Michael Sorkin


Michael Sorkin is a deeply committed and influential architect and urbanist whose practice spans design, criticism, and teaching. A prolific writer, his currently contributing editor at Architectural Record, for which he writes a regular column, was - for ten years - the architecture critic of The Village Voice, and is the author of hundreds of articles in a wide range of professional, academic and general publications. His books include Variations on A Theme Park, Exquisite Corpse, Local Code, Giving Ground (edited with Joan Copjec), Wiggle (a monograph of his architectural work), Some Assembly Required, Other Plans, The Next Jerusalem, After The World Trade Center (edited with Sharon Zukin), Starting From Zero, Analyzing Ambasz, and Against the Wall. Forthcoming are Twenty Minutes in Manhattan, Eutopia, All Over the Map, Indefensible Space, and Project New Orleans. Sorkin lectures around the world – the current academic year takes him to Bangkok, Busan, Quito, Istanbul, Barcelona, Rotterdam, Shanghai, Sydney, Ann Arbor, Cambridge, Los Angeles, Eugene, Baton Rouge, as well as New York.


  Sorkin is the principal of the Michael Sorkin Studio in New York City, a widely published and exhibited design practice devoted to both practical and theoretical projects at all scales with a special interest in the city and in green architecture. Recent projects include planning and design for a highly sustainable 5000-unit community in Penang, Malaysia, master planning for Hamburg, Visselhoevede, Leipzig, and Schwerin, Germany, planning for a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem and for the center of Shanghai, urban design in Leeds, England, campus planning at the University of Chicago and CCNY, studies of the Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfronts, housing design in Far Rockaway, Vienna, and Miami, a resort in the desert of Abu Dhabi, a park in Queens, New York, a group of houses in Coorg, India, and a very low-cost housing prototype for rural Alabama. The Sorkin Studio is active in research in issues of urban morphology, sustainability, transportation, and equity and has been the recipient of numerous awards from, among others, Progressive Architecture, ID, and the AIA. Currently funded research includes a project to examine the limits of self-sufficiency within New York City and the design of a sustainable motor rickshaw for India. In 2006, Sorkin founded Terreform, a non-profit devoted to research and intervention in urban planning and sustainability issues.   Sorkin has been the Director of the Graduate Urban Design Program at the City College of New York since 2000. From 1993 to 2000 he was Professor of Urbanism and Director of the Institute of Urbanism at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. In an academic career spanning thirty years, has taught at numerous schools of architecture including the Architectural Association in London, the Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark, Carleton University in Ottawa, Cooper Union (for ten years), Columbia, Yale (holding both Davenport and Bishop Chairs), Harvard, Cornell (Gensler Chair), and the Universities of Nebraska (Hyde Chair), Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Michigan (Saarinen Chair) and Minnesota (Gilbert Chair). Dedicated to urbanism as both an artistic practice and a medium for social amelioration, Professor Sorkin has conducted design studios in such stressed environments as Jerusalem, Nicosia, Johannesburg, Havana, Kumasi, and Hanoi. During the 2005-2006 academic year, he directed studios for the post- Katrina reconstruction of Biloxi and New Orleans and is currently working with his students on a project for a sustainable city in the Amazon rain forest. As the result of his experience in the Gulf, Sorkin co-founded Project New Orleans, which has become the definitive archive of projects for rebuilding that city.   Sorkin serves as an international consultant on urban and architectural design and participates in numerous juries, seminars, and symposia. Most recently, this activity has included chairing a jury to choose two very large urban planning and architectural projects for the Municipality of Istanbul, a similar jury in Almaty, Kazakhstan, a jury to choose a design for the headquarters of Genzyme, a campus planning consultancy to the University of Cincinnati, expert assessment for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, as well as juries for design magazines, architectural schools, and professional organizations. Sorkin was founding co-chair of the Chrysler Design Award and currently serves as an active member of the boards of directors or advisors of a number of civic and academic bodies, including the Architectural League, Archeworks, the Institute for Urban Design, the London PhD Consortium, and several institutes at CUNY.


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