I’m an architect and an urban designer, a scholar, and an educator. I insist on defining all of my activities, within and outside of academia, as strategic practice—a term borrowed from Freya Matthews as she points at the need for new and interconnected forms of action in the time of the Anthropocene—a term i also interrogate.1 My strategic practice produces outputs of various and non-exhaustive forms: studios and seminars, readings, publications, drawings, comic books, exhibitions, installations, videos, conference curations, pamphlets, talks and lectures, excel sheets and poetry, interiors and architecture projects. Because I concern myself with both collective and individual agency, building upon my architectural practice, my research and teaching experience, along with political engagement, I have walked my own path, and it is not a straight one. To me, architecture is a discipline that thrives by borrowing and learning from all other fields, as well as a unique tool to understand and design our world. This prerogative comes with a responsibility embedded in the current state of the Earth. On the backdrop of unprecedented environmental degradation, geopolitical insecurities and growing social and spatial injustice, architecture and urbanism must address and confront these urgencies in the face of an uncertain future.
In the frame of my strategic practice, I attempt to reconcile urbanism and architecture with forms of engagement and agencies as an answer to the myriad of both top-down and bottom-up interventions where architecture and planning are not front-seat. While civic and democratic movements have been formidable change generators resulting in revolutions and spectacular political changes, it seems important to adapt research, teaching, and practice correspondingly. To design the city remains the very task of architects and planners, and while futures generations should be equipped accordingly, practitioners too need to react. I see this debate on the role of planners as an opportunity to redefine and push the maneuvering boundaries in which we designers operate, and what being an architect means today. I believe it is absolutely necessary to reposition architecture and planning center-stage, through “a plurality of resistances” to produce informed notions of practice and formulate agencies to act responsibly and more inclusively.2 The fruit of my personal engagement, this resolute and open approach illuminates my research, teaching and practice philosophy, which I conceive as curious, inclusive, and passionate.
1 Freya Matthews, “Strategia: Thinking with or Accommodating the World,” in Manifesto for Living in the Anthopocene, ed. Katherine Gibson, Deborah Rose & Ruth Fincher (New York: Punctum Books, 2015).
2 Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège De France. 1977-1978, ed. Michel Senellart, Francois Ewald, and Alessandro Fontana (New York: Picador, 2009)