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Bankrolling Cultural Institutions: The Sackler Empire

Part 2 Project 2019
Mira Almazrooei
Cooper Union, | USA
The most common name adorned on plaques of many institutions is that of the Sackler’s. The family’s architectural influence is manifested in a number of spaces around the world. The family has managed to convolute their public image by running three scenes in tangent to one another. The first is selling OxyContin, the second is promoting the Sackler name, and the last is ensuring a separation between the two; pharma and philanthropy.

This project attempts to use architecture as a tool to critique institutional funding. As architects, we build; but rarely do we consider that the moment of construction effectively announces the moment that inaugurates its process of decay. The method of reading contested philanthropy in this project is through formal and spatial signifiers. If we’ve come to read space as methods of preserving a powerful legacy then I pose this question to you; can we mimic the process of constructing institutional power and simultaneously deploy architecture as a machine to unwind said legacy? This proposal is a building for a new Sackler institute on Staten Island that is designed to self-destruct. Using visitors, material degradation, and weather as agents to facilitate the destruction.

Mira Almazrooei


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