ANNOUNCING:http://whownspace.blogspot.com/ and MAPPING NYC #whOWNSpace is a collaborative started by DSGN AGNC with Not An Alternative and DoTank:Brooklyn — three organizations that have been dealing with spatial politics. Our goals are:1- TO REVEAL conflicting rules and ownerships in the increasingly privatized and commercialized spaces that make up the contemporary neoliberal urban condition2- TO QUESTION those rules and the current state of our “public” space; discussing the intentions and conditions surrounding our open spaces3- TO ADVOCATE FOR AND PROPOSE new uses and designs that encourage more public and open spaces for... Read The Rest →


This Valentine’s day, do you know where your flowers come from? On a daily basis most of us participate in a highly complex and networked global market that tends to obscure the real costs of the products and services we buy. DSGN AGNC believes  designers can help uncover the hidden externalities of everyday life and challenge the inherent inequalities and injustices that they produce in society.   Currently DSGN AGNC is working with a community in Facatativa (FACA), Colombia to build a housing project. We believe that it is key... Read The Rest →


My resolution for the new year? To blog more! Much was left unsaid in 2010. Over the next few weeks I will be updating the blog with things that have happened in the last few months that I never got a chance to comment on. I will also be updating what is next for DSGN AGNC as we go into 2011. Happy New Year. q

FACA – Study and Initial Design for Housing Association ‘La Union’

Recently we finished schematic design for the houses of the 50 families of La Union in Facatativa, Colombia. A BOOKLET OF THE FULL DESIGN of the architecture, landscape, and socio-economic systems for La Union can be seen here: Open publication – Free publishing – More social housing  FACA – Study and Design for Housing Association ‘La Union’ can also be purchased via lulu.com SUMMARY OF THE INITIAL DESIGN OF LA UNION Greenhouses for flowers on the road from Bogota to Facatativa  ECOLOGY Facatativa has three major ecological problems. First, the flower... Read The Rest →

NOMA Magazine Spring 2010

The National Organization for Minority Architects (NOMA) recently published its magazine for Spring 2010. The issue focuses on African architecture and they published separate articles by DK and I (Quilian). DOWNLOAD THE NOMA MAGAZINE SP 2010  Dk’s article is titled AfricentriCITY:How to Use Existing System to Improve Livelihoods. Based in part on this blog post in his blog. The article I wrote details a project a group of Harvard GSD students worked on in South Africa’s Khayelitsha township. The article was first published in Archinect. The article included a variety of interviews... Read The Rest →

‘Reflexive Design’ and the ‘Second Modernism’

A few weeks ago Robert Cowherd, a colleague at Wentworth Institute of Technology, invited me to participate on a forum discussion for his Design for Life seminar along with Manuel Delgado, Bill Boehm, Oscar Grauer,  Jota (Jose Jaime) Samper, and Patrick Haughey (MIT HTC and Wentworth faculty). We discussed the essays that Robert and his students produced and put together into the following book: Design For Life: Informality and Reflexivity in a Second Modernity Edited by Robert Cowherd Student/authors: Geoffrey Hackett, Michael Modoono, Ian Downing, Rebecca Connors, Julie Beach Scheel, Michael Holmquist, Aidan Lindh, Benjamin... Read The Rest →

FACA Housing Project

Back on May 2009 DK and I faced the end of our graduate studies at the GSD and a hostile economic climate.  We knew the issues we were interested on pursuing but did not yet have a project. It was then that we decided to go on a research trip to Colombia and see what we could learn. While in Colombia we went everywhere from the presidential palace in Bogota to the barrio Lleras (comuna 3) in the port city of Buenaventura. The trip opened our eyes to many things,... Read The Rest →

Welcome to DSGN AGNC

Welcome to DSGN AGNC, a design and research collaboration that seeks to address the global problem of spatial, social, economic, and political inequality in the world’s urban peripheries through design praxis.  We offer as operational platform the concept of critical activism–that folding activism into the discourse of critical practice opens up new possibilities to rethink the structure and scope of design process. Critical activism postulates that no product is ever final; recognizing that design can only optimize products by calibrating process and performance over time. As a critical activist practice... Read The Rest →

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