Open House

Unlike the city’s current modes of participatory planning, a recent City College exhibition seemed genuinely concerned with realizing the desires of residents.

(Zelig Fok)

  • Mass Support, curated by Curatorial Research Collective and designed by Office ca, was on view at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture from March 21 to May 7.

What does resident control of housing mean? In the New York housing politics scene I’m situated in, we usually grapple with this question in terms of rent or price setting, lease terms, access to repairs, and other aspects of residential life having to do with cost, quality, and stability in a building— in short, democratic management or collective ownership. An exhibition at City College’s Spitzer School of Architecture prompts visitors to consider this question from an entirely different vantage.

Mass Support assesses the legacy of the Dutch architectural think tank Stichting Architecten Research (SAR), which operated from 1964 to 1990, with a special focus on its most prominent voice, the architect John Habraken. For SAR and Habraken, resident control over housing meant the ability of a household—of any size or layout—to have a say in the shape of their home and the …

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