Engaged Practice: A Conversation Series

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Architecture is a practice of constant engagement. This series of conversations, co-hosted by Design Advocates (D/A) and the AIANY Future of Practice Committee, is an opportunity to discuss ways of conceiving and designing these forms of engagement more critically.

The three sessions are structured to bring groups of practitioners together in conversation with an invited guest and a moderator from D/A who will present a relevant case study. This session is limited to 20 attendees.

Client Engagement, Session 1
Clients usually initiate projects. But can a project initiate a client? This has been an important strategy for D/A and is one way that architects can work with more diverse project types. What is a client, who gets to be a client, how can architects work more productively with clients?

This session will explore strategies for running a values oriented practice that works outside the traditional pool of clients. It will touch on instruments of service and contract language that can support these goals. In addition to a D/A case study, we will be joined by Jess Rolls, Arts Program Curator at Concourse House.

Alexandra Barker, FAIA, Design Advocates
Michael K. Chen, AIA, Design Advocates
Fauzia Khanani, Assoc AIA, Design Advocates
Nicholas McDermott, AIA, Design Advocates
Jess Rolls, Concourse House, Fordham Bedford

About the Speakers:
Alexandra Barker is an architect and educator. She is the principal of Barker Architecture Office, an award-winning practice based in New York. She is also a founder of Pratt Institute’s Graduate Architecture program, where she is currently the Interim Chair and Associate Professor. She is a board member of Design Advocates.

Michael K. Chen is Principal of MKCA, based in New York and a co-founder and Board President of Design Advocates.

Fauzia Khanani is the founder of Studio For, an architecture and interiors firm based in New York City. She is a founding member and currently Co-chair of the AIANY Social Science and Architecture Committee as well as a cofounder and Board Vice President of Design Advocates. She is a Core Organizer for the Design As Protest Collective, a group of anti-racist designers dedicated to Design Justice in the built environment.

Nicholas McDermott is a partner and co-founder of FE, based in Brooklyn. He is a critic at the Yale School of Architecture and a member of the board at Design Advocates.

Jess Rolls is arts program curator for non-profit Concourse House, Home for Women and Their Children, a transitional shelter in the northwest Bronx. Working alongside community residents, Rolls organizes in-house arts programs and neighborhood arts partnerships resulting in public art, exhibitions, intergenerational workshops and mentorship opportunities, including an architectural collaboration with Design Advocates to reimagine Concourse House’s outdoor spaces. Rolls’ curatorial practice is rooted in listening, creative community-building, forming long-term relationships, and welcoming artists from under-represented communities into the creative sector.