Exhibit Columbus, the annual exploration of architecture, art, design, and community that launched to great acclaim in 2016–17, is excited to continue introducing elements of the 2019 exhibition with the announcement of the 2018–19 Washington Street Civic Projects.
The Washington Street Civic Projects will showcase innovative work created by five mission-driven organizations dedicated to using architecture, art, and design to improve people’s lives, connect communities, and catalyze efforts to make cities more equitable and sustainable.
As part of the 2019 exhibition, their projects will activate sites on and around Washington Street, Columbus’ downtown commercial and civic corridor, and will highlight the diverse efforts of the following organizations from across North America.
“The Washington Street Civic Projects will provide a unique lens with which we hope to highlight the idea of exhibition as civic action,” said Anne Surak, Exhibit Columbus Director of Exhibitions. “These leading organizations use architecture and design as tools of collaboration to effect positive change in their own cities, and we are excited to have them develop temporary projects in our community’s downtown corridor.”
All of the Washington Street Civic Project Leaders will attend the 2018 National Symposium, Design, Community, and Progressive Preservation, which runs from September 26 through September 29. They will speak on Saturday, September 29, during the Morning Conversation: Introducing the Washington Street Civic Project Leaders.
About the 2018–19 Washington Street Civic Project Leaders
Borderless Studio – Chicago
Borderless Studio is an urban design and research consultancy focused on shaping communities through collaborative design. The Chicago-based studio, led by Paola Aguirre, explores comprehensive city design solutions that address complex urban systems and equitable development, with emphasis on research and communication across disciplines and fields of practice. Borderless leads Creative Grounds, an ambitious initiative that responds to Chicago’s unprecedented number of school closures. Aguirre identifies the closures as an opportunity to have a collective conversation about the future of the city’s social infrastructure. With partners across the fields of art, design, architecture, and community outreach, Creative Grounds seeks creative solutions to support, accelerate and amplify repurposing of closed public schools throughout the city. Borderless developed a prototype for repurposing West Pullman’s school and organized a series of design interventions at Anthony Overton School in Bronzeville. Aguirre is also co-founder of the City Open Workshop, a platform for cultivating the interdisciplinary relationships fundamental to Borderless Studio’s practice.
Extrapolation Factory – New York
The Extrapolation Factory is a design-based research studio for participatory futures studies led by Chris Woebken and Elliott P. Montgomery. Based in NYC, the Extrapolation Factory helps communities shape future narratives that diverge from those promoted by hollywood directors or political figures. Many of their projects explore new territories for democratized futures, like the recent “Testing Hypotheticals” at the Queens Museum. Extrapolation Factory invited Queens residents to rapidly imagine, prototype, and analyze visions of possible futures for their own neighborhood. The project outcomes were displayed at Milan Design Week 2018 and awarded the Lexus Design Awards’ grand prix. Another project, “Transition Habitats,” which grew out of Extrapolation Factory’s residency at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, imagined future cross-species communication. After a participatory visioning and prototyping phase, Extrapolation Factory created mailboxes designed to help the public listen to non-human indicator species, and then to interpret their messages as proposals for future action to protect the environment.
LA Más – Los Angeles
LA-Más is a non-profit urban design organization, led by co-executive directors Elizabeth Timme and Helen Leung, that helps lower-income and underserved communities shape their own growth. Based in Los Angeles, LA-Más creates projects that are alternative models for development in neighborhoods that have been historically disinvested in and shut out of formal planning initiatives. Their approach achieves lasting local impact even with small-scale projects like redesigning family-owned local businesses. Timme’s training in architecture and design and Leung’s background in public policy and planning allow LA-Más to engage thoughtfully with the communities they serve. Faced with LA’s housing shortage, LA-Más has not only designed the city's pilot project on accessory dwelling units, but also advocated for more backyard homes and is creating a new resident-led affordable housing program using the Section 8 program. LA-Más just unveiled “Welcome to Western,” a public realm enhancement project that engaged pedestrians, community members, and small businesses along Western Ave in a year-long community-driven design process.
People for Urban Progress – Indianapolis
People For Urban Progress (PUP) is an Indianapolis non-profit that advances good design and civic sustainability by developing products and projects in connectivity, responsible reuse, and making. With founder Michael Bricker as director of public design, PUP’s work is about rethinking the future of cities as it relates to the lifecycle of its materials, matching these resources with existing community needs. Indianapolis’ sports tourism industry has provided the materials for PUP’s most visible projects: Super Bowl street banners and Hoosier Dome textiles become stylish bags in PUP’s workshop. PUP has salvaged thousands of bright plastic seats from Bush Stadium and given them new life as bus-stop seating around the city, diverting them from landfills and enhancing the city’s transit infrastructure. A recently completed project— IUPUI Redwood—saw PUP studying the redwood boards that clad several campus parking garages and designing new outdoor furniture to reuse the wood, complement the campus’ modernist architecture, and activate public spaces.
