How can cities meet housing production goals while also responding to the needs of distinct households and communities?

Nationally and internationally, cities are facing a profound shortage of housing brought on by decades of under-building and the sustained popularity of urban living. A toolkit of policies will be necessary to address this crisis in the availability, attainability, and condition of housing. Mass Support: Flexibility and Resident Agency in Housing, a new exhibition at the City College of New York’s Spitzer School of Architecture, suggests that new methods of building and new roles for architects can be an important part of the solution as well.

Mass Support explores the legacy and contemporary relevance of the Stichting Architecten Research (SAR), a Dutch architectural think tank active between 1964 and 1990 that proposed a radical way of thinking about mass housing. A selection of drawings, models, project photos, and texts tell the story of this bold experiment to reshape housing production by fusing the efficiency of industrial production with the flexibility of user customization. The exhibition also showcases a range of built projects, design proposals, and research that follow the path blazed by SAR and illuminate how advances in construction technology, combined with robust residential consultation processes, can help address the overlapping crises of housing and climate change.

OHNY Members experienced a special exhibition tour with Cassim Shepard, distinguished lecturer at the Spitzer School of Architecture and part of the Mass Support curatorial team. Participants heard unique insights into the importance of SAR’s work and the innovations that can help address NYC’s housing shortage with justice and equity.


Cassim Shepard is Distinguished Lecturer at the Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York. He previously taught in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, the Cities Programme of the London School of Economics, and the School of Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He produces non-fiction media about cities, buildings and places, exhibited at venues including the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Museum of the City of New York, the United Nations, the Pavillon de l’Arsenale (Paris), the African Centre for Cities (Cape Town), and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. As the founding editor-in-chief of Urban Omnibus, an online publication of The Architectural League of New York, he spent six years working with hundreds of local designers, artists, and public servants to share their stories of urban innovation, with a particular emphasis on housing, infrastructure, and the changing nature of cultural institutions.

NYC Tours Series

Get to know New York City by exploring its places with the people who know them best. From construction projects to places that are typically closed to the public or just unnoticed, OHNY’s tours offer a behind-the-scenes look at some of the city’s most interesting and iconic places. Participants will receive a highly informative and interactive look at a space that will change the way they see and interact with their neighborhood and city. Tours are curated, guided, and facilitated by knowledgeable and passionate experts including project managers, geographers, architects, educators, and artists.

City College of New York
Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture
141 Convent Avenue
New York, NY 10031