Public Program

  • Typecast: Reinventing Urban Housing
    Architectural League of New York

Rafael Herrin-Ferri, Pointy semi-detached triplets each with its own color scheme and garage terrace detailing, Maspeth, 2014. Courtesy of The Architectural League.

Typecast is a long-term, research-based study that seeks to refresh thinking about building typologies that have come to be seen as outdated or ossified. Following a series on towers-in-the-park, this edition examines two urban housing types—row houses and semi-detached one-, two-, and three- family houses—to generate a more nuanced understanding of evolving cityscapes and to stimulate thinking about how to reinvent stagnant or depreciated types to serve contemporary needs and uses. Underlying the project is a desire to understand how cultural messages promote or poison the perception of built form; how social activity (of neighbors, developers, realtors, or commentators) intersects with the physical environment; and how small residential buildings help to address housing supply needs in New York City. Typecast will be played out in multiple media, including photography, analytical drawing, mapping, reported and critical writing, and interactive media. Products and findings will be communicated via live programming, the League's robust digital platforms, and print publications.

As executive director of the Architectural League, Rosalie Genevro has guided and intensified the League's design advocacy in the public interest and firmly established the League's commitment to design excellence. Genevro's work on urban housing has included a position early in her career as research director of a non-profit corporation that created innovative approaches to improve the physical, financial, and operational condition of New York City's inventory of federally-subsidized housing. At the League, she has directed a number of projects to improve housing design, including Vacant Lots, on infill housing for small sites; Arverne: Housing on the Edge, suggesting approaches to large-scale development on an environmentally sensitive site; and Making Room, a collaboration with the Citizens Housing and Planning Council to develop ideas for new approaches to micro-housing, accessory units, and shared housing as means to adapt New York City's housing for its changing demographic make-up.

Emily Schmidt is the manager of housing initiatives at the Architectural League. Before joining the League, she worked for three years in Dallas as a planning associate at bcWORKSHOP, a non-profit community design center, where she led initiatives to strengthen the physical and social health of neighborhoods through engagement, research, data analysis, and other tools for community advocacy and informed decision-making. Previously, she worked in Chicago and New York conducting research and community engagement for public, private, and non-profit planning organizations. A native of Chicago, she holds a BA in American studies with a concentration in urban studies from Wesleyan University, where she was awarded a post-graduate Ford Fellowship to oversee the university's writing center.

Jonathan Tarleton is senior editor and frequent contributor at the Architectural League's Urban Omnibus, for which he conceives, commissions, edits, and writes features on the making of the urban environment in New York City.  He also serves as the chief researcher for Unstoppable Metropolis, an atlas of New York City edited by writer Rebecca Solnit, to be published in 2016, and as an oral historian for the Brooklyn Historical Society's Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations project, documenting the experience of mixed-heritage individuals in the borough. He studied the intersection of social movements, community development, and urban planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Architectural League of New York, founded in 1881, nurtures excellence in architecture, design, and urbanism, and stimulates thinking and debate about the critical design and building issues of our time.   Through its live programs, robust digital presence, competitions, publications, research, and exhibitions, the League is a local, national, and international leader in the presentation of important work and ideas in contemporary architecture and city-making.