Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement


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Group Tour
Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement
Andres Lepik

Friday, October 15, 2010
9:30 a.m.
The Museum of Modern Art

Tickets for this tour are sold out. If you would like to be added to the wait list, email

Andres Lepik, Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, will lead a tour of Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement. The show explores contemporary architecture as a powerful means for improving social conditions, focusing on eleven noteworthy built or under-construction projects in underserved communities around the world.

moma-RS1Concentrating on a group of architects who confront inequality using the tools of design, Small Scale, Big Change examines the ways these architects engage with social, economic, and political circumstances to develop positive architectural interventions that begin with an understanding of and deference to a community. Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement is organized by Andres Lepik, Curator, and Margot Weller, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art.

Without sacrificing aesthetics, the eleven projects—situated in the United States, Chile, Venezuela, Brazil, France, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Bangladesh, and Lebanon—reveal a specificity of place, with architectural solutions emerging from sustained research into local conditions and close collaboration with communities. These radically pragmatic projects, which include schools, community centers, housing, and infrastructural interventions, signal a change in the longstanding dialogue between architecture and its environs, wherein the architect’s roles, methods, and responsibilities are dramatically reconsidered. The exhibition presents a selection of materials on each project including models, drawings, videos, large-scale photographs, and sketchbooks. Additionally, three Internet-based networks—The 1%, Open Architecture Network, and urbaninform—extend the exhibition’s scope beyond individual projects to include stakeholders in various areas of practice around the world. These networks act as forums in which community leaders, architects, and non-governmental organizations share information and experience.

The architects and projects include: Diébédo Francis Kéré: Primary School, Gando, Burkina Faso, 1999–2001; Anna Heringer: METI – Handmade School, Rudrapur, Bangladesh, 2004–06; Michael Maltzan Architecture: Inner-City Arts, Los Angeles, California, 1993–2008; Frédéric Druot, Anne Lacaton, and Jean Philippe Vassal: Transformation of Tour Bois-le-Prêtre, Paris, France, 2006–11; Hashim Sarkis A.L.U.D.: Housing for the Fishermen of Tyre, Tyre, Lebanon, 1998–2008; Urban-Think Tank: Metro Cable, Caracas, Venezuela 2007–10; Noero Wolff Architects: Red Location Museum of Struggle, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 1998–2005; Jorge Mario Jáuregui/Metrópolis Porjectos Urbanos: Manguinhos Complex, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2005–10; Elemental: Quinta Monroy Housing, Iquique, Chile, 2003–05; Estudio Teddy Cruz, Casa Familiar: Living Rooms at the Border and Senior Housing with Childcare, San Ysidro, California, 2001–present; and Rural Studio, Auburn University: $20K House VIII (Dave’s House), Newbern, Alabama, 2009

Reservations are required. Due to the limited number of tickets and to facilitate fair access across our membership, reservations are limited to members only. Upper level members, including League Circle firms, are limited to two reservations. Reservations will be given on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning at 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, October 5th. Reservations received before 10:00 a.m. on October 5th will not be honored. Please email Further program information will be given upon confirmation.

This program was made possible in part by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Images from top to bottom: Anna Heringer. 
METI – Handmade School. Rudrapur, Bangladesh. 2004-06. 
Image: Kurt Hörbst; Rural Studio, Auburn University, $20K House VIII. 
Newbern, Alabama. 2009. 
Image: Timothy Hursley.


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