beyond utility


Laura Genes presents "Beyond Utility", an installation of juxtaposed architectural building elements set within the construction site of an abandoned building. Partnering with nonprofit developer RUPCO, working with their construction team, Affordable Housing Concepts, and inviting architect-historian Andrew Linn of BLD to provide a lecture and survey of American Vernacular Architecture in relationship to Newburgh's historic architect AJ Downing, Genes investigates the collaborative process of reconstruction—highlighting the work of craftsman and trades involved, and inviting the public for a rare opportunity to witness a building under-construction. The former home to Newburgh photographer Jacob Ruben, author of many historic Newburgh Postcards, the site, 39 Johnston, sat as a vacant building for many years until the Newburgh Community Land Bank acquired the property from the City. After environmental rehabilitation and stabilization work, the building was transferred to RUPCO as part of a larger 15 property scattered site development project utilizing Historic Tax Credits to restore the buildings and provide 45 units of affordable housing. The project is currently in progress, was completed summer 2018.



Laura Genes

was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and educated in New York City. She studied architecture at the Cooper Union. Through the use of photography and installation she describes a human element of the built environment, which is otherwise absent from technical plans and sections. By forcing the body back into structures, the permanence of both forms is put into question. The built form takes on the vulnerability of human-nature and the human body adopts the monumental qualities of a landmark. Both architecture and humans are made to perform in specific time-scales and lifespans; & in the case of both, neglecting that destiny is the only way to carry-on. Laura makes work to ask: how can structures preserve our poetry and how can we lend our poetry to structures?