Welcome to the New York Architecture Diary, your essential guide to architecture exhibitions and events taking place across the city.
"Future Aleppo" is on view at Mmuseumm 2 in Cortlandt Alley in TriBeCa. It is a 4x4 foot section from a miniature paper model city built by 14-year-old Mohammed Qutaish in his home in Aleppo toward the end of 2015. Mohammed, who has lived one third of his life in a civil war that has left an estimated half-million people dead and millions more displaced, has been motivated by the destruction he has witnessed and plans to become an architect to help rebuild his ancient city, a UNESCO world heritage site. Mohammed has kept himself focused in his home in the middle of the war-zone by building a model of his vision of the future city.
“I began building my model after I experienced my city being destroyed by airstrikes and missiles.” 14-year-old Qutaish explains. “My sorrow, caused by this destruction, has inspired me immensely.”
Using paper, paint, glue and some of his toys, Mohammed’s Future Aleppo features helipads, gardens, solar panels, rooftop pools, bridges and a train system. “I am building the Syria of tomorrow. I hope that one day these paper buildings will become real buildings,” Qutaish proclaims.
Mohammed’s model offers the public a work that symbolizes humanity’s optimism and perseverance in the face of tragedy and destruction. Working with Syrian journalist Waad Alkateab, Mohammed, and a network of individuals across multiple countries, a piece of Mohammed’s model was safely transported out of the war zone to New York City for the start of a public exhibition shortly before Mohammed and his family left their their home in early 2016.
Starting April 22nd the exhibition is are open to the public every Thursday and Friday from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. and every Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. as well as visible 24/7 via the viewing windows and by calling into the toll-free audioguide number from your mobile phone.
Mmuseumm Co-founder and Director, Alex Kalman, explains “Mmuseumm curates vernacular objects to illuminate, humanize, and explore who we are, the events we are dealing with, and the world we are living in. We consider this a form of journalism -rather than telling stories in print or digital - the narratives come alive through the exhibition of the tangible - the arrangement of the objects themselves as evidence.”