Studio-X Global Introduction


Mark Wigley, dean

Malwina E. Łyś-Dobradin, director, Global Network Programming

Established in 2008 as a pilot project in New York City, Studio-X today spans the globe with six high impact urban laboratories for exploring the future of cities through research, events, exhibitions and cross disciplinary experiments and collaboration. The Studio-X global network forms a new kind of international workshop for real-time exchange of projects, people and ideas between regional leadership cities. It enables the best minds from Columbia University to think together with the best minds in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. An intense collaborative workshop by day and energizing event space by night, Studio-X is a new platform for incubating conversation about the future of the built environment. Each is a cultural center located in the lively downtown core of a leadership city that is embedded within a larger vibrant regional context. With locations in New York, Beijing, Amman, Mumbai, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, it is the first truly global network for a new kind of conversation about the most urgent issues facing our shared world.

Each Studio-X has excelled within its given context, seeking to stimulate and inspire the local, regional and global communities. Studio-X Mumbai and Studio-X Rio, launched in 2011, have already developed a remarkable density of activities and the interconnections between the different nodes in the network are increasing exponentially. A new way of thinking and sharing is emerging. The dream of the first global think-tank on the future of cities has become a reality even before we complete our expansion of the global network to include Istanbul, Johannesburg, Moscow and Paris.

Every program in the School has become active in all these Studio-X and proto Studio-X locations. All students and faculty will spend time in at least one of these experimental spaces. In this regard, 2012 was a hallmark year. For the first time in the School’s history, all architecture students traveled to a Studio-X location around the world as part of the spring Kinne trips. Urban Planning, Urban Design and Real Estate Development programs also conducted their international fieldwork from Studio-X hubs. This summer, faculty members are leading student summer workshops in the Amazon, Amman, Beijing, Istanbul, Paris and Johannesburg. The relationship between the hyper-dense core of experimentation in Avery Hall and this hyper-expanded global network has become a crucial pedagogical dynamic. The traditional mission of the school to operate as a laboratory for the most experimental and global thinking now pulsates rhythmically and continuously between the heart of the research university in New York, and the regions of the world where urban life is evolving at unprecedented speed.

As we so rapidly head towards having more than seventy percent of the planet’s nine billion citizens in 2050 living in cities, schools of architecture need to evolve just as rapidly. A whole new kind of intellectual infrastructure is needed. In order to train professionals to design new kinds of built environments in the radically changing world, it’s time to expand the bandwidth, sharpen the thinking, experiment vigorously, listen relentlessly, shelter the most fragile of ideas and share.

All Studio-X Directors 2012-2013 A/C
Studio-X Directors with Mark Wigley B