Critical Spatial Practice

Bodies + Borders (2017 – present)
  • Lori A. Brown | USA

  • 100 Mile Border Zone (credit Jamely Ramos) Legal Points of Entry, Southern Border (credit Kae Schwalber) McAllen site conditions (photograph Lori A. Brown) McAllen temporary sleeping quarters (photograph Lori A. Brown) Supplies (photograph Lori A. Brown)
  • Bodies + Borders (2017 – present)
  • Lori A. Brown | USA
  • My creative practice has generated an intense interest and commitment in an architecture of activism, one that provides meaningful opportunities to participate with and influence broader spatial concerns relevant to contemporary culture. In particular, my work seeks to identify and transform the spectrum of spatial structures within society to promote equity and inclusivity.

    This current research project explores how space participates in those seeking to either enter or leave the United States, especially given the current complex political environment around immigration and asylum seekers. I am particularly interested in how space is used, co-opted, adapted, altered and sustained to support those entering or exiting. This includes traveling to border conditions in New York, Texas, and Arizona, interviewing individuals and organizations who provide care as well as interviewing those who have entered and are in shelters waiting to travel to their family hosts. Another facet of the research is to understand and make visible how the border is legible through legal, political, economic and cultural definitions and how this impacts spatial relationships and mobility. Methodologies of study include drawing and mapping often invisible spatial relationships, the use of ethnography and on the ground interviews with those involved in these relationships and examining how space participates in these interactions.


    Lori Brown has developed a creative practice focusing on the relationships between architecture and social justice issues with particular emphasis on gender and its impact upon spatial relationships in hopes to broaden the discourse and involvement of architecture in our world. She is the co-founder and leads ArchiteXX,, a women and architecture group working to bridge the academy and practice in New York City and seeks to raise the awareness of women in architecture, create support and mentoring networks, and take design actions broadening the exposure of architecture in the world. ArchiteXX’s current curatorial project is the travelling exhibition Now What?! Advocacy, Activism & Alliances in American Architecture since 1968. Through ArchiteXX she is also currently collaborating with the Australian group Parlour and the German group N-Ails on #wikiD, to write more women architects into Wikipedia. Her two books include Feminist Practices:  Interdisciplinary Approaches to Women in Architecture, an edited collection of a group of international women designers and architects employing feminist methodologies in their creative practices (2011) that began as a traveling exhibition and Contested Spaces: Abortion Clinics, Women’s Shelters and Hospitals exploring highly securitized spaces and the impact of legislation and the First Amendment’s affect upon such places (2013). She is working with two abortion clinics on design interventions for their public interface. Currently her two book projects include Borders and Bodies and co-editing the Bloomsbury Global Encyclopedia of Women in Architecture 1960-2015 with Dr. Karen Burns. In 2016 she received a Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation Leadership Award for her work increasing recognition of gender inequities in the building industry. Prior to teaching, Brown was working as an architect in New York City for several award-winning firms. She is a Professor of Architecture at Syracuse University and is a registered architect in the state of New York.


    The work prioritizes ways to be responsive, adaptive, and to challenge normative spatial expectations, identities, and relations. Seeking to make visible often invisible or ignored conditions, the work more broadly works as a critique to the boundaries of the architectural discipline, always with the expectation to expand the potentials for design to become more critically relevant and politically engaged.  

    Feminist, Politics, Borders, Immigration, Detention, Shelters


    Elizabeth Grosz, Architecture from the Outside Essays on Virtual and Real Space (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2001). 

    Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands: La Frontera The New Mestiza 4th edition (San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 2007).

