Foreclosure may represent a legal and financial nightmare, but can it be considered as art? A new exhibit at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is focusing on the foreclosure crisis by presenting an exhibit that considers new architectural possibilities for revitalizing cities and suburbs that have been pockmarked by distressed housing markets.
MoMA's ‘Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream’ invited five interdisciplinary teams of architects – including members with expertise in economics, finance, housing, and public policy, in addition to architect team leaders – to develop proposals that offer different approaches to interconnected relationships between land, housing, infrastructure, urban form and public spaces. Five suburban sites across the country with at-risk socioeconomic characteristics – including a significant rate of foreclosure and a considerable amount of publicly held land available for development – were chosen for this initiative, with each architect team assigned to create proposals designed to rethink the physical and financial architecture of their assigned site.
‘The foreclosure crisis revealed a crisis of the imagination that has delayed an urgently needed conversation about the default settings of the 'American Dream' and its most visible symbol, the suburban house,’ says Reinhold Martin, director of Columbia University's Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture. ‘These projects can help start such a conversation.’
According to Barry Bergdoll, MoMA's Philip Johnson chief curator of architecture and design, the exhibit is designed to reinforce that the foreclosure crisis is part of a larger socioeconomic concern that is often ignored.
‘'Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream' invited new dialogues between the disciplines that shape our environments in suburbs and cities, as well as between the financial and physical architectures of housing, transport and daily life,’ says Bergdoll. ‘Questioning outdated assumptions, the designs in turn invite new discussions about a territory too often ignored by the design professions and too often leapfrogged by developers – the first-ring suburbs of major cities. These projects suggest more sustainable, more equitable, futures, filled with optimism for places where that is often in short supply.’
The ‘Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream’ exhibit opens Feb. 15 and runs through July 30.
(Photo: Foreclosed residences in Orange, N.J., which are part of the new exhibit.Â Photograph courtesy of MOS Architects.)