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Occupation: Boundary: Art, Architecture, and Culture at the Water

The Ferry Building | Port Hearing Room, 1 Ferry Plaza, 2nd Floor

Wednesday, September 21 | 5:00 - 7:00 PM

San Francisco Chronicle Urban Design Critic John King moderates this conversation with Architect Cathy Simon, FAIA, about her new book "Occupation: Boundary: Art, Architecture, and Culture at the Water" which examines the social, political, and cultural factors that have and continue to influence the evolution of the urban waterfront as seen through production created from art and design practices.

Reaching beyond the disciplines of architecture and urban design, Occupation:Boundary distills the dual roles art and culture have played in relation to the urban waterfront, as mediums that have recorded and instigated change at the threshold between the city and the sea. At the moment in time that demands innovative approaches to the transformation of urban waterfronts, and strategies to foster of resilient boundaries, architect Cathy Simon recounts her career building at and around the water’s edge and in service of the public realm.

In so doing, the work of contemporary architects is presented, while the origins and principles of a guiding design philosophy are located in meditations on art and observations on coastal cities around the world. The port cities of New York and San Francisco emerge as case studies that structure the reflections and mediate a narrative that is at once a professional and personal memoir, richly illustrated with images and drawings. Comprising three parts, the first two corresponding parts of Occupation:Boundary draw connections between the past and present by tracing the rise and fall of urban, industrial ports and providing context―in the forms of textual and visual media―for their recent transformations. Such reinterpretations, achieved via design, often serve the public through environmentally conscious strategies realized through inventive approaches to cultural and recreational programs.

The work of visual artists, both historical and contemporary, appears alongside architecture, poetry, and literary references that illustrate and draw connections between each of these sections. The third section features select architectural work by the author, framed by critic John King and the architect and urbanist Justine Shapiro-Kline. Introduced with a foreword by the prominent landscape architect Laurie Olin, Occupation:Boundary draws on artistic and cultural intuitions and the experience of an architect whose practice negotiates the boundary between urban contexts and the bodies of water that sustain them. Together, the instincts, reflections, and architectural production collected here evidence the role of art and design in the creation of an equitable and inviting public realm.

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