Ninety Minutes with Michael
Join us to celebrate Michael Sorkin’s enduring contributions as a brilliant urbanist, fierce critic, and beloved mentor.
March 26, 2021
Leading the eponymous Michael Sorkin Studio, Michael championed sustainable design as well as verdant, inclusive, and chaotic public spaces. Through the nonprofit design studio Terreform, he rejected top-down planning projects and imagined alternatives with community advocates.
His writing and wit enticed the public to consider how architecture shapes society. From his early days as Village Voice architecture critic through his late career as publisher of the Urban Research imprint, he exhorted the design community to embrace social justice with exhilarating demands. His seminal books included Exquisite Corpse and Twenty Minutes in Manhattan.
Michael also inspired legions of architects and cultural theorists through his teaching and late night debates as a Distinguished Professor at City College of New York and universities around the world. As board member of the Architectural League of New York and founding president of the Urban Design Forum, he balanced generous collegiality with energizing defiance.
On March 26, the first anniversary of his loss to COVID-19, his comrades Trevor Boddy, Teddy Cruz & Fonna Forman, Eyal Weizman, and Sharon Zukin and his wife, Joan Copjec gathered to consider: what would Michael call on us to do next?
Trevor Boddy is a critic, curator, historian of architecture/urbanism, teacher and consulting urban designer. He curated the 2008 exhibition Vancouverism and related Trafalgar Square site-specific construction, named a marquee event for the 2008 London Festival of Architecture, and re-mounted in 2009 at Place d’Invalides, Paris. He has taught design studio, history, and urbanism on four continents, and lectures globally on contemporary design and city-building. RAIC awarded Trevor its 2010 Advocacy Award, and he is an honorary member of AIA and the Bulgarian Union of Architects.
Teddy Cruz is recognized internationally for his urban and architectural research of the Tijuana-San Diego border, advancing border immigrant neighborhoods as sites of cultural production, from which to rethink urban policy, affordable housing and civic infrastructure. He is currently a Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism in the Visual Arts Department, and Director of Urban Research in the UCSD Center on Global Justice. With long-time research partner, UCSD political theorist, Fonna Forman, he is a principal in Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, a research-based political and architectural practice, based in San Diego.
Fonna Forman is a professor of political theory and the founding director of the Center on Global Justice at the University of California, San Diego. A theorist of ethics and public culture, she focuses on human rights at the urban scale, climate justice in cities, and equitable urbanization in the Global South. She has also written extensively on recuperating the public and social dimensions of modern economic theory. She serves as vice chair of the University of California Climate Solutions group, and on the Global Citizenship Commission (advising UN policy on human rights). Together with Teddy Cruz, she codirects the UCSD Cross-Border Initiative, and the two are principals of Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, a research-based political and architectural practice in San Diego.
Eyal Weizman is Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures and founding director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the founding director of the research agency Forensic Architecture. In 2007, with Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti, he set up the architectural collective DAAR in Beit Sahour/Palestine. Weizman is on the editorial board of Third Text, Humanity, Cabinet and Political Concepts, and is on the board of directors of the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ). He is on the Technology Advisory Board of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
Sharon Zukin is professor emerita of sociology at Brooklyn College and at the CUNY Graduate Center, but is still working with PhD students and will occasionally teach courses. Zukin has been a Broeklundian Professor at Brooklyn College; a visiting professor at the University of Amsterdam; the University of Western Sydney, and Tongji University; and a distinguished fellow in the Advanced Research Collaborative at the CUNY Graduate Center. She received the Lynd Award for Career Achievement in urban sociology from the American Sociological Association and won the C. Wright Mills Book Award for Landscapes of Power. Her new book, The Innovation Complex: Cities, Tech, and the New Economy, examines the shaping of the tech ecosystem in New York.
Joan K. Copjec is an American philosopher, theorist, author, feminist, and prominent American Lacanian psychoanalytic theorist. She is Professor of Modern Culture & Media at Brown University. She has written or edited 11 books, published nearly 60 essays in books and journals, and has given lectures at more than 160 conferences in the United States and internationally. Her work has been translated into a dozen languages. Copjec holds a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in English literature and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison where she began her doctoral thesis. She also attended the Orson Welles Film School in Cambridge, Massachusetts then the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London.
This event is sponsored jointly by The Architectural League of New York, The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, Terreform, and Urban Design Forum.