Parsons Collaborates with University of Westminster on Parallel Cities Workshop

How do scenes of everyday life in New York and London speak to larger trends affecting the future of large cities? How can designers address the “zombie urbanism” of gentrification and the reckless flow of global capital?

These questions, among others, were posed to students from Parsons School of Design’s Temporary Environments courses and students from the University of Westminster’s Interior Architecture course during the first Parallel Cities Workshop in April.

Led by William Haskas, faculty member in Parsons’ BFA Interior Design Program, and Alessandro Avuso and David Scott from the University of Westminster, the workshop examined the workings of urban scenes as the starting point for speculative acts of design. As part of the workshop, students designed large-scale physical models combining digital and analogue media with film and physical materials to uncover relationships between bodies, networks, and spaces in New York City.

Students received training in Rhino, a commercial 3D computer graphics and computer-aided design application software and Grasshopper, a visual programming language, in addition to digital fabrication processes focused on networked workflows.

“The workshops look to design strategies at the intersection of urban design and interior architecture, two concentrations that privilege as-found conditions, the perspective and perception of inhabitants, and the social scene as important aspects of conceiving designs,” Haskas says.  “This focus on using design to address complex urban issues is at the core of Parsons’ approach to education.”