Independent Projects Spotlight: Reparations in Public Space and Super Lightweight

Recent Independent Projects grant recipients present their work in a new series of online conversations.

February 29, 2024
12:00 p.m.

Left: Speculative scene generated using language prompts in Midjourney. Image courtesy Ifeoma Ebo. Right: Prototype of the double hypar pneumatic formwork and GFRC spray casting of a shell panel/structure. Image courtesy Robert Brackett

This spring, The Architectural League will spotlight projects by recipients of the Independent Projects grant program in a series of lunchtime conversations exploring completed and in progress work. 

Independent Projects is a competitive grant program that is open to New Yorkers who work in any of the design fields. Administered as a partnership between the League and the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Independent Projects supports self-generated projects in design practice and research that seek to answer the question: where can design go next?

Each cycle, Independent Projects welcomes creative and research proposals from throughout New York State that represent the full breadth of design disciplines across a range of formats and objectives. The League and NYSCA convene a panel of design experts to evaluate each proposal and select projects for funding. Grants are made possible by NYSCA with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

The Independent Projects grant program will be offered again in 2024. Please check and subscribe to our newsletter for future announcements and details about the 2024 application cycle.

The program will feature presentations by grant recipients followed by a discussion and audience Q&A, moderated by a member of the League’s staff.


Reparations in Public Space
Ifeoma Ebo and Antoinette Cooper
New York, NY
Independent Projects recipients, Grantee 2023-2024

A trauma-informed community engaged design process, this project will result in speculative design ideas for reimagining sites across New York City that hold trauma for Black people. Led by architect and artist Ifeoma Ebo and writer and participatory designer Antoinette Cooper, the work and resulting exhibition strive to change spatial narratives to transform spaces of trauma into spaces of healing and liberation. The project poses the questions: What does it mean to practice repair, and how do we reconcile spaces that hold the energy of trauma? What is the process of healing and how does it become articulated through the design of the spatial environment?

Super Lightweight: 2D CNC Welded Patterns for Self-Forming 3D Pneumatic Formwork for GFRC Fabrication
Duks Koschitz and Robert Brackett
New York and Lexington, NY
Independent Projects recipients, Grantee 2022-2023

This project used a Computer Numerical Control machine to explore the creation of 2D patterns for sheets of polyethylene, which could be welded together to create inflatable 3D pneumatic molds in hyperbolic paraboloid shapes. Using air pressure, the inflatable molds would support a complex formwork for casting and spraying glass fiber reinforced concrete shells and grids, producing architectural components and small-scale structures. The project resulted in large, architectural-scale model speculations that were exhibited at multiple research and environmentally-focused events throughout New York State, as well as a body of references and experimental techniques for producing pneumatic formwork that is designed to be super-lightweight and materially efficient.

About the presenters

Antoinette Cooper is a writer, TEDx speaker, trauma-informed participatory designer, and founder of the nonprofit Black Exhale, a space for the liberated Black body. Committed to healing collective trauma through the arts, ancestral healing, and medical humanities, she sits on the board of Narrative Medicine at CUNY School of Medicine.

Ifeoma Ebo is an urban designer, planning strategist, artist, and architect. Ebo is principal of Creative Urban Alchemy, a studio working at the intersection of these fields that centers cultural heritage in praxis. She is an assistant professor for design and sustainability at the Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York

Robert Brackett is an adjunct associate professor in Pratt Institute School of Architecture and the co-director of the d.r.a. (Center for Design Research in Architecture). He is the co-founder and technical director of Miscellaneous Projects, a multi-disciplinary studio that incorporates architecture, fabrication, computation, and design to make things at many scales.

Duks Koschitz is a professor in design and technology at Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture and the director of the Pratt Center for Design Research in Architecture. He has published, lectured, and exhibited widely on the topic of curved creases in computation and design.


The Architecture + Design Independent Projects Partnership is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.



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