In conjunction with Balkrishna Doshi: Architecture for the People, Alphawood Exhibitions and Wrightwood 659 partnered with Monica Chadha of Civic Projects Architecture, and Spirit of Space, to re-imagine key principles of Doshi’s work in the contemporary context of Chicago neighborhoods. Monica joins three Chicago natives, activist Asiaha Butler, artist Edra Soto, and journalist and author Natalie Y. Moore as they reflect on their engagements with Doshi’s approach to low cost housing, urban planning, and vernacular architecture.
Rather than a traditional tour, the series Architecture of Community illustrates the duality of exhibition viewing, extending principles from the gallery to the places we inhabit. How do our own memories and cultural associations shape the reading of an exhibition? In turn, how are we shaped by that encounter?
A Chicago native, Natalie Y. Moore is WBEZ’s South Side reporter and the author of The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation, in which she explores contemporary segregation on the South Side of Chicago through reported essays. She’s also the co-author of Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation and The Almighty Black P Stone Nation: The Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of an American Gang.
Monica Chadha, AIA, LEED AP, is founder and principal of Civic Projects Architecture, a Chicago-based practice with a social impact focus. Prior to starting her firm, she served as founding director of Impact Detroit and led project teams at Studio Gang and Ross Barney Architects, where she was integral to the design of award-winning, civic scale buildings. Her approach to design is highly participatory, going beyond architecture to engage in strategic planning, development, and revitalization. Civic Projects is engaged in a wide variety of work: including their collaboration with Ralph Appelbaum Associates on the Obama Presidential Center Museum and planning and design for GCE, a private nonprofit high school’s downtown campus. In 1996 she worked at the Vastu-Shilpa Foundation for Research & Studies in Environmental Design as a Research Associate in the Office of Balkrishna Doshi, on the development of housing prototypes for low-income communities.
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