Cocktails & Conversation is a series of dialogues about design that joins an architect with a critic, journalist, curator, or architectural historian to discuss current architecture design issues. For this program, Sarah Williams, Director of the Civic Data Lab at MIT, will discuss data visualization and recent projects with Brad Samuels, Founding Partner of SITU Studio, over a custom-crafted cocktail created by Toby Cecchini and David Moo. A data visualization leader, Sarah Williams combines her training in computation and design to create communication strategies that expose urban policy issues and lead to civic change. In 2021, she collaborated with AIANY on “Visualize NYC” and recently released a tool with Transportation Alternatives called “Spatial Equity NYC.” This conversation will focus on her latest exhibition, “Distance Unknown,” which explores the risks and opportunities of migration to urban America.
Sarah Williams, Associate Professor of Urban Planning, Director of Civic Data Design Lab, MIT
Bradley Samuels, Founding Partner, SITU Studio
About the Speakers:
Sarah Williams is an Associate Professor of Technology and Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she is also Director of the Civic Data Design Lab and the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism. Williams combines her training in computation and design to create communication strategies that expose urban policy issues to broad audiences and create civic change. She calls the process “Data Action,” which is also the name of her recent book published by MIT Press. Williams is co-founder and developer of Envelope.city, a web-based software product that visualizes and allows users to modify zoning in New York City. Before coming to MIT, Williams was Co-Director of the Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). Her design work has been widely exhibited including work in the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Venice Biennale, and the Cooper Hewitt Museum. Williams has won numerous awards including being named one of the top 25 technology planners and Game Changer by Metropolis Magazine.
Brad Samuels is a founding partner at SITU, an unconventional architecture practice based in New York City that uses design, research and fabrication for creative and social impact. He is responsible for strategic oversight and directs SITU’s research division which focuses on the intersection of design, human rights and technology.
At SITU Research Brad is focused on merging data and design to create new pathways for justice. The work supports activists, advocates, and lawyers, bridging the gap between digital evidence and the communities that can best deploy them towards justice and accountability. Samuels has overseen the team’s visual investigations for legal and advocacy organizations including The International Criminal Court, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, The Associated Press, Frontline, The United Nations and many others.
Outside the multidisciplinary practice, Samuels sits on the Technology Advisory Board for the International Criminal Court, The Advisory Board for the Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Human Rights Science, the Advisory Board for Dartmouth’s Wright Center for the Study of Computation and Just Communities and the board of The Architectural League of New York. He teaches at The Irwin S Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union and has previously also taught in Barnard/Columbia University’s undergraduate architecture program.
This event is offered in person; COVID-19 vaccinations and face masks are strongly encouraged for all visitors. Read our full Health and Safety Protocol here.
AIANY Architecture Dialogue Committee