Published August 28, 2014
Joining the Buffalo School as this year's Peter Reyner Banham Fellow is architectural writer, researcher and educator Jordan Carver. As the 2014-15 Banham Fellow, Carver will examine the relationship of state funding and public infrastructure to civic identity in Buffalo through a yearlong seminar, site-specific installations and a public symposium.
Carver co-organizes WBYA? (Who Builds Your Architecture?), an advocacy group examining labor, architecture and the global systems that intertwine these aspects with buildings. In 2013, he received a New York State Council of the Arts grant to study how sequestration and taxation affect the built environment. He received his MArch and Master of Science in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices from Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. A widely published architectural writer, Carver has served as managing editor for Columbia University’s GSAPP books.
During his time at the Buffalo School, Carver seeks to answer the question: “What are the aesthetic characteristics of these infrastructural projects, and how do they, in turn, affect notions of citizenship and civic representation?”
“Buffalo is ideal because the identity and development of the city have been uniquely tied to large scale infrastructural projects since its founding and initial planning,” Carver says.”The Erie Canal is the most obvious example, but also the Olmsted plan, the grain silos, the interstate system, the subway, bridges to Canada, and the University at Buffalo itself.”
Indeed, Buffalo's legacies in public infrastructure directly shape the region's civic identity and socioeconomic landscape, as Carver notes: “Post-industrialization, the carving of the city with Robert Moses interstates and the Main street subway line have [sic] underscored inequality and racial tensions.” (Read more about Carver's yearlong seminar, "From Spatial Politics to Public Space").
The Buffalo School’s dedication to research, the faculty, and the time and space provided by the fellowship itself make it an ideal location to carry out this sort of project. I have been working on issues of civic engagement, taxation, and spatial politics for several years and I think Buffalo provides an interesting case study to carry out focused research within a supportive environment.
- Jordan Carver, 2014-15 Banham Fellow
Such provocative research inquiries directly align with the Buffalo School's Banham Fellowship, which supports design work that situates architecture within the general field of socio-cultural and material critique.
Peter Reyner Banham taught at UB from 1976-80, producing a foundational body of scholarship on material/visual culture as a reflection of contemporary social life. Spending his time in Buffalo, he engaged in a scholarly project on American industrial architecture in early modernism through historical research, hands-on engagement and seminar instruction. The work resulted in his landmark publication, A Concrete Atlantis.
Continuing Banham’s incredible legacy, Jordan Carver will contribute new insights into the effects of infrastructural projects on citizenship and civic representation.