All posts by nb

Counter Institution – Lecture at Salt Beyoğlu

In cities across the United States in the 1970s, the devaluation of property created a vacuum of ownership. Vacant lots, storefronts, schoolhouses, factories, and abandoned tenement housing in New York City became havens for experimental, communal practices. In her 2018 book Counter Institution: Activist Estates of the Lower East Side (Fordham University Press), Nandini Bagchee revisits the spaces where activist groups meet to organize and plan acts of political dissent and collective participation. The term “counter institution” in the title represents both a conceptual and a literal struggle to create a space for civic action in a city that is built upon real estate speculation.

Focusing on her research for the book and an ongoing engagement with questions of urban justice and access to the city, Bagchee will share her methods of documenting and interrogating the history of the counter institution. In her capacity as a social historian/architect, she generates timelines and maps that chart out territorial occupations at different geographic and temporal scales to represent the larger reach of the social movements within specific buildings in the geography of downtown Manhattan. Using drawings, maps, timelines, and photographs to underline the connections between people, politics, and space, Bagchee offers new ways to imagine buildings as a critical part of the civic infrastructure of activism within the city.

Click Here to read on www.saltonline.org

Interference Archive – Building For Us Exhibition Opening

Exhibit designed by Nandini Bagchee in collaboration with Marlisa Wise, Graham Foundation 2019 grant recipients.

The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) grew out of the self-help housing movement. The exhibition features the families and people who fought to turn vacant or neglected buildings into vibrant co-ops, as told through the photographs, newsletters, oral histories, and training manuals found in UHAB’s archive. Their stories illuminate the origins of New York City’s affordable housing cooperatives, and the work that residents put into saving and preserving the city’s housing stock, one building at a time. This exploration of a single organization’s archive offers one way to understand the people, policies, and programs that helped shape this history.

Decades after the homesteading and squatting movements took hold in NYC, there is a resurgent public interest in exploring cooperative ownership models, particularly as a tool for addressing the current housing affordability crisis. Building for Us honors both the vibrant history of cooperative housing in NYC and sheds light on the hard work and the community it takes to create and sustain cooperatively owned housing.

Click Here to read on www.interferencearchive.org

Cooper Union Lunchtime Lecture – Counter Institution: Insurgent Spaces

From Counter Institution – Aerial View of Lower East Side with the El Bohio Community Center (PS 64) in the foreground. Photo by Gilbert Santana.

An examination of participatory practices in New York City reveals the critical relationship between real estate and activism. In cities across the United States, in the 1970’s, the devaluation of property created a vacuum of ownership. Vacant lots, storefronts, schoolhouses, factories and abandoned tenement housing in New York City became havens for experimental, communal practices. In her book, Counter Institution (Fordham University Press, 2018) author Nandini Bagchee revisits the spaces where activist groups meet to organize and plan acts of political dissent and collective participation. The counter institution in the title represents both a conceptual and a literal struggle to create a space for civic action in a city that is built upon real estate speculation

In a talk focused on her research for the book and an ongoing engagement with questions of urban justice and access to the city, Nandini Bagchee will share her methods of documenting and interrogating the history of the Counter Institution. Envisioning spatial practices in relation to physical space is at the core of these explorations. In her capacity as a social historian/architect Bagchee generates timelines and maps that chart out territorial occupations at different geographic and temporal scales to represent the larger reach of the social movements within specific buildings in the geography of downtown Manhattan. Exposition through the mapping of information has long been a part of the lexicon of protest tactics. Using drawings, maps, timelines, and photographs to underline the connections between people, politics, and space, Bagchee offers new ways to imagine buildings as a critical part of the civic infrastructure of activism within the city.

Click Here to read on www.cooper.edu

Activist Estates – Gallery Talk with Nandini Bagchee and Miranda Martinez

From www.loisaida.org – Architect Nandini Bagchee in conversation with Sociologist Miranda Martinez at the Loisaida Center.

Nandini Bagchee is the designer and curator of the exhibit and author of Counter Institution: Activist Estates of the Lower East Side (Fordham University Press, 2018). Miranda Martinez is the author of Power at the Roots: Community Gardens, Gentrification, and the Puerto Ricans of the Lower East Side (Lexington Books, 2010). They will be engaging content of the exhibit: Activist Estates: A Radical History of Property in Loisaida.

