Summer NYC studio
June 6 - August, 2016

Visiting professors Elma van Boxel and Kristian Koreman / ZUS, Rotterdam, NL

The dramatic rise of über-luxury real estate developments in New York City over the last several years threatens to make the city unaffordable to all but the wealthy and super wealthy. The skyline created by the most recent stand of super tall luxury towers has become an index of shifting power structures, changing ownership and wealth concentration. Architect Rafael Vinoly, who designed 432 Park in Manhattan, among the most celebrated of these new towers, summed up well this situation in a New York Times story from 2013: “There are only two markets, ultra-luxury and subsidized housing.”

NYC Mayor De Blasio’s Housing New York plan, which proposes to preserve and create 200,000 affordable housing units in the city, is one response to this unprecedented development. Taking the mayor’s plan as its starting point, this summer’s Syracuse Architecture Gentrification Lab will propose housing prototypes that challenge the economically segregated city that has arisen over the last several years. We will begin with two fundamental questions: Who owns the city? Is a building a container for investment or a container for urban life?

In last year’s Gentrification Lab, the studio examined new real estate developments that have emerged in the last several years along the L-train line, from the High Line in Manhattan to Rockaway Parkway in Brooklyn. This year’s studio will examine developments along the 4 Lexington Avenue Express train line from Manhattan to the Bronx to Brooklyn. With the aim of developing a fine grain analysis of the city, the studio will research, document and map rates of home ownership, levels of mixed income housing and density, among other factors. These analyses will inform the studio’s ambition to develop more equitable housing strategies along the 4 Lexington Avenue Express train line. Ultimately, the studio will create a manifesto of architectural prototypes that aspire to contribute to the affordable city of tomorrow.

Gentrification Lab NYC is a multi-year design and research studio led by Syracuse Architecture visiting professors Elma van Boxel and Kristian Koreman of Rotterdam-based architectural firm ZUS.