Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Reassembling the American Dream

Last week, the Museum of Modern Art opened “Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream,” the second in an ongoing series of exhibitions exploring issues in contemporary architecture through what might be termed extreme charretting. The first exhibition in the series, “Rising Currents,” looked at how architecture and landscape architecture might react to and mitigate rising sea levels in New York Harbor through adaptive, “soft” infrastructure. (When Hurricane Irene came to town last August, it all seemed very prescient.) But even before that dodged bullet, “Rising Currents” succeeded in combining design and the public in multiple ways. Teams worked out loud at PS1, giving midstream presentations of their research; the project generated ideas that were then studied (at least) by public officials; MoMA’s Architecture and Design department injected itself into a broader public discourse than it had for some time. It seemed like a fresh and winning formula (Mimi Zeiger’s optimistic review for Places is here).