    Jason De León, The Undocumented Migration Project, See also “State of Exception/Estado de Excepción” at Parsons School of Design, The New School,  February 2 – April 17, 2016,

    Other projects
  • Visible vs Invisible, (2022–)
  • Naisten Kaupunki – Työkaluja oman tilan valtaamiseen, (City of Women — Tools for Occupying Space) (2022) 
  • Moonfuture: Migration, Images and the Geological Interior (2022)
  • Dissolving the Dwelling (2021–2)
  • Washing White (2021)
  • Um Slaim Collective (2021)
  • Sonic Acts of Noticing (2021)
  • MGM_OurStarterCulture_5
    Our Starter Culture, (2021)
  • Milan Gender Atlas, (2021)
  • Making Map I: Animals and Anachronistic Architectures, development in progress (2021–)
  • Collateral (2021)
  • The Wandsworth Food Bus, (2020)
  • Progetto Minore. Alla ricerca della minorità nel progetto archiettonico ed urbanistico (2020)
  • 1-DMZ
    Architecture and Co-Existence: DMZ as Site, (2020)
  • Time on Site (2019)
  • Stori Mwd (A Story of Mud), (2019)
  • not nothing (August 2019)
  • Hungry Mothers, En La Frontera (2019 – present)
  • Exchanging Values at Bank (18 October 2019)
  • Cybiog: locating the digital self, (2019/20, 2 mins 45 secs)
  • Civic Pedagogy, learning as critical spatial practice (2019)
  • An Independent and Flexible and Precarious and Overworked Rehearsal, (January – December 2019)
  • An environmental history of La Guajira (2019)
  • A Weird-Tender in progress (2019)
  • Cecilie Sachs Olsen
    A walk in your words (25.01.2019)
  • Portal Zaryadye: A Portal Not Only to Heaven, But Aslo To Hell (24 July – 12 August 2018)
  • Text-isles: sowing an idea, October (2018)
  • Gilly-image-1
    Silent Conversation, (2018 – ongoing)
  • Objects removed for study (2018)
  • Female Futures Lexicon on Space (2018/2019)
  • 5, Big Bang 2 / Mid Graemetruby
    Bank Job, (2018–2020 and beyond)
  • Natalia Irina Roman, Tick Tack, Berlin (2019). Photographer: Natalia Irina Roman
    Along the Lines (2018–)
  • windwoundweatherwovenwirewoman [performance] (2017)
  • Viscous Myths (2017/2018)
  • The Pass (October 2017 – June 2018)
  • The House Alice Built (2017/2019)
  • Productive Withdrawals: Art Strikes, Art Worlds, and Art as a Practice of Freedom (December 2017)
  • Request for the unrequested voluntary interlinguisticality (2017)
  • Caring for Communities (2017 – 2019)
  • Bodies + Borders (2017 – present)
  • a place called … (Spring 2017)
  • Uppland (2016 – 18)
  • Music for Masterplanning (2016 – 17)
  • P | A | N – Proyecto Amasandería Nacional (2016)
  • Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces (2016)
  • Island Icarus (2016–2019)
  • In My Mothers’ Garden: Memories and practices of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (2016)
  • Having not felt like eating, but eaten, I sat down to eat / tea … (2016)
  • Desiring the Dark: Feminist Scenographies, the City and the Night, (2016–2019)
  • Bamboo dialogues (2016)
  • ASSET ARREST (2016)
  • Alternative Arrangements: Walking the Border in Ireland (2016 – ongoing)
  • Matter of the Manor (2015 – 19)
  • The First World Congress of the Missing Things (2014)
  • Private Choices, Public Spaces (2014)
  • Hanging Matters (2014)
  • Act#5 & Act#6: What does Mai Mai Mean? (March 2014 – December 2016)
  • 03-FLATS (2014)
  • (small memorials), 2013–15
  • Mount Patawerta
    Gardening for Untold Ecologies: A Manual for Making an Arid GARDEN Out There, (2013)
  • A Game of Dominoes (2013)
  • Lina & Gio: the last humanists (February – June 2012)
  • Learning-through-Touring (2012)
  • Empty Words Build Empty Homes (2012)
  • Ridley’s (2011)
  • Hustadt project, 2008 – (2011)
  • Palimpsest Performances (2010 – 2014)
  • Negotiating Conflict: Bordering Practices in a Divided Beirut (2010 – 2014)
  • Expanded Architecture (2010 – 2014)
  • Unfixing Place: A Study of Istanbul through Topographical Practices (2008)
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