessibility, and community building selected by the exhibition’s curators and project teams. Reading Room selections will be expanded by community recommendations gathered throughout the course of the exhibition.

Reset, which will take over three levels of the Center for Architecture’s gallery spaces, is designed by Natasha Jen of Pentagram in consultation with Prime Access Consulting, a North Carolina-based inclusive design firm.

“After adding ‘social distancing’ to our vocabulary, the world is eager for a reset, one in which the various forces that have kept us apart and siloed are confronted with designed environments that eliminate barriers and promote interaction and mutual support across generations, social groups, and even the increasingly partisan dialogues that have added further alienation to the social sphere,” said Bergdoll. “Reset is an experiment, not to change the world tomorrow, but to change the ways we think about and talk about our physical environment and to help build towards greater interaction and support among communities.”

“In working towards our goal to be the most compelling, relevant and open place to learn about architecture, it is fitting that the Center for Architecture is presenting an original exhibition featuring commissioned research and designs on building more inclusive and accessible spaces and communities,” said Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA, Executive Director at AIA New York and the Center for Architecture. “My hope is that the projects included in Reset will provoke a range of dialogues and actions that will help us collectively imagine new approaches to a range of public and private spaces. The exhibition is especially timely as we re-emerge from an era of isolation imposed by the pandemic, and when global unrest and political differences are on the top of our minds. Can we imagine collective spaces that promote healing and accessibility on physical, social and emotional levels?”

The exhibition will be on view through September 3, 2022. Reset will also be available in its entirety as a digital exhibition via the Center for Architecture website.


Block Party: From Independent Living to Disability Collectives – Berkeley, CA

Block Party explores how the design of architecture and cities can go beyond merely accommodating disabled people into “accessible” spaces. The project uses the lens of disability to propose a series of strategies that challenge the regime of private, single-family property that is dominant in the United States, presenting a vision for more just, diverse communities where disabled people can live together, cooperate, and exercise individual and collective agency over their lives and environments.

At the Center for Architecture, a wall-length mural will explore how strategies including easements, land swaps, collectivized infrastructure, slow streets, community pools, and reimagined forms of housing can be leveraged to further inclusive communities.

Team: Javier Arbona, University of California, Davis; Irene Cheng, Cheng+Snyder, California College of the Arts; David Gissen, Parsons School of Design, The New School; Rod Henmi, FAIA, LEED AP, NOMA, HKIT Architects; Jerron Herman, Artist and Dancer; Georgina Kleege, University of California, Berkeley; Chip Lord, University of California, Santa Cruz; Brett Snyder, AIA, Cheng+Snyder, University of California, Davis

Aging Against the Machine – Oakland, CA

In West Oakland, a culturally and racially diverse neighborhood, older residents face precarious living conditions, insufficient public infrastructure and amenities, and limited caregiving options—effects of decades of disinvestment and the legacy of redlining. Aging Against the Machine advocates for alternative scenarios for aging that open up multiple options for care, improve physical access, enhance resource sharing, and strengthen community ties. The project builds upon existing initiatives and mutual aid networks to develop proposals across a range of scales—from home renovations to intergenerational housing and collective land ownership.

Illustrated narratives will expand upon work that community groups are doing on the ground, while three-dimensional models will present architectural interventions at different scales to support aging in place.

Team: Neeraj Bhatia, THE OPEN WORKSHOP, California College of the Arts; Todd Levon Brown, The University of Texas at Austin; Ignacio G. Galan, Barnard College, Columbia University; Lindsay A. Goldman, Grantmakers in Aging; Karen Kubey, Pratt Institute, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Annie Ledbury, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation

Decolonizing Suburbia – Cincinnati, OH

Despite the broad consensus among most architects that the future of housing is in high-density building types, the vast majority of the United States continues to live in detached households in suburban-style neighborhoods. Decolonizing Suburbia re-envisions the typology’s potential to accommodate more diverse forms of life than the prevailing “single-family” paradigm. The project explores the architectural ramifications of decolonizing the planning policies that enabled “white flight” and isolated people of color in under-resourced inner cities, imagining a new commons in the traditionally exclusive form of the suburb.

The installation at the Center for Architecture presents four interventions for the neighborhood of Avondale, explored through maps and diagrams, as well as an interactive model that allows visitors to arrange neighborhood lots in different configurations.

Team: Andrew Bruno, RA; Alessandro Orsini, Architensions, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; William Prince, Parc Office, Parsons School of Design, The New School; Nick Roseboro, Assoc, AIA, Architensions, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Sharon Egretta Sutton, PhD, FAIA, Parsons School of Design, The New School; John Vogt, Parc Office

Re: Play – New York, NY

In Re: Play, young residents of three NYCHA campuses in East Harlem recount their experiences in NYCHA public spaces and re-envision their landscapes, playgrounds and basketball courts as a commons that can enhance the well-being of residents and support the aspirations of the community.

Films by documentarian Kate Levy outline the team’s six-month-long community engagement process with young children, teenagers, and community elders. The installation also showcases the final products of student workshops, including collages that transform NYCHA’s public spaces and a selection of 3D-printed Afrofuturist artifacts developed during a workshop with the Iyapo Repository.

Team: David Burney, FAIA, Pratt Institute; Caitlin Cahill, Pratt Institute; Catherine Chattergoon, Pratt Institute; Nilda Cosco, The Natural Learning Initiative, North Carolina State University; Jerrod Delaine, Carthage Real Estate Advisors, Pratt Institute; Deborah Gans, FAIA, Gans and Company; Kate Levy, Kate Levy Production; Robin Moore, The Natural Learning Initiative, North Carolina State University; Nancy Owens, ASLA, LEED AP, Nancy Owens Studio; Jared Rice, Pratt Institute; Eugene Rodriguez, Center for Court Innovation


Press Preview
Thursday, April 14, 5:00 – 6:00 pm
Members of the press are invited to an exclusive press preview led by curators Barry Bergdoll and Juliana Barton, as well as members from each of the four interdisciplinary teams. RSVP to Camila Schaulsohn,

Public Opening
Thursday, April 14, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
The Center for Architecture invites the public to a joint opening celebration for Reset: Towards a New Commons and AIANY 2022 Design Awards.


Reset: Towards a New Commons is made possible through support from a grant from the Ford Foundation.

Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation

Reset: Towards a New Commons is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Reset: Towards a New Commons is supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

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.