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Critical Essays on Architecture
Read Issue 52

The Avery Review stands with all those fighting, organizing, teaching, and writing for abolition—and, in architecture, with all those working against the white supremacy, settler colonialism, ableism, racial capitalism, and heteropatriarchy upheld in and by our field. BLACK LIVES MATTER.

As Angela Davis recently reminded listeners on Democracy Now!, abolition “is not primarily about dismantling, getting rid of, but it’s about re-envisioning. It’s about building anew.” As a journal dedicated to decentering the objects, histories, and authors of architecture, we are committed (and will continue to recommit) to publishing essays that propose radical changes to the current order of things, and to amplifying the work of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) who offer a way forward in this re-building.

For our April Issue, we are thrilled to announce and publish the winners of our fourth annual Avery Review Essay Prize, which celebrates the critical writing of students on issues of architecture. Given the immense upheavals of this past year, we as editors have been awed and humbled by the breadth and rigor of the submissions we received. We also feel immensely optimistic about the present and future of architectural discourse given the sensitivity and openness that each author brought to writing from a space of vulnerability.

The winning essays that follow show us what it might mean to process historical and contemporary violence through a just writing practice—revealing the potential of the essay as a critical act of futurity.

In issue 52, Batoul Faour takes stock of the shattered glass in Beirut in the aftermath of the August 4th port explosion to uncover political violence waged through this fragile material; Jacob Cascio carefully unfolds the story of the National AIDS Memorial Grove’s ever-changing landscape; Tamara Zeina Jamil looks beyond Rikers Island to reveal the machinations of the carceral industrial complex; and Brandon Adriano Ortiz coils together a personal, spatial, and temporal account of Taos and the Taos Pueblo that casts body, building, and micaceous clay into ongoing relation.

Our mission has been (and will always be) a work in progress, with far more to be done and undone, learned and unlearned, and we invite you to join us in this work with your participation, suggestions, and submissions (editors@averyreview.com).

Faour glass politics
A man collects glass shards covering the carpets of a mosque damaged by the blast. Photograph by Aziz Taher. Courtesy of Reuters. In Batoul Faour’s “Glass Politics: On Broken Windows in Beirut” in the Avery Review 52 (April 2021), link.
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Winners of AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers
Three of our recent titles are winners of AIGA Design’s 50 Books | 50 Covers awards of 2019. We want to extend a huge thanks and congratulations to: Scott Vander Zee, who won in the Cover and Book category for Space Settlements by Fred Scharmen; Glen Cummings who won in the Book category for The Revolution Will be Stopped Halfway by Jason Oddy; and Laura Coombs who won in the cover and book categories for SIGNAL. IMAGE. ARCHITECTURE. by John May. Photos courtesy of Scott Vander Zee, Sebastian Bach, and Laura Coombs.