UTSA CACP 2017-18 Speaker Series continues Jan. 29 with Neeraj Bhatia

(January 18, 2018) -- The UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning’s (CACP) 2017-2018 Speaker Series continues with architect and urban designer Neeraj Bhatia, Assistant Professor at the California College of the Arts and co-director of urbanism research lab, The Urban Works Agency. Bhatia is also founder of The Open Workshop, a transcalar design-research office examining the negotiation between architecture and its territorial environment. Bhatia’s work resides at the intersection of politics, infrastructure, and urbanism. In his talk, “Commoning,” he will discuss design agency and working in the public realm, commoning at the domestic and urban scales, and ongoing research into co-living experiments in the Bay Area. The event is free and open to the public and will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, January 29 in the Buena Vista Building’s Aula Canaria Lecture Hall (BV 1.328) on the UTSA Downtown Campus.

The majority of architecture and urban design of the twentieth century aimed to tame the contradictory, heterogeneous, and contingent urban environment, both physically as well as socio-politically. Bhatia’s talk will instead present a series of projects that attempt to reconcile and empower the role of architecture within the transforming, evolving, fluctuating, and indeterminate conditions of the city, its public sphere, and its ecological context. In particular, through a series of design-research projects, it will position the act of commoning spaces and resources as a critical device to creating more inclusive environments. In their manifesto The Urban Works Agency asks, “As increasingly large swaths of the urban territory are being produced not as acts of spatial design, but as economic and logistic organizations of the landscape, how can design have agency in these discussions?” This quest for new forms of agency will necessarily push design thinking beyond the confines of the object and the academic context, and prepare future urbanists to directly engage the larger systems, processes, and social conditions that will open design to an expanded field of urban practice.

The Open Workshop is a multidisciplinary design workshop focused on critically re-evaluating the concept of an open work, first posited by Umberto Eco in 1962. Bhatia will discuss two projects, “The Right of Way is Right to the City,” and “Dredgescaping Toledo.” Recognized for its design-research, which includes the Architectural League Young Architects Prize in 2016, The Open Workshop has a record of complex projects that engage multiple systems and stakeholders. Select other distinctions include the Emerging Leaders Award from Design Intelligence, Graham Foundation Grants, The Lawrence B. Anderson Award, Shell Center for Sustainability Grant, Odebrecht first-prize Award for Sustainability, ACSA Faculty Design Award, and the Fulbright Fellowship. Bhatia is co-editor of books Bracket [Takes Action], The Petropolis of Tomorrow, Bracket [Goes Soft], Arium: Weather + Architecture, and co-author of Pamphlet Architecture 30: Coupling — Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism. He has a Master’s degree in Architecture and Urbanism from MIT and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies and Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Waterloo.

The UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning Speaker Series brings built environment professionals from around the world to UTSA to share their expertise on a variety of topics with the local community. For this event, free parking is available in UTSA parking lot D-3 under I-35, unmarked spaces only. UTSA Downtown Campus Map found here. For more information, contact Nicole Chavez at nicole.chavez@utsa.edu or 210.458.3121. Join our Facebook event.