This Sunday MoMA will open their latest architectural exhibition Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement. This exhibit presents 11 architectural projects located in five continents, and how the architects engage with local, social, economic, and political conditions to respond to the needs of the community in which their design is sited. The 11 projects featured in this exhibit have been built in the United States, Chile, Venezuela, Brazil, France, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Bangladesh, and Lebanon, and underscore a renewed commitment of architecture and its practitioners to a higher level of social responsibility in design. Far from the typical gestures of utopia-like communities planned within a hyper-advanced technological system, which are dominating architectural theory and practice right now, Small Scale, Big Change is grounded in pragmatism, separating itself from the esoteric. From a handmade school in Bangladesh to a reconsideration of a modernist housing project in Paris, to a cable car that connects a single hillside barrio in Caracas to the city at large, this exhibit focuses on small scale bringing big change.
The works that will be on display at MoMA are a reevaluation of the role of architecture in today’s society, pressing for more manageable and accessible design initiatives, grounded in sustainability through more conventional methods – rather than experimentation with costly new materials and technologies – to build stronger social and economic stewardship. Overall, the goal of this exhibit is to better reveal the importance of incorporating the local conditions of a place, community collaboration in development, and the incredible role contemporary architecture can play in improving social conditions and bringing forth positive social change. Small Scale, Big Change will explore a primary school built in Gando, Burkina Faso; Quinta Monroy Housing in Iquique, Chile; the METI – Handmade School, Rudrapur, Bangladesh and eight other inspiring projects. The show will run from October 3, 2010 through January 3, 2011, so if you’re in New York City, be sure to check out this inspiring exhibit.