American theoretician and critic Michael Sorkin (1948) studied architecture at Harvard and MIT. For a decade he wrote about architecture in the well-known New York weekly “The Village Voice”.
At the same time he taught at several universities, including Yale, Harvard, Columbia and Cornell.
His many writings focus primarily on the social aspects and political implications of architectural and urban planning projects.
Sorkin investigates a model urban community in his “Model City” project (New York, 1989), a “social experiment (...) the essential core of which consists of study of the relationship between construction and residence in the urban environment” (Bhatt).
Sorkin has published several volumes, especially since the nineties: one of the most important of these is Exquisite corps - Writing on Buildings (1991), containing his reflections on modern architecture and how we can completely free ourselves of preconceptions.
His next work, Variations on a Theme Park (1992), explores the public space of the park (a common theme in his projects), a place that is “falsely” free and overly conditioned by consumerism.
His other works include the nostalgic, anecdotal essay Twenty Minutes in Manhattan (2009), the title of which alludes to the stretch Sorkin walks every day between his apartment in Greenwich Village and his studio in Tribeca.
Over the past twenty years he has worked on numerous projects, many of them in areas of high population density (including Cairo, Havana, Jerusalem
and numerous cities in China, Taiwan and the United States: examples include his many masterplans, such as residential zones with the potential to contain 2500 apartments and shops in China (2010).
Sorkin has been the curator of numerous exhibitions during his career: not only in numerous cities in the States, but in Germany (Hamburg, Berlin, Duren) and as curator of the Austrian Pavilion at the Biennale in Venice (2010).
Michael Sorkin famous works and projects
- Masterplan for Xi’an Airport Building, Xi’An (China), 2012
- Masterplan for Xiqing District Housing Design, Tianjin (China), 2010
- A Seven Star Hotel and Clubhouse, Tianjin (China), 2008
- Housing project, Bodrum (Turkey), 2008
- Houses at Coorg, Weekend Houses on Plantation, Coorg (India), 2006
- City College of New York Campus, New York (USA), 2004
- WTO Headquarters, Geneva (Switzerland), 2003
- Shoehaus, 70 Units of Public Housing, Vienna (Austria), 1995
- Tracked Houses, Housing for the Homeless, West Side Rail Yards, New York (USA), 1990
- West Hollywood Civic Center, Los Angeles (USA), 1988