Exhibit Columbus, the annual exploration of architecture, art, design, and community, made an exciting announcement this past fall: five mission-driven organizations will participate as Washington Street Civic Project Leaders in the 2019 Exhibition, and we are honored to be among these organizations.
Over the next several months we will be developing an installation that showcases how architecture and design can forge more connected, equitable, and sustainable cities. The installation will activate a site in downtown Columbus, Indiana during the exhibition next fall.
“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.”
The project launched at the 2018 National Symposium, where our Founder and Director of Design + Fabrication, Michael Bricker, introduced PUP's work alongside the project leaders from each organization.
Over the next several months we are excited to share our process as we continue our work on this project. Stay tuned!
More information on Exhibit Columbus and the visionary organizations participating in the 2018–19 Washington Street Civic Projects below.
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.
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 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.
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.
Exhibit Columbus is an annual exploration of architecture, art, design, and community that alternates between symposium and exhibition programming each year, and features the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize. Exhibit Columbus is the flagship event of Landmark Columbus, a program of Heritage Fund — the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County.
Landmark Columbus’ mission is to care for the design heritage of Columbus while using it as an example to inspire this and other communities to invest in the traditions and values that use design to make people and cities stronger.
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 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.