Reset: Towards a New Commons analyzes architecture’s role in envisioning new dynamics of living and community. Contemporary American culture is increasingly disconnected, with people divided by needs, generations, and beliefs. The disconnection has been exacerbated by the enduring COVID-19 pandemic and illuminated by the growing racial justice movement. This exhibition will explore the belief that environments that foster cooperation, interaction, and mutual assistance can be an antidote to the intense divisions in American life.
The exhibition will present several historic and contemporary case studies that demonstrate ways in which designers have helped foster community, many of them focusing on specific target groups—isolated religious communes, parents-to-be, people with disabilities, or seniors with dementia. However, Reset: Towards a New Commons hopes to prompt designers to think beyond these examples and envision radically different environments that promote a broader and more holistic approach to inclusion. To achieve this, the Center for Architecture launched a nationwide RFP to solicit proposals from interdisciplinary teams that envision environments that encourage new ways of living collaboratively. Proposed sites will be located throughout the country, encompassing the regional differences that characterize the United States.