Tom Wiscombe introduces Cruz Garcia and Nathalie Frankowski of WAI Architecture Think Tank.
Under the category “Kynical narrative (1968/2008)”, Cruz Garcia describes how, after finishing school the year Lehman Brothers collapsed, they pursued a nomadic practice in Belgium, Holland, France, China, and Taliesin East. He critiques current architectural discourse as inadequate for dealing with contemporary reality, and too complicit to be genuinely critical. Garcia notes that the year 2008 was also significant as a moment to recover the revolutionary struggles of four decades earlier.
Under the category “Loudreaders (1920/2020)”, Garcia discusses their “A manual of anti-racist architectural education” (2020). He criticizes topics like Parametricism and Speculative Realism, architecture theory magazines like ANY and Log, and projects like UVA’s Memorial to Enslaved Laborers for dwelling in past discourses, and for a complicity that precludes utopian or revolutionary progress.
Nathalie Frankowski describes the “Post-Colonial Room” (2018), a pedagogic exhibition of the collaborative Post Novis, focused on how architecture has been used as a tool for the military occupation of the tropics. Garcia describes other projects, including “Summer Garden” for MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program Nominee (2019), Loudreaders Trade School (2020), and their “Unmaking architecture : an anti-racist architecture manifesto”. Frankowski presents projects by students of their design studio at Carnegie Mellon (Spring 2020).
Garcia discusses their publications and exhibitions as platforms for the exchange of knowledge. He describes several projects including the Pavilion of shapes, Beijing (2019).
The talk concludes with discussions of several projects, including a design for the NCCA National Centre for Contemporary Art, Moscow (2013) that became the Intelligentsia Gallery in Beijing; a design for the renovation of a residential courtyard in Beijing; and the OSIRI Innovation Learning Center, Lincoln, Nebraska (2019).