Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement at New York’s Museum of Modern Art

This major exhibition organized by the Museum of Modern Art will explore contemporary architecture as a powerful means for improving social conditions, focusing on 11 noteworthy built or under-construction projects in underserved communities around the world. The exhibition will be on view from October 3, 2010 through January 3, 2011. Concentrating on a group of architects who confront inequality by using the tools of design, Small Scale, Big Change will examine the ways these architects engage with local, social, economic, and political circumstances to develop positive architectural interventions that begin with an understanding of and deference to a community. The exhibition is organized by Andres Lepik, Curator, and Margot Weller, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, the Museum of Modern Art.


Without sacrificing aesthetics, these 11 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 featured projects, which include schools, community centres, 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.


Lepik states: “A timely approach to an aspect of architecture that is often overlooked, Small Scale, Big Change highlights designers who proactively address problems in underserved areas of global society through creative and substantial solutions.”


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