REFLECTING ON RACIAL INJUSTICE AND AN EQUITABLE FUTURE
The revelations of injustice in communities across our country have sparked a movement of protest and reflection that we hope will begin to change the pervasive structures of racism in our society. As we stand in solidarity with the diverse voices of protest, we also reflect on our responsibilities as architects, as educators, and as leaders of a firm committed to creating open and equitable buildings and public spaces. Weiss/Manfredi believes that design can diminish barriers and strengthen connections between diverse communities and between the public and private institutions that support them. Now more than ever, we must look inward, reach outward, and embrace our responsibility for designing spaces that foster equity and support enduring bonds between diverse communities.
NY TIMES BROOKLYN BRIDGE WALKING TOUR
In a virtual interview that follows their walking commute between their home and studio, Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi gave New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman a tour of the architecture and urban landscapes they appreciate along the way. While many remain under lock down, enjoy the streets of New York vicariously through the eyes of Weiss and Manfredi as they guide you through their favorite open spaces of Brooklyn Heights and Lower Manhattan. Read the interview here.
REFLECTING ON RACIAL INJUSTICE AND AN EQUITABLE FUTURE The revelations of injustice in communities across our country have sparked a movement of protest and reflection that we hope will begin to change the pervasive structures of racism in our society. As we stand in solidarit
OPEN: Research and Conversations
WEISS/MANFREDI DESIGN INCLUDED AS FUTURE OF ACCESSIBILITY On July 20th, 2020, Architecture Critic for The New York Times Michael Kimmelman wrote a story about how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), now 30 years old, has redefined the way designers think about public spaces. While Kimmelman notes there remains much work yet to be done in the realm of creating truly accessible spaces for the American public, the Weiss/Manfredi-designed Robert W. Wilson Overlook at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is touted as an example for how ADA compliance can expand, not limit, the designer's view. He says, "Itís an opportunity, both economic and creative, but one that requires a shift in mind-set. A ramp can be something stuck onto a building to check off some legal requirement. Or it can inspire...the serpentine pathways of the [Overlook] that Weiss/Manfredi recently devised..." You can read the full article here.
THE NEW TOMORROW Once the world emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, many people will be looking at the way they live their lives in a different light. On July 1, Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi participated in The Plan Magazine's new video series, "The New Tomorrow," which highlights how architects and urban designers may rethink how to design space in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world. You can watch their short video here.
SURFACE SUMMER SCHOOLMARION WEISS: THIS IS THE PERFECT MOMENT TO BE A DESIGNER The architect Marion Weiss, co-founder of Weiss/Manfredi and the Graham Professor of Practice at the Stuart Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, presented some of her firm's standout projects that blend architecture, landscape, and urbanism as part of the Surface Summer School lecture series. The students are in the midst of a competition to design a mobile testing unit for COVID-19. Takeaways: "Connection to outside spaces is more important in a post-Covid world," Weiss said, encouraging students to think about how the mobile testing units can shape spaces to quell the fear factor patients typically experience during a medical appointment. "What if they [testing stations] were part of a playscape? What if there was a picnic ground right outside that made it irresistible? Can it be small and also curatorial to give you a sense that you've arrived to a place you want to be?" She ended with a note of optimism, compelling the students to put themselves in the shoes of people in different disciplines like the doctors and patients."You all have gifts to bring to the world that could be small and impactful by their distribution in the millions or impactful in their singularity to change a city." One more piece of sage advice: "Have fun and be fearless with it." See the full schedule link for the lecture series.
WEISS/MANFREDI PLANS FOR OFFICES OF THE FUTURE In the Wall Street Journal, Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi spoke with Fred Bernstein about the future of office space in a COVID-19 world. As trends towards open office plans over the last half century have waned, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced architects to consider programs that consider strategic divisions and increased circulation. "This is going to skew perceptions of the value of space." Weiss says. "Owners' insistence on a high net-to-gross ratio may be a thing of the past, as width of circulation spaces becomes a newly important metric." You can read the full article here.
2020 THOMAS JEFFERSON MEDAL LECTURE: CONSTRUCTING VALUE On April 20, 2020, Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi gave an online, public lecture in honor of receiving the 2020 Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture. The award, bestowed by the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello, recognizes the recipients' exemplary contributions to the endeavors in which Jefferson excelled and held in high regard. In their lecture, "Constructing Value," Weiss and Manfredi address how their works have transformed urban environments for the public good by creating spaces that promote ecological and social equity. You can watch the full lecture below or click this link.
WEISS/MANFREDI ON DESIGNTV WITH CINDY ALLEN Interior Design Editor Cindy Allen interview Michael Manfredi and Marion Weiss as part of Sandow's new DesignTV programming, featured on Facebook Live. Allen interviewed Weiss and Manfredi from home where they discussed some of their most influential work, while also noting its relevance in the time of COVID-19. "The one thing we can truly share is the horizon," said Weiss. You can watch the full interview below or here.
AZURE MAGAZINE: URBAN DENSITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH Recent coverage of large cities like New York suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn ire from critics who say that the crisis has exposed the unhealthy nature of urban life. In Azure Magazine, Marion Weiss rejects this idea, advocating instead that urban design has historically been shaped by public health concerns. "(Density is) not inherently destructive, but necessitates the design and preservation of generously conceived parks and urban spaces." Read her full quote in the article here.
WEISS/MANFREDI AND PARKS
After New York City ordered many public playgrounds and parks to close amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi spoke with Architectural Record to address the importance public space plays in our collective psyche. "Parks, when generously conceived, are social equalizers of urban life," they said. You can read the article here.
Weiss/Manfredi team members leapt to action in support of first responders and health care workers in the New York City area when they joined the architecture industry-led initiative #OperationPPE. Organized by Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, several firms in the New York area have collaborate to use their 3D printers and laser cutters to produce masks and face shields for doctors, burses, EMTS, and others working on the frontline of the COVID-19 outbreak. You can read more about the effort here.
BROOKYLN BOTANIC GARDEN IN BLOOM This spring, the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden were inaccessible to the public due to COVID-19 closure. In The Gothamist, Jake Dobkin recorded 2020's bloom with incredible aerial, ground, and detail photos of the garden, which include the Weiss/Manfredi designed Visitor Center and Robert G. Wilson Overlook. See the gallery here.