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The William Bronson and Grayce Slovet Mitchell Lecture Series is free and open to the public. 

Spring 2017 Lecture Series

Jeanne Gang: 3.16.17

Architect and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang is the founding principal of Studio Gang, an architecture and urbanism collective in Chicago and New York. Recognized internationally for a design process that foregrounds relationships between individuals, communities, and environments, Studio Gang has produced such award-winning projects as Aqua Tower, the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, and Polis Station. 

Watch the Jeanne Gang lecture

Center for Genomic Gastronomy: 3.9.17

The Center for Genomic Gastronomy is an artist-led think tank launched in 2010 by Cathrine Kramer (NO) and Zack Denfeld (US) that examines the biotechnologies and biodiversity of human food systems.

Their mission is to map food controversies, prototype alternative culinary futures and imagine a more just, biodiverse & beautiful food system.

Watch the Center for Genomic Gastronomy Lecture

Rossana Hu: 3.2.17

Rossana Hu is a Founding Partner of Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, an inter-disciplinary international architectural design practice based in Shanghai with an additional office in London. Hu is also a co-founder of Design Republic, a modern design platform incorporating retail concept, design/cultural exhibitions and educational events.


Watch the Rossana Hu Lecture

Studio Swine: 2.24.17

Operating across a wide range of disciplines, SWINE's work has gained an international audience, their films have been awarded at Cannes and other film festivals around the world. SWINE has been widely exhibited at institutions such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Museum of Art and Design New York, and the Venice Art Biennale.

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Paul Lewis: 2.2.17

Paul Lewis is a Principal at Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis (LTL)  Architects based in New York City.  Paul will be speaking about both his recent book, the Manual of Section and use its taxonomy to frame the work of LTL Architects. Manual of Section is the first comprehensive book on a fundamental architecture drawing type, an analysis of what it is and what it does. LTL foreground the section not only as a representational technique, ripe with the ability to demonstrate structure, interior space, and form, but also as a key locus of design invention. If the plan absorbs much architectural interest, serving as a means to control function, organization and movement, LTL argues that the section is the critical means for engaging social, environmental, and material questions.

Fall 2016 Lecture Series

Pinar Yoldas: 12.1.16

Pinar Yoldas is a cross-disciplinary artist/researcher based in Berlin and Durham, North Carolina. Her work develops within biological sciences and digital technologies through architectural installations, kinetic sculpture, sound, video and drawing with a focus on post-humanism, eco-nihilism, anthropocene and feminist technoscience.

Watch the full Pinar Yoldas Lecture

Assemble - Jane Hall and Alex McLean: 11.10.16

Assemble are a collective based in London who work across the fields of art, architecture and design. They began working together in 2010 and are comprised of 20 members. Assemble champion a working practice that is interdependent and collaborative, seeking to actively involve the public as both participant and collaborator in the on-going realisation of the work.

Watch the full Assemble Lecture

Culture as Client: Architecture's Alternatives 11.3.16

Moderated by Ann Lui.  Lui is an Assistant Professor at School of the Art Institute, and a founding partner of Future Firm, a Chicago-based architecture office.

Shumi Bose is a teacher, curator and editor based in London. She is a senior lecturer at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, teaching Contextual Studies in Architecture, and teaches History and Theory Studies at the Architectural Association.

Jason Schupbach is the Director of Design Programs for the National Endowment for the Arts, where he oversees all design and creative placemaking grantmaking and partnerships, including Our Town and Design Art Works grants, the Mayor’s Institute on City Design, the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design, and the NEA's Federal agency collaborations.

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Gaetano Pesce: 10.27.16

Beginning from his first manifesto drafted at the age of seventeen, through his studies, travels, experimentations, and teaching, Pesce has acquired worldwide experience introducing ever pioneering innovations. He taught for 28 years at the Institut d’Architecture et d’Etudes Urbaines of Strasbourg and holds lectures at the most prominent cultural institutes and most renowned universities in the world. His multidisciplinary designs have been included, among others, in the permanent collections of MoMa and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, as well as other museums in Japan, Portugal and Finland. His architectural, urban planning, interior design works for exhibits or industrial spaces, are characterized by the unlimited use of color and revolutionary materials, developed thanks to new technologies.

