Design and architecture buffs abound here in Brooklyn, and Greenpoint has even been called the home design capital of the borough, but Talking Tropics, a new series of discussions at A/D/O, the creative design hub at 29 Norman Avenue, is putting Tropical cities like Shenzhen, Rio and Chennai at the center of “a conversation about climate change and the future of design, architecture and construction in island and waterfront cities.”
The first event in the series, presented in conjunction with Prototropic, kicked off last Wednesday, August 9. A panel of architects and urbanists, moderated by Dimitri Daniel Kim of Prototropic, proposed a new way to define urbanism: not through “highly-polished high-rises,” but through culture and people.
Together, speakers from Untapped Cities, the 14+ Foundation, Reddymade Design and wHY Architecture tackled such questions as what makes a modern city, how can innovative urban design produce structures nimble enough to adjust to their environments, and how can architecture respond to both the physical needs of a thriving metropolis and to its cultural and spiritual identity. When the discussion ended, the sharp discourse relaxed into delicious rhubarb daiquiris courtesy of Norman, A/D/O’s in-house restaurant.
The room buzzed with the energy of a rapt crowd. The majority of the audience was architects and designers, but the event was free and open to the public. That accessibility reflects A/D/O’s identity as a space “built for designers, open to all.”
The series will continue monthly, through the fall, and each installment will focus on different “points of view” surrounding architecture and design in the Tropics. Alyse Archer-Coité, Director of Culture and Programming at A/D/O, explains that while Wednesday’s panel focused on architecture, future panels might be made up of developers or policy makers. She hints that upcoming events in the series could be ticketed, with proceeds supporting ideas and policy related to tropical design and architecture, so that the series becomes a call to action. Stay tuned for September’s panel.