PienZa Sostenible – Mexico City
PienZa Sostenible is a non-profit association that promotes the research, study, analysis, implementation, monitoring and coordination on the current situation in Mexico. After the devastating 2017 earthquakes, PienZa Sostenible helped form ReConstruir México, an initiative that brings together architects and professionals to make knowledge and techniques available for the reconstruction of affected homes in vulnerable areas. More than 40 distinguished architecture offices are now building 154 houses in seven of Mexico’s most damaged communities. Architects and families work together so that each house responds to social, economical, and geographical circumstances as well as residents’ needs. PienZa Sostenible is led by architect Carlos Zedillo Velasco, who also works with INFONAVIT, the largest social mortgage company in Latin America, as Head of Research Center for Sustainable Development. His work with INFONAVIT implementing a national strategy to measure the prosperity and sustainability of Mexican municipalities was awarded UN-Habitat’s Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment.
About the 2018–19 Curatorial Theme
As a source of inspiration for the 2018-19 cycle of programming, Exhibit Columbus looked to the 1986 exhibition, Good Design in the Community: Columbus, Indiana. This exhibition was mounted by the National Building Museum when local businessman and philanthropist J. Irwin Miller became the first living American inducted into the Museum’s Hall of Fame. This award honored the Miller family’s legacy of servant leadership and the entire city’s commitment to making Columbus the best community of its size.
When profiled by the Washington Post that year, Mr. Miller chose to emphasize the community’s involvement in building, rather than the architecture itself, as a source of his hometown pride, declaring “Architecture is something you can see. You can’t see a spirit or a temperament or a character, though, and there’s an invisible part of this community that I’m very proud of because, in a democracy, I think that the process is more important than the product.” Elaborating on the connection between the built environment and the intangible culture that Mr. Miller described, Exhibit Columbus is exploring what the notion of “good design in the community” means today.
About the 2018 National Symposium
The 2018 National Symposium, Design, Community, and Progressive Preservation, will take place September 26–29. It will open with the first day’s events at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, to be followed by three days of events inside iconic buildings in Columbus. Exhibit Columbus has partnered with Docomomo US to create this engaging and expansive four-day symposium experience produced in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects Indiana and Kentucky Chapters and the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.
Through conversations with visionary leaders and exclusive tours, the symposium will investigate how architecture, art, and design are being used to make people and cities stronger, and how new approaches to preservation are positively incorporating modern heritage into the future of cities. Registration is open and a schedule of events is available at exhibitcolumbus.org/2018-symposium.
About the 2019 Exhibition
The 2019 exhibition will expand on the curatorial theme in a tangible way by inviting architects and designers to create outdoor installations and experiences that use Columbus’ built heritage as inspiration and context, while highlighting the role that a visionary community plays in growing a vibrant, sustainable, and equitable city.
In addition to the Washington Street Civic Projects, the 2019 exhibition includes the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize, international leaders in their fields that bring unique perspectives in connecting people to place and community, and numerous other projects at varying scales––including the University Design Research Fellowships, which showcase current research by leading professors of architecture and design teaching at public institutions in America’s Heartland. The Columbus High School Design Team will also create an installation as part of its classwork in the Bartholomew County School Corporation’s C4 Program. The entire exhibition will be tied together with dynamic environmental design and a graphic identity by Chicago-based design firm Thirst. These 18 projects will activate public space downtown Columbus’ for more than three months in the fall of 2019.
About Exhibit Columbus
Exhibit Columbus seeks to celebrate Columbus’ design heritage while making it relevant to new audiences. Exhibit Columbus is the signature project of Landmark Columbus, which was created in 2015 to “care for the design heritage of Columbus and inspire communities to invest in the traditions and values that use architecture, art, and design to improve people’s lives and make cities stronger.” Landmark Columbus is a program of Heritage Fund – The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County. Exhibit Columbus operates with founding support from Ball State University, Columbus Area Visitors Center, Columbus Museum of Art Design, Cummins Inc., Efroymson Family Fund, Elwood Staffing, Haddad Foundation, Heritage Fund – The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, Indiana University, Irwin-Sweeney-Miller Foundation, Johnson Ventures, Moravec Realty, Schumaker Family, and SIHO Insurance Services.
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