Watch the full Gaetano Pesce lecture

Making it to Market(s): Strategies for Designers: 10.20.16

Pete Oyler is a versatile designer and thinker whose work has been published and showcased (inter)nationally. Oyler is particularly interested in design semiotics and in the potential of three-dimensional objects to incite imaginative curiosity. Oyler holds a BA in American Studies and an MFA in Furniture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Lisa Cheng Smith is Chief Design Officer at Areaware, a design brand based in New York City. She works with independent designers to bring their ideas into production, and is involved in all aspects of commercialization, from concept selection to distribution. 

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Mitch McEwen: 10.6.16

As Partner at A(n) Office and Principal of McEwen Studio, V. Mitch McEwen works in architectural and urban design, focused particularly on the intersection of urban culture and global forces.  Led by McEwen with design partners in New York and Los Angeles, A(n) Office is currently one of 12 U.S. firms exhibited at the U.S. pavilion for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.  

Watch the full Mitch McEwen Lecture

Thomas Thwaites: 9.28.16

Thomas Thwaites (1980, London, UK) is a designer whose work examines the societal impacts of science and technologies. As an undergraduate he studied economics and biology at University College London, and this training informs his work, which spans science and design. He completed his post-graduate masters degree in Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art in 2009.

He now develops far reaching design projects, undertakes commissions for private companies, as well as making work for public organisations including London’s Design Museum, the Wellcome Trust and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Watch the full Thomas Thwaites Lecture

Curating in Place: 9.25.16

Presented in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), /Dialogues offers panel discussions, conversations and provocative artistic discourse with leading artists, curators, designers and arts professionals on the current issues that engage them. 

The Curating in Place panel considered contemporary approaches to the collection and exhibition of architecture and design. Considering both how design is influenced by the places in which it is conceived, fabricated and used; and the local and global influences on design exhibition, this discussion traced current practices of curating in the field today.

Watch the full panel discussion

Spring 2016 Lecture Series

Sissel Tolaas: 4.28.16

Sissel Tolaas was born in 1965 in Stavanger Norway.  Her practice is  based in Berlin. Tolaas has background in chemistry; mathematics, linguistics; languages and art, from the universities of Oslo, Warsaw, Moscow, St Petersburg and Oxford.

Tolaas is working actively and concentrated on the topic of smell, smell and language, and communication since 1990, within different sciences, fields of art /design and other disciplines. Tolaas established the SMELL RE_searchLab Berlin, on smell & communication / language, in Berlin in January 2004, supported by IFF.

David Gissen: 4.14.16

David Gissen is the author of books, essays, exhibitions and experimental writings and projects about environments, landscapes, cities, and buildings from our time and the historical past.  David is an associate professor at the California College of the Arts and a visiting critic at numerous schools in the United States and Europe where he lectures and teaches in the areas of architecture, urban, and landscape history and theory, writing and design.


Watch the full David Gissen Lecture

Joep van Lieshout: 3.7.16

In 1995 Van Lieshout founded his studio Atelier Van Lieshout, and since then he has worked under the studio’s name to undermine the myth of the artistic genius. Throughout the past two decades, Atelier Van Lieshout has produced a veritable cornucopia of works that straddle art, design, and architecture, such as sculpture and installations; buildings and furniture; and utopias and dystopias. What these works have in common are a number of recurring themes, motives, and obsessions: systems, power, autarky, life, sex, and death. The works explore the human individual in the face of the greater whole.

Watch the full Joep van Lieshout Lecture

Anicka Yi: 3.3.16

Anicka Yi lives and works in New York, USA. In 2013, she had a solo show at Lars Friedrich, Berlin, Germany, and her work was included in the 12th Biennale de Lyon, France, as well as in group shows at Studiolo, Zurich, Switzerland; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, USA; T293, Rome, Italy; Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Basel, Switzerland; Murray Guy, New York; and Altman Siegel, San Francisco, USA. In 2014, she will have a solo show at 47 Canal, New York.

Watch the full Anicka Yi Lecture

Fall 2015 Lecture Series

Martin Kastner: 11.19.15

Martin Kastner is the founder and principal of Crucial Detail, a multidisciplinary design practice and production studio in Chicago. Born in the Czech Republic, Kastner trained as a blacksmith and spent some time restoring historical metalworks at a castle in Western Bohemia before moving onto natural materials design and sculpture. He founded Crucial Detail in 1998, shortly after his arrival in the US. Crucial Detail has explored the synergy of food and design, working at the forefront of fine dining in collaborations with the world's best chefs.

