Opening Reception for “Soft City”



Leventhal Map & Education Center


Dec 1, 2022


6:00 EST



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About this event

Sophie Weston Chien (left) and Amanda Ugorji (right)

Sophie Weston Chien (left) and Amanda Ugorji (right)

Join us for an evening reception to celebrate the opening of Soft City, a pop-up exhibition by Amanda Ugorji and Sophie Weston Chien of the local design collaborative just practice.

5:30pm – Appetizers and Refreshments in Newsfeed Café

6:30pm – Artists’ Talk in Newsfeed Café

Once the talk has concluded, we will migrate to the Map Center Gallery to view Soft City.

Soft City will be on display in the Map Center’s gallery from December 1 to December 28 to accompany our ongoing exhibition, More or Less in Common: Environment and Justice in the Human Landscape. According to the artists, “Soft City is a large-scale textile series that maps the urban fabric of Black neighborhoods in the Boston area. The tapestries map historic (redlined) and contemporary Black neighborhoods, including Roxbury, Dorchester, and East Cambridge. The information mapped tells the story of the past, present and future of Black residents, and the ecological resilience of the neighborhoods they live in. Hard (impervious) and soft (pervious) land uses are codified using colors with overlays of Black residents and flood zones on the tapestries. The softness and materiality of tufting interrogates the traditional top-down approach to space planning and management in the city and offers new tactile ways to explore our understanding of urban space, at all ages.”

Soft City was supported by MIT Council for the Arts Special. A special thank you to Emma Werowinski, Mackinley Wang-Xu, James Brice and Sir Sahil Mohan for your contributions.

Registration is required. Please register on Eventbrite here.

About just practice

just practice spans architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, textile, and graphic design, as well as activist and organizing work within the design field. We think about modes of practice, the spatialization of memory, Black feminist practices, the historical role of women in architecture, and strategies for collective care. They have exhibited at Yale in No White Walls, the MIT Rotch Library, and the Boston Society of Architects Gallery, as well as the Yale School of Art E.I.K. Gallery and individually in Fairbanks, AK, Providence, RI, and Rome, Italy.

The artists

Amanda Ugorji is a designer and artist interested in the potential for interdisciplinary design to act as a conduit for justice and equity. She is currently a third year candidate pursuing a Masters degree in Architecture at MIT and is the current recipient of the Marjorie Pierce / Dean William Emerson Fellowship. Pervious to her time at MIT, she worked in film and urban planning/community engagement. In her undergraduate degree, she investigated topics such as the many social-industrial complexes that dominate the economic structures in the US, the spatialization of memory, Black feminist practices, and the historical role of women in architecture. Her goal as a practitioner is to be able to utilize the wide variety of knowledge she has gained, as well as the knowledge and experiences of others, to apply herself to contextually specific problems - from the perspective of design. In 2021, she co-founded just practice with Sophie Weston Chien.

Sophie Weston Chien is is a designer-organizer. She builds liberated spaces and communities through social and ecological design. This means altering power in society through the built environment and designing resilient relationships with care. Her interdisciplinary practice takes the form of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, writing, textile, exhibition, and graphic design, as well as teaching and organizing within the design field. Sophie is pursuing a dual Masters in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at Harvard Graduate School of Design as a Dean’s Merit Scholar. She is one-half of the collaboration just practice. Sophie is a core organizer of the Design As Protest Collective, active in Dark Matter University, and on the Board of Directors at DESIGNXRI. Sophie is based on unceded Massachusett and Pawtucket land (Cambridge, Massachusetts).

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