The Architectural League’s spring 2021 Current Work series, titled “Reckoning, Reclamation, and Regeneration,” examines some of the inherited histories, conventions, fabrics, and systems—often taken for granted—that constitute and shape the built environment. How might we reconsider the ways we engage with and construct the places that surround us? Speakers will address issues including transforming architectural pedagogy; protecting threatened historic sites; conserving resources by adapting existing buildings and reusing materials; and reimagining and regenerating places scarred by racism, neglect, and environmental emergencies.
Emmanuel Pratt is cofounder and executive director of the Sweet Water Foundation (SWF), a nonprofit organization based on Chicago’s South Side. SWF engages local residents in the cultivation and regeneration of social, environmental, and economic resources in neighborhoods that have suffered the effects of long-term disinvestment. Drawing on the transformative possibilities of Regenerative Neighborhood Development, defined by SWF as an “emergent design process that dynamically cultivates intentional acts of civic arts and participatory design as integral components to reimagine the urban ecology of the built environment,” SWF has transformed four contiguous city blocks into The Commonwealth, “a real-world, physical manifestation of how built spaces reflect and impact understanding of the common and the collective.”
Recent projects, all sited within The Commonwealth, include:
Pratt received a BArch from Cornell University and an MSAUD from Columbia University. He has taught at Chicago State University, where he was director of aquaponics; the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at University of Michigan as the Charles Moore Visiting Professor; and the University of Chicago. In 2016 he was named a Loeb Fellow and in 2019 he received a MacArthur Fellowship and a Joyce Award.
The lecture will be followed by a conversation and Q&A moderated by Chicago-based Casey Jones, the firmwide Design Leadership Council Director and a principal at Perkins & Will. He formerly served as the Deputy Director for Overseas Building Operations at the U.S. Department of State and the Director of Design Excellence at the U.S. General Services Administration.