Watch the full Martin Kastner Lecture

Taboo Subjects: Ashley Hlebinsky: 11.10.15

As part of the Taboo Series, featured within the Outside Design Exhibition in the Sullivan Gallery, Ashley Hlebinsky will discuss the ways in which firearms are stigmatized in culture and how those perceptions can lead to obfuscation of the distinction between firearms and firearms violence in history.

Watch the full Ashley Hlebinsky Lecture

Taboo Subjects: Lucy Pringle: 10.28.15

For hundreds of years, large geometric designs have appeared in the fields of England's West Country. Some crop circles emit an energy that has permanently or temporarily disabled cameras and computers. Dowsers, using pendulums and dowsing rods, record dramatic shifts of the energy lines in crop circles and mathematicians are confounded by some of their geometric constructions.  As part of the Taboo Series, featured within the Outside Design Exhibition in the Sullivan Gallery, Lucy Pringle will share her findings, as well as discuss the presence of energy in buildings and their environs that are recordable with dowsing rods.

Watch the full Lucy Pringle Lecture

Taboo Subjects: Nance Klehm: 10.21.15

The Anthropocene Age has arrived, in which homo sapiens is decimating species whilst exponentially growing its own numbers. At a time when the word organic defines responsible living, how do we put two and two together and harvest the rich minerals and organisms present in human excrement? How can it be turned into compost, used to grow plants for human consumption? As much a cultural taboo as an environmental taboo, Nancy Klehm will help pull the thorn of our prejudices and demonstrate that there is a real solution. This lecture is part of the Taboo Series, featured within the Outside Design Exhibition in the Sullivan Gallery. 

Watch the full Nance Klehm Lecture

Thomas Daniell: 10.14.15

Thomas Daniell is currently Head of the Department of Architecture and Design at the University of Saint Joseph, Macau, prior to which he spent twenty years as a practicing architect in Japan. Daniell's lecture will trace the history of Modernology as an approach to observing and documenting Japanese urban environments and behaviors that was invented in the early twentieth century and has inspired many subsequent generations of fieldwork by groups of architects, artists, anthropologists, sociologists, and hobbyists. With a wit and eccentricity reflected in their names—Lost Items Research Institute, Architectural Detective Agency, Thomasson Observation Center, Street Observation Society, Atelier Bow­Wow—they search the city for moments of beauty and interest in everyday places, objects, and activities, cumulatively producing an irreplaceable archive of overlooked urban phenomena, of ephemera made permanent.

Watch the full Thomas Daniell Lecture

Kunlé Adeyemi: 10.5.15

Kunlé Adeyemi is an architect, urbanist, and designer. His recent work includes Makoko Floating School, an innovative, prototype, floating structure located on the lagoon in the heart of Nigeria's largest city, Lagos. This acclaimed project is part of an extensive research project, African Water Cities, being developed by NLÉ, an architecture, design, and urbanism practice founded by Adeyemi in 2010 with a focus on developing cities. NLÉ is currently developing a number of civic, research, and architectural projects in Africa—one of which is Chicoco Radio Media Center, the amphibious building in Delta city of Port Harcourt in Nigeria. 

Watch the full Kunlé Adeyemi Lecture

Outside Design Artist Talks: 10.1.15

Outside Design, a collateral event of the first Chicago Architecture Biennial, will explore the turn in art and design toward biotechnology and ecological systems. Curated by Jonathan Solomon, SAIC's Director of the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects, this show will bring together five firms whose research-based work develops new knowledge at the edges of design practice.  Designers in this lecture include Analog Media Lab, Ants of the Prairie, The Living and the Ali Brivanlou Lab, Species of Space and Sweet Water Foundation.

Watch the full Outside Design talks

Local Anxieties: Relocating Architecture in a Global Public Space: 9.30.15

The rhetoric of a post-industrial (and post-ideological) society is already a half-century old, but as phenomena like the Chicago Architecture Biennial show, the challenges of articulating narratives of growth and crisis in a metropolis that is no longer primarily a factory town have not declined in complexity. If anything, global networks of trade and tourism expose the limitations of the biologistic imagery of revival and decay, which relies implicitly on a theory of progress or of quasi-natural cycles. This panel invites experts in international modernism, urbanism and race theory, and historic preservation, some of whom themselves practitioners in urban space, to reflect on the realities and the fictions of the postindustrial metropolis as it turns outward.

