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Jonathan Kirschenfeld

Jonathan Kirschenfeld is a New York architect recognized for design excellence over a wide range of environmentally and socially sustainable projects including supportive housing, childcare centers, recreation, and performance facilities.

Aside from his role as the principal of his architecture firm, named after himself, Mr. Kirschenfeld is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University’s School of Architecture Planning and Preservation and has taught at architectural programs at Pratt Institute and New Jersey Institute of Technology. He was a Visiting Professor at the University of Bologna: Facolta Di Architettura Aldo Rossi from 2013 to 2014, and has been twice selected as first alternate for the Rome Prize.

Kirschenfeld is also the founder of the Institute for Public Architecture, a non-profit which promotes socially responsible architects, provides a supportive community for its practitioners, and hosts an ongoing residency program for architects, urbanists, designers, and theorists at its new home at the Block House on Governors Island

Kirschenfeld’s method focuses on identifying under-utilized portions of civic land that were passed over for private development and bringing world-class design to the city’s neediest residents.  The resulting projects combine housing with social services that help residents transcend chronic homelessness.  By pushing the expectations of what supportive housing can be, Kirschenfeld’s projects elevate the neighborhoods where they are situated.

Beyond housing, Kirschenfeld has drawn international distinction for the re-purposing of a cargo vessel into the Floating Pool—a temporary pool complex located in the East River in the Bronx, a neighborhood lacking in public pool facilities. Historically, temporary pools built on barges moored in the river were common in New York, but the practice died out in the 1930’s. The Floating Pool hosted over 50,000 visitors during its eight-week season and won the 2007 international Award of Excellence from the Waterfront Center. The Pool was also honored as the runner-up in the prestigious 2007 Cooper-Hewitt Museum People’s Choice Design Award, and has received a 2008 Masterwork Award, among other awards.

Jonathan joined us for a conversation with Brenda Rosen of Breaking Ground where we tackled the right to housing in the neoliberal era. Have a listen.

6 | Fighting for Dignified Housing, Part 1
7 | Fighting for Dignified Housing, Part 2


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our Producer and Sound Engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Leah Freidenrich, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation. Our theme music for 2017 is "Sorry" by Comfort Fit. The break music is "New York" by US from their album "All That You Can't Leave Behind."