• PRAXIS, Issue 15: Bad Architectures
    Amanda Reeser Lawrence, Ashley Schafer, and Irina Verona
    Praxis, Inc., 2019
    PRAXIS, Inc.

First Office, LA Dolman. Courtesy of the architects.

In the face of mounting social, ecological, political, and economic uncertainties, architects today seem ever more compelled to optimize, rationalize, and deliver solutions. The role of design is often framed (and measured) by the urgency to act and the aspiration to do “good.” Yet this desire for good often numbs the possibility for criticism, interpretation, and provocation. As a counterpoint to these often-predictable responses, this last issue of PRAXIS, “Bad Architectures” instead magnifies the wrinkles, ripples, disturbances, disruptions, and glitches within the field, framing them as opportunities and alternative ways of working or thinking. The work focuses on the margins, on different modes of writing and building, even on failure, ugliness, and inefficiency. The issue features designers who are operating in places within the field that have conventionally been considered uninteresting, unworthy, trivial, extraneous, or inferior, with the intention of restarting architectural debate.

Amanda Reeser Lawrence is a tenured associate professor in the School of Architecture at Northeastern University where she serves as Graduate Program Director. Lawrence is cofounder and coeditor of PRAXIS: A Journal of Writing + Building. Her published books include: James Stirling: Revisionary Modernist (Yale University Press, 2013) and Terms of Appropriation, (Routledge 2017), coedited with Ana Miljacki. Her current manuscript is entitled The Architecture of Influence: Studies in Unoriginality. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. She received her PhD in architectural history and theory from Harvard University, her master of architecture from Columbia University and her bachelor’s Summa Cum Laude from Princeton University.

Ashley Schafer is a writer, curator, educator, and registered architect. She is cofounder and coeditor of PRAXIS: A Journal of Writing + Building. She has received grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Graham Foundation and the New York State Council for the Arts. In 2014, she was cocommissioner and cocurator of the US Pavilion at the 14th International Venice Architecture Biennale, along with Ana Miljacki and Eva Franch. Schafer is a professor of architecture at The Ohio State University, where she served as head of architecture from 2005–09 and chair of graduate studies from 2015–18. Prior to her appointment at Ohio, she was an assistant and associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She has held visiting appointments at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard. She received a bachelor’s in architecture from the University of Virginia and a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University in 1998.

Irina Verona, a founding editor of Praxis, is an architect and partner of Verona Carpenter Architects (VCA), based in New York City. Recent projects include the Joan Mitchell Art Foundation, the Center for Italian Modern Art, as well as the conversion and expansion of a landmark multifamily building. Before founding VCA, she collaborated with TEN Arquitectos, Andrew Berman Architect, and Deamer+Phillips, among others. Since 2008 she has taught architectural design studios and seminars the Barnard + Columbia Colleges Architecture Program, in addition to teaching at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Verona received her bachelor’s from Princeton University and her master’s from Columbia University, where she was awarded the Honor Award for Excellence in History and Theory and the William Kinne Fellows Prize.  She is also the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship in Barcelona.

Founded in 1999, PRAXIS: A Journal of Writing + Building established itself as a distinctive voice in the American architectural press and is the only project-based alternative to commercial publications. It addresses contemporary architectural discourse and practice in a depth and breadth distinct from other design publications. As an organization comprised solely of architects, PRAXIS seeks to address the most salient design issues by considering them through the relation of contemporary projects, emerging building technologies, history, design, and theory. The press strives to increase awareness of lesser-known work by publishing it alongside more established work. PRAXIS seeks out emerging architectural practices; firms located beyond the media centers of New York and Los Angeles; and others whose work tests conventional disciplinary boundaries.