Meejin Yoon: 9.24.15

J. Meejin Yoon is an architect, designer and educator. She is a Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yoon is the co-founder of Höweler + Yoon Architecture LLP and MY Studio. Recent projects by Meejin Yoon of MIT and Howeler + Yoon Architecture/ MY Studio examine architectures role as an interface between degrees of publicness.  Featuring projects which aim to generate new modes of action, forms of of production and types of agency, HYA/MYS has created a new ecology of practice where relationships between cultural producers are extended, reconfigured, and amplified by new technologies.  

Watch the full Meejin Yoon Lecture

Nora Wendl: 9.17.15

Nora Wendl composes architectures and architectural histories by borrowing strategies from the adjacent fields of fiction, poetry, art and literature. She is editor, with Isabelle Loring Wallace, of Contemporary Art about Architecture: A Strange Utility (Ashgate, 2013). Love/Glass/River/Steel: Other Histories will present the other histories of the Mies van der Rohe-designed Farnsworth House (Plano, Illinois, 1951) that are present when one looks into the sources that exist beyond the margins of conventional architectural historical research. Questioning the relationship between writing history and composing narratives—and the seductive lure of coherence—this lecture examines the benefits in disrupting the desire for a linear narrative by strategically producing non-representational architectural artifacts in the service of writing other architectural histories.

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Jack Craig: 9.10.15

Jack Craig's studio practice operates through intentional staging of unconventional materials to force improvised situations and impromptu structure. In the PVC Series, slabs of stone are forced into sections of repurposed water mains. Multiple maneuvers of applied heat, pressure, and cooling coerce a final form and permanent grip on the inserted mass. For the Bronzed Concrete Series, 3 dimensional drawings are done in bronze over cast concrete forms. As the line work cools, patchwork masses are solidified into load bearing members. The work is a primitive exploration in modern context of the tectonic relationship between self, material, and process.

Watch the full Jack Craig Lecture

Spring 2015 Lecture Series

Sensing and Sensibility: Politics and Technology in the Contemporary City: 4.23.15

"Sensing and Sensibility: Politics and Technology in the Contemporary City" will explore the intersection of politics and technology in the territory of the contemporary city. The city and its citizens are continuously generating data through smart phones, social networks, apps, and sensors that measure any aspect imaginable. Public and private companies are tracking and collecting our data to uncover patterns of behavior. What patterns does it uncover and who owns that data? How can this vast amount of information be useful in shaping our cities? How do these technologies change how people use space? What are the unwanted consequences?  Panel discussion includes: Douglas Pancoast, Ingrid Burrington, Iker Gil, Javier Arbona and Laura Forlano.

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MInsuk Cho: 4.7.15

Minsuk Cho was born in Seoul and graduated from the Architectural Engineering Department of Yonsei University (Seoul) and the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University (New York). After working in various firms, including OMA Rotterdam, he established Cho Slade Architecture in 1998 in New York City with partner James Slade. In 2003, he returned to Korea to open his own firm, Mass Studies, which has been recognized with numerous awards. The Korea Pavilion at the World Expo 2010 Shanghai was awarded the Silver Medal in the category of Architectural Design by the Bureau of International Expositions and also earned Cho a Presidential Citation from the government of Korea. In March 2013, Minsuk Cho was the Commissioner of the Korean Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition—la Biennale di Venezia, and was awarded the Golden Lion for the Best National Participation in June 2014.

Watch the full Minsuk Cho Lecture

Joyce Hwang: 4.2.15

Today we see conflicted attitudes toward our relationship with urban "nature." What happens, for instance, when urban wildlife encroaches on more densely populated areas of cities? What happens when they develop habitats outside officially zoned territories, and in residential or commercial neighborhoods? Ants of the Prairie sees these challenges and "conflicts" not as limitations, but as instigators for creative practice. In our work, we are developing a series of projects that incorporate wildlife habitats into constructed environments.  Joyce Hwang, AIA, NCARB, is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, and the Director of Ants of the Prairie.

