Block Party: From Independent Living to Disability Communalism – on view all Summer!

On exhibit now through summer 2022, Reset: Towards a New Commons, co-curated by Barry Bergdoll and Juliana Barton, at the Center for Architecture in New York City; “an exhibition analyzing architecture’s role in envisioning new dynamics of living and community.”

exhibition view with map, wall mural, and site model of Berkeley CA
Photo: Sam Lahoz

Our submission was Block Party, co-led by colleagues David Gissen (New School), Irene Cheng (CCA), and Brett Snyder (UC Davis). I had a wonderful experience discussing site selection and design strategies with the team, as well as meeting the curators that placed a ton of effort into the accessibility and logistics of the show.

Block Party: From Independent Living to Disability Communalism reimagines the architecture and urbanism of a section of Berkeley, California, through the perspectives of disability and housing justice. Created by a multidisciplinary team composed of disabled and non-disabled architects, artists, and authors, the project asks: What form might a multiracial disability community take today? What kinds of housing and public spaces could support not only “independent living”— a historic demand among disability rights advocates — but also mutual aid and communal flourishing?Street view drawing of disability infrastructure


How Public Scholarship is Helping Designers Rethink Communities From Independent Living to Disability Collectives – Professor Brett Snyder, UC Davis

Block Party in brief at Architect’s Newspaper

Anthony Paletta for Metropolis magazine: “(…)draws on the contributions of disabled and non-disabled architects and seeks to address a range of obstacles to a variety of disabilities; mobility issues are obviously often the most pressing but other disabilities inhibit the use of numerous urban settings. It starts with the exhibition design itself, which includes audio elements and a tactile model that was initially devised to enable collaboration with a blind team member.

Justin Davidson for Curbed: “(…)how Berkeley could evolve into a haven for residents with disabilities. In that egalitarian idyll, a public pathway shaves away a sliver of each home’s backyard — “borrowing” private property, in the project’s idiom — to create a network of accessible pathways”

Block Party: From Independent Living to Disability Collectives – Berkeley, CA
Javier Arbona, University of California, Davis (Davis, CA)
Irene Cheng, Cheng+Snyder; California College of the Arts (San Francisco, CA)
David Gissen, Parsons School of Design, The New School (New York, NY)
Rod Henmi, FAIA, LEED AP, NOMA, HKIT Architects (Oakland, CA)
Jerron Herman, Artist and Dancer (New York, NY)
Georgina Kleege, Author; University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
Chip Lord, University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA)
Brett Snyder, AIA, Cheng+Snyder; University of California, Davis (Davis, CA)

All the teams exhibited with online galleries and multimedia materials are here: