Michael Sorkin

Michael Sorkin
Michael Sorkin
Born Washington, D.C.
Nationality American
Awards Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2009)
American Academy of Arts and Letters - 2010 Architecture Awards - Winner
Projects Masterplan for Brooklyn Waterfront (1994)
Arverne houses in Rockaways (2001)
Penang Peaks in Penang, Malaysia (2004)
Masterplan for New City, Chungcheong, South Korea (2005)
Seven Star Hotel in Tianjin Highrise Building, Tianjin, China (2009)

Michael Sorkin (born 1948, Washington, D.C.) is an American architecture critic. He is a Distinguished Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York, part of the City University of New York (CUNY), and the founder of Michael Sorkin Studio in New York City. Sorkin is Chair of the New York Institute for Urban Design, a non-profit organization that provides a forum for debate over critical issues in contemporary urban planning, development, and design.[1] He is a proponent of urban citizenship and sustainability.[2][3] In 2009, Sorkin was appointed a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.[4]


Design career

Sorkin is a consultant on urban design and participates in numerous architectural juries, seminars, and symposia. He has chaired a jury to choose two very large urban planning and architectural projects for the Municipality of Istanbul in the Republic of Turkey, a similar jury in Almaty in Kazakhstan, a jury to choose a design for the headquarters of Genzyme, a campus planning consultancy to the University of Cincinnati, expert assessment for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, as well as juries for design magazines, architectural schools, and professional organizations. Sorkin was founding co-chair of the Chrysler Design Award and currently serves as a member of the boards of directors or advisors of a number of civic and academic bodies, including the Architectural League, Archeworks, the London Consortium, and several institutes at CUNY.[5]


Sorkin has written and edited many articles and books in a wide range of both professional and general publications. He was the architecture critic of The Village Voice for 10 years. He is currently a contributing editor for Architectural Record, I.D., and Metropolis. He has published widely on both architure and urban design and his seminal books include Exquisite Corpse, Local Code, Giving Ground (edited with Joan Copjec), and Wiggle, a monograph of the Sorkin studio.

In Kenneth Frampton's review of Sorkin's essay Brand Aid, Frampton asserts that Sorkin uses the character of Rem Koolhaas to stalk cultural shade. Frampton claims Sorkin is hyper-aware of this ideological nemesis at every step, above all in his sardonic assessment of the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim motorcycle show of 1998:[6]

"The match of Rem and Krens — the two tall men with flat affects — is a great one: both are selling the same product: products. “Shopping is arguably the last remaining form of public activity,” opines Koolhaas. And so we shop for Picassos and Kandinskys, for Harleys and Yamahas, for Prada shoes and Bulgari brooches, all under the aura of covetable pots of gold at the end of fleeting rainbows glistening about the roulette tables and the high-stakes slots. Just as the way out of the museum leads through the shop, the exit from the casino is lined with boutiques and museums. At the motorcycle exhibition, the stairway is painted in Prada's signature chartreuse to reinforce the point. The retina is the point of sale: to see is to buy. In contemporary “casino capitalism,” citizenship is a credit line, democracy is a crapshoot."

In Against the Wall, edited in 2005, Sorkin compares Israel to apartheid South Africa.[citation needed]

List of published works

Primary works

  • Sorkin, Michael (1981) (hardcover). Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer (Monographs on contemporary architecture). Whitney Library of Design. pp. 120. ISBN 0823072649. 
  • Sorkin, Michael (1991) (hardcover). Exquisite Corpse: Writing on Buildings. Verso. pp. 365. ISBN 0860913236. 
  • Sorkin, Michael (1996) (paperback). Local Code: The Constitution of a City at 42 degrees North Latitude. Princeton Architectural Press. pp. 128. ISBN 1878271792. 
  • Sorkin, Michael (1998) (paperback). Michael Sorkin Studio: Wiggle. Springer. pp. 192. ISBN 3211831614. 
  • Sorkin, Michael (2001) (hardcover). Some Assembly Required. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 264. ISBN 0816634823. 
  • Sorkin, Michael (2002) (paperback). Pamphlet Architecture 22: Other Plans: University of Chicago Studies, 1998-2000. Princeton Architectural Press. pp. 80. ISBN 1568983093. 
  • Sorkin, Michael (2003) (hardcover). Starting From Zero: Reconstructing Downtown New York. Routledge. pp. 144. ISBN 0415947340. 
  • Sorkin, Michael (2009) (hardcover). Twenty Minutes in Manhattan. Reaktion Books. pp. 272. ISBN 1861894287. 
  • Sorkin, Michael (2011) (hardcover). All Over the Map: Writing on Buildings and Cities. Verso. pp. 320. ISBN 1844673235. 

Secondary works

  • Sorkin, Michael, ed (1992) (hardcover). Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space. Hill & Wang. pp. 252. ISBN 0809096072. 
  • Sorkin, Michael, ed (2002) (hardcover). The Next Jerusalem. Monacelli. pp. 432. ISBN 1580931006. 
  • Sorkin, Michael; Zukin, Sharon, eds (2002) (hardcover). After the World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City. Routledge. pp. 240. ISBN 0415934796. 
  • Sorkin, Michael, ed (2004) (paperback). Analyzing Ambasz (illustrated ed.). Monacelli. pp. 216. ISBN 1580931359. 
  • Sorkin, Michael (2004). Sirefman, Susanna. ed (paperback). Whereabouts: New Architecture with Local Identities. Monacelli. pp. 192. ISBN 1580931200. 
  • Sorkin, Michael, ed (2005) (hardcover). Against the Wall: Israel's Barrier to Peace. New Press. pp. 273. ISBN 1565849906. 
  • Sorkin, Michael, ed (2007) (hardcover). Indefensible Space: The Architecture of the National Insecurity State. Routledge. pp. 208. ISBN 0415953677. 

Contributory works

  • Krauss, Rosalind; Brown, Patricia Leigh; Koll, Steven; Sorkin, Michael; Tilly, Stephen (2001) (hardcover). Alan Buchsbaum: Architect and Designer - The Mechanics of Taste (illustrated ed.). The Monacelli Press. pp. 224. ISBN 1885254393. 
  • Copjec, Joan (1999). Sorkin, Michael. ed (hardcover). Giving Ground: The Politics of Propinquity. Verso. pp. 312. ISBN 1859848923. 
  • Freidman, Mildred; Sorkin, Michael (1999) (hardcover). Gehry Talks: Architecture and Process. Rizzoli. pp. 300. ISBN 084782165X. 
  • Sorkin, Michael; Altwicker, Matthias; Schneider, Gregor; Pardo, Jorge; Ackerman, Franz; Land, Peter; Rehberger, Tobias (2001) (hardcover). Comfort. Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art. pp. 80. ISBN 1880353180. 
  • Lewallen, Constance M; Seid, Steve; Sorkin, Michael; Maniaque, Caroline; Lord, Chip (2004) (hardcover). Ant Farm 1968-1978. University of California Press. pp. 201. ISBN 0520240294. 
  • Boeri, Stefano; Aksamija, Azra; Bitter, Sabine; Cho, Minsuk; Herron, Jerry; Snyder, Sean; Sorkin, Michael; Weissman, Eval et al. (2004) (paperback). Urban Ecology. Map Book Publishers. pp. 192. ISBN 962860404X. 
  • Attali, Jean; Hofland, H. J. A.; Jameson, Frederic; Neymeyer, Fritz; Sorkin, Michael; Sterling, Bruce; Verschaffel, Bart; Whiting, Sarah et al. (2004) (paperback). What Is Oma: Considering Rem Koolhaas And The Office For Metropolitan Architecture. NAi Publishers. pp. 168. ISBN 9056623494. 
  • Sorkin, Michael; Warchol, Paul; Ranalli, George (2009) (hardcover). George Ranalli: Saratoga (Single Building). ORO Editions. pp. 112. ISBN 098146288X. 
  • Sorkin, Michael; Chambers, Kristen; Duran, Ana Maria; Leven, David; Stein, Achva; Paladines, Osvaldo (2010) (paperback). Beyond Petropolis: Designing a Practical Utopia in Nueva Loja. Loft Publications. pp. 368. ISBN 8499361943. 



  1. ^ "About us". Institute for Urban Design. 2010. http://www.ifud.org/about-us/. Retrieved 20 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Edited by Terreform (March 2009). "Michael Sorkin Disclaimer". Terreform. Terreform. http://terreform.blogspot.com/2009/03/michael-sorkin-disclaimer.html. Retrieved 14 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "Michael Sorkin - Finalist". Design Mind - National Design Awards. Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. 2008. http://www.nationaldesignawards.org/2008/honoree/michael-sorkin. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "CCNY Distinguished Professor Michael Sorkin Elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences". CUNY Newswire. City University of New York. 21 April 2009. http://www1.cuny.edu/mu/forum/2009/04/21/ccny-distinguished-professor-michael-sorkin-elected-fellow-of-american-academy-of-arts-sciences/. Retrieved 20 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "Michael Sorkin". Bios and Profile. City University of New York. 2011. http://www.cuny.edu/about/people/faculty/bios.html?profName=michaelsorkin&profile=0. Retrieved 20 February 2011. 
  6. ^ Frampton, Kenneth (Fall 2005/Winter 2006). "On Cultural Politics: The Work of Architecture in the Age of Commodification". Regeneration (Harvard Design Magazine) 23. http://faculty.arch.utah.edu/benham/group%205/Harvard%20Design.pdf. Retrieved 20 February 2011. 

External links

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