Click Here to read on www.2019.archtober.org

Click Here to read on www.loisaida.org

East Village Activist History on Display at Loisaida – Greenich Village Society for Historic Preservation

Mother Earth by the Bread and Puppet Theatre was paraded in the streets of New York on the event of the third UN Special Session on Disarmament. Photography by David McReynolds, 1988.

Few places have made more significant contributions to civil rights and social justice struggles, artistic creativity, and freedom of expression than the East Village. Now more than ever, it’s important to remember and pay tribute to that history and to the lessons learned from it.  That is why it is important to take note of a just-opened exhibition called Activist Estates: A Radical History of Property in Loisaida. It’s an examination of participatory practices that illuminate the critical relationship between livable neighborhoods, real estate, architecture and activism…

Click Here to read on www.gvshp.org

Activist Estates – Opening Reception at The Loisaida Center

Click Here to read on www.loisaida.org

Activist Estates – Archtober 2019

An exhibition curated by the Architect/Historian Nandini Bagchee in partnership with Loisaida Inc. Center. The exhibit visualizes the narratives of a historic space-based activism via maps, models, photographs, pamphlets and posters.

Click Here to read on www.2019.archtober.org

Media Arts MFA Studio Visit

Media Arts MFA recently completed our first year of the program, in which we developed a unique curriculum supported by exhibitions, events, lectures, critique, and public engagement projects. Interacting with the greater New York City art community is an integral part of our program. Last year, MFA Media Art students participated in the various activities, including visits to SwoonThe PS1 MoMA Art Book FairInterference ArchiveNandini Bagchee Studio, and 8 Ball Community

Click Here to read more on www.purchase.edu

Graham Foundation Grant 2019

Windmill Power For City People, cover page of a brochure advocating for reusable energy as an urban future. Courtesy of UHAB.

Nandini Bagchee and Marlise Wise awarded a 2019 Graham Foundation grant for their exhibition curation of Homesteading and Cooperative Housing Movements in NYC, 1970s and 80s at Interference Archive.

Contemporary architectural discourse has primarily focused on commoning as a speculative project, rather than as a historical, spatial, practice developed by marginalized communities. Debates about social housing often focus on state-subsidized public housing, and commoning practices have largely been discussed as a theoretical position or an architectural imaginary, rather than as a tangible architecture with a history that can be studied, analyzed and built upon. The exhibition Homesteading and Cooperative Housing Movements in NYC, 1970s and 80s, tracks the impact of collective, self-organized practices such as squatting, homesteading, and resident mutual aid in New York City and examines the way in which they have shaped the city. By analyzing ownership models, construction methods, spatial techniques, and material practices deployed by the cooperative housing movement, and presenting them through an immersive and interactive environment, the exhibition asks audience members to imagine new models for equitable development and spatial commoning.

The Graham Foundation is pleased to announce the award of 63 new grants to individuals worldwide that support projects on architecture. Grantee projects represent diverse lines of inquiry engaging original ideas that advance our understanding of the designed environment. Selected from over 500 proposals, the funded projects include exhibitions, publications, films, and performances that promote rigorous scholarship, stimulate experimentation, and foster critical discourse in architecture. The individuals leading these projects are based in cities such as Ahmedabad, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Cairo, London, Milan, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. The innovative projects are led by eminent and emerging architects, artists, curators, filmmakers, historians, and photographers, among other professionals.

The new grantees join a worldwide network of individuals and organizations that the Graham Foundation has supported over the past 63 years. In that time, the Foundation has awarded more than 4,500 grants, and has become one of the most significant funders in the field of architecture.

Click Here to read on www.grahamfoundation.org

Unknown New York: The City That Women Built – Panel Discussion

Join NOMAS at CCNY and the CCNY Architecture Alumni Group for a film screening and discussion of female architects, designers and builders. A free screening of this short film directed by Beverly Willis and the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation highlighting contributions by female architects, engineers, and builders in shaping the New York skyline. Panel discussion with Nandini Bagchee, Billie Cohen, Yolande Daniels, Marta Gutman, Samantha Josephat, and Carol Kurth, moderated by Isabella Joseph, to follow film.

Carol Kurth FAIA, alumnus and past board president, is our sponsor. This event is organized by the CCNY Women in Design Committee of the CCNY Architecture Alumni Group in collaboration with the CCNY Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students | NOMASCCNY.

Click Here to read more on www.ccnyarchalumni.org