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Michael Sorkin


American theorist and critic Michael Sorkin (1948-2020) studied architecture at Harvard and MIT. For a decade he wrote about architecture in the well-known New York weekly, “Village Voice”. At the same time he lectured at numerous universities, including Yale, Harvard, Columbia and Cornell. His prolific writing focuses primarily on social aspects and the political consequences of architecture and urban planning projects. 

Sorkin advanced theories on a model urban community in his project “Model City” (New York, 1989), a “social experiment (...) which essentially focuses on studying the relationship between construction and residence in the urban environment”. (Bhatt).
His ongoing academic work and essays are significant, with the publication of 20 books, including volumes published during the Nineties. One of the most significant is Exquisite Corpse - Writings on Buildings (1991), a reflection on modern architecture and overcoming constraints to free ourselves of preconceptions. His subsequent work, Variations on a Theme Park (1992), explores the public space of parks (a theme he often returns to in his projects), the “false” freedom of a place overly influenced by consumerism.

Other publications include the nostalgic, anecdotal essay Twenty Minutes in Manhattan (2009), the title of which alludes to the route Sorkin walks daily between his apartment in Greenwich Village and his offices in Tribeca.
In addition, other books which deal with issues relating to emergency situations include After the World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City (Routledge, 2002); Against The Wall: Israel's Barrier to Peace (New Press, 2005); New Orleans Under Reconstruction: The Crisis of Planning (with C. Reese and A. Fontenot, Verso Books, 2014).

In the Eighties, Sorkin founded his eponymous studio in New York City with satellite offices in Shanghai and Xi'an, China. The Practice is particularly committed to both practical and theoretical issues relating to urbanism and green architecture, and offers professional consulting, planning and innovative solutions that respect the environment and local cultures.

From a construction perspective, over the decades Michael Sorkin Studio’s work has encompassed designs for buildings, office and teaching complexes, residences, hotels, scientific centers and religious structures. The Practice has received numerous awards and his work has been exhibited and published internationally.

The practice’s body of work includes numerous projects in densely populated areas including Cairo, Havana, Jerusalem and many locations in China, Taiwan and the United States in particular.
Michael Sorkin Studio has recently contributed to notable projects in the East, including "the masterplan of a new town for 300,000 inhabitants and an environmental research park, both in Wuhan, China, reclamation and development of a 50-kilometer stretch along the Wei River and a new university town, both in Xi-an, China (...). The design of a 1,000-unit resort in Coffs Harbour, Australia, and site and building development and complexes in Turkey, the Philippines, Malaysia and the United States".
Sorkin founded the research group Terreform in 2005, and is currently president.

He has curated numerous exhibitions during his extensive career, including exhibitions in Germany (Hamburg, Berlin and Düren) in addition to many in the United States. He also curated the Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennial (2010).

In addition to his above-mentioned academic work, Sorkin has been Distinguished Professor of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at City College, New York since 2000, Professor of Urbanism and Director of the Institute of Urbanism at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna and has held numerous roles at Nebraska and Michigan Universities.
Michael Sorkin selected works and projects
- The Anxin Archipelago, Xiangon (Cina), 2018
- Xi’an Forest Park, Xi'an (Cina), 2017
- A New Capital City (Xiongan), Xi'an (Cina), 2017          
- Chengdu Jiujiang, Jiujiang (Cina), 2017
- Fengxi New City Central Sponge Park Conceptual Design, Xi'an (Cina), 2017 
- Fengxi New City Baima River Urban Design, Xi'an (Cina), 2017
- Davao Chapel, Davao City (Filippine), 2017
- Shenzhen Pedestrian Bridges, Shenzhen (Cina), 2017      
- Belfast Revitalization Plan, Belfast (Irlanda del Nord), 2017       
- Xi'an Mole Center, Xi'an (Cina), 2017
- Xi'an Zaoyuan Autoparts Management Building, Xi'an (Cina), 2016
- New York Subway Freight System, New York City (USA), 2016
- Golden Oyster Food Culture Town, Bao’an District, Shenzhen (Cina), 2016
- Zhejiang Cultural Center, Zhejiang (Cina), 2016
- Bao'an Fashion Business Zone, Shenzhen (Cina), 2016
- Xi'an Zaoyuan Towers, Xi'an (Cina), 2015
- City Of Science Laboratory, Xi'an (Cina), 2015
- Bonville Ecological Golf Resort, Bonville (Australia), 2015       
- Barack Obama Community Library, Chicago (USA), 2014
- University of Zamboanga High School, Zamboanga City (Filippine), 2014
- Xi'an Yuexiu City, Xi'an (Cina), 2014
- Yangling Model District Financial Building, Xi'an (Cina), 2014
- Wuhan Qingtan Lake Ecological Tech Park, Wuhan (Cina), 2014
- Xi'an Commercial Valley Apartment, Club House, New Airport City, Church, Xi'an (Cina), 2013-2014
- Masterplan Xiqing District Housing Design, Tianjin (Cina), 2010
- A Seven Star Hotel and Clubhouse, Tianjin (Cina), 2008
- Progetto di abitazioni, Bodrum (Turchia), 2008
- Houses at Coorg, Weekend Houses on Plantation, Coorg (India), 2006
- City College of New York Campus, New York (USA), 2004
- WTO Headquarters, Ginevra (Svizzera), 2003
- Shoehaus, 70 unità di edilizia pubblica, Vienna (Austria), 1995
- Progetto Tracked Houses, Housing for the Homeless, West Side Rail Yards, New York (USA), 1990
- Progetto West Hollywood Civic Center, Los Angeles (USA), 1988
Official website


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