KSA Alumni Exhibit in The Unfinished Grid: Design Speculations for Manhattan

Joshua Mackley (BSARCH ’02) and Mathew Ford (BSARCH ’02) are among eight finalists chosen to take part in the exhibit The Unfinished Grid: Design Speculations for Manhattan, a design competition sponsored by The Architecture League of New York, the Museum of the City of New York and Architizer.  

 From The Architectural League’s press release:

“2011 marks the 200th anniversary of the Commissioners’ Plan for New York, the foundational document that established Manhattan’s legendary street grid. Adopted by the New York’s State Legislature in 1811, the Commissioners’ Plan laid out a network of 12 north-south avenues and 155 east-west streets that would fundamentally shape the future of New York and become an emblem of the city itself.

“The Manhattan grid that is so familiar to us today, though, is a work in progress, an evolving creation that began with a bold vision by the 1811 commissioners, but which was afterwards altered and amended by generations of planners, builders, and advocates. As little room for change as there may seem, it is important to remember that Manhattan’s grid has been reimagined and reinvented many times, in large ways and small, over the past two centuries. What mark will future architects, private developers, and city officials leave on the grid? What new kinds of buildings will they build within its blocks, what new ways will they devise for organizing its streets?

“To answer these questions, the Architectural League, in partnership with the Museum of the City of New York and Architizer, issued a Call for Ideas  inviting architects and urban designers from around the world to speculate about how Manhattan’s grid might be adapted, extended, or transformed in the future. It asked them to consider issues such as how the grid might be modified to respond to climate change or new transportation infrastructures; how new digital technologies might affect the form and function of the buildings in which we live and work and the impact they might have on the city’s streets and public spaces; what the most pressing issues are facing the city today and into the future; and what solutions might emerge out of (and in turn modify) the street grid.

“More than 120 teams from 22 countries submitted proposals in response to the Call for Ideas. A jury of architects and curators selected eight of those proposals, on display in this exhibition, as offering the most insightful and provocative ideas for Manhattan’s grid. The proposals address a range of issues, from extending Manhattan’s edge, to reconfiguring its streets, to amending preservation and zoning regulations to foster alternative possibilities for development. They are presented not as literal recommendations, but as design speculations for how we might shape the city’s future. In that sense, they celebrate a long and vibrant history in which New Yorkers imagine new possibilities for how we might live and work and then find ways for amending the grid to make them real.”

Mackley and Ford’s proposal, Dissociative New York, can be viewed on the project website.