Introduction by Mason White.
To be an advocate is to defend the cause of another, or to support the interests of another. This is a term that one might find readily in the realm of law, politics, and activism. But what does it mean for Architecture to be a form of advocacy? In this presentation, Joyce Hwang will first discuss several projects developed through her research and practice that draw awareness to urban wildlife habitats, in efforts to advocate not only for architecture’s critical role in urban ecology, but also to promote the inclusion of new (non human) subjectivities in the built environment. She will reflect on how fundamentally rethinking architectural structures and building typologies can suggest a more palpable, resonant environment that not only impacts species and habitats, but also human perception and experience. Further, she will expand upon the idea of “Architect as Advocate” as a strategy to reconsider models of design practice, moving beyond power structures inherent in conventional architect-client relationships, and toward a cultivation of new forms of empowerment through collaborations around mutual agendas. Along these lines, the presentation will include a short discussion about Joyce's co-edited book, Beyond Patronage: Reconsidering Models of Practice (Actar, 2015).
Joyce Hwang, AIA, NCARB, is the Director of Ants of the Prairie, an office of architectural practice and research that focuses on confronting contemporary ecological conditions through creative means, and Associate Chair and Associate Professor of Architecture at the University at Buffalo SUNY. She is a recipient of the Architectural League Emerging Voices Award (2014), the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship (2013), and the MacDowell Colony Fellowship (2016, 2011), among other awards. She is co-editor of Beyond Patronage: Reconsidering Models of Practice, published by Actar. Hwang received a M.Arch degree from Princeton University and a B.Arch degree from Cornell University.