Watch the full Joyce Hwang Lecture

Art, Design and Activism in Contemporary Landscape: 3.26.15

Do contemporary landscapes yield new forms of advocacy and activism? Or, do activists and advocates define new understandings of the landscape?  What does this mean for artists and designers? Join Frances Whitehead, a civic practice artist working in disturbed urban sites, Melissa Cate Christ, a landscape architect and urban designer, and Jane Hutton, a landscape architect and an editor of Scapegoat: Architecture, Landscape, Political Economy, for a discussion of art, design, and activism in the contemporary landscape. Moderated by Ellen Grimes.

Ineke Hans: 2.26.15

Now STUDIO | INEKEHANS designs and works with a small team on a wide range of 3D projects. Furniture and products come as one-offs, small batch products, and mass-produced items based on the interest to design and define objects fitting to new and appropriate production methods. In addition, they design and produce exhibitions and architectural projects. The studio designs for innovative and international design manufactures like Arco, Cappellini, Chi ha paura...?, Iittala, Lensvelt, Magis, Offecct, Royal Ahrend, RoyalVKB, and SCP. Clients include: Cooper Hewitt Museum (NY), Royal Dutch Forestguard, Shorefast Foundation Canada, and Dutch governmental organizations.

Objects Get Personal: Work from the Istanbul Design Biennial: 2.10.15

Design is inextricably linked to every aspect of our daily lives. With every great leap forward, designers must fulfill an increasingly varied range of roles. Exploring the work of three inventive designers, this panel investigates how they employ design to deal with issues related to our personal lives. From projects about issues as diverse as masculinity and femininity to projects that question beauty and ugliness, love and heroism, their work encourages users to reconsider their preconceptions and suggest new ways of interpreting and interacting with the world around us.  This panel discussion is moderated by Zoë Ryan, the John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago and features work from Haelo Design, Parsons & Charlesworth, and Studio Giffin'TerMeer. 

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Urtzi Grau: 2.3.15

The current social, political, and economic irrelevance of architecture contrasts its radical ubiquity. Never before have architects been so present in the media and so close to power; never has architecture seemed so socially awkward. Relegated to be a fundamental but helpless commodity behind the 2008 credit crisis, it has missed the revolutionary events in Northern Africa, the social movements in Southern Europe, the Occupy Wall Street, and other global protests. The schizophrenic alternation between escapist claims of autonomy (the unlikely marriage of the Berlague Institute offspring and the East Coast Whites) and disciplinary-less activism (the Lisbon Triennial and other Adhocisms) does not help. Disciplinary discourse and social engagement, once isolated, become histrionic caricatures of the fundamental constituents of architecture, enjoyable but dysfunctional. Fake Industries Architectural Agonism's (FKAA) expertise emerges in the intersection of the two. Urtzi Grau is an architect, Director of the Master of Architectural Research at UTS, and co-founder of Fake Industries Architectural Agonism.

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Eric Ellingsen: 1.29.15

"Twisted" is a philosophy of thinking actions. A slow down philosophy. A not philosophy. A way of being. The lecture will not really be a lecture. It will be a small performance of turning things around while talking about constraints and techniques. We will talk about twisted systems, like rope, like public space, ecologies of perception, education, language, typologies of self-stabilizing things, of forms which structure and strengthen themselves by moving in opposite directions. A less elusive schizophrenia. We will make small perceptional experiments together. We will read some poems. We may just go until there is no one left to leave.  Eric Ellingsen opened Species of Space (SOS) in 2009. SOS practices a genre of what John McPhee calls "other." Species art is other. Exhibitions other. Other books. Other poetry phantom words. Other architectures. Landscape architecture’s other. 

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Calumet Collaborations: Making Many Small Plans: 1.26.15

The Calumet Collaborations is a collective project of a group of architectural schools to investigate an enormous swath of de-industrialized land on the South Side of Chicago, with a supporting ecology that spans state boundaries from Illinois to Michigan. The project includes participants from the City College of New York, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), SAIC, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Harvard University. Using an inductive strategy based on the design of a series of highly-sustainable neighborhoods and founded on a rigorous investigation of existing environments, economies, ecologies, and social networks, the objective is to design a series of interventions—at a wide range of scales and operations—that can lead to futures for an area in search of dramatic transition.  Our aim is not simply to produce a series of plans but to invent new styles for cooperative design and a vision for the region.

Watch the full panel discussion