Mitchell Lecture Series

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

Fall 2020 Lecture Series
Discard Archive Title Page Still

Discard Archive

The exhibition showcases casts generated by GIS data that maps the time necessary to move through today’s cities without a car. These objects are a weighty physical manifestation of the abstract data that dictates how we navigate the contemporary metropolis.

Joshua G. Stein is the founder of Radical Craft ( a Los Angeles-based studio that advances an experimental art and design practice saturated in history, archaeology and craft. This inquiry inflects the production of urban spaces and artifacts by evolving newly grounded approaches to the challenges posed by virtuality, velocity, and globalization. Stein is author of Trajan’s Hollow, which examines the role of craft and reproduction in the era of digital scanning and fabrication, and co-editor of Dingbat 2.0, the first-full-length publication on the iconic Los Angeles apartment building type. He has received numerous grants, awards, and fellowships, including multiple grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the AIA Upjohn  research award, and the 2010-11 Rome Prize Fellowship in Architecture. He is a former member of the LA Forum Board of Directors and has taught at the California College of the Arts, Cornell University, SCI-Arc, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, and School of the Art Institute of Chicago as the 2019-20 Mitchell Visiting Professor of Architecture. He is Professor of Architecture at Woodbury University where he also directs the Institute of Material Ecologies (T-IME).

Post-Event Discussion (YouTube)

Event Video (YouTube)

Spring 2020 Lecture Series

Paola Aguirre Serrano 2.18.20

Paola Aguirre Serrano is founder of BORDERLESS — Chicago-based urban design and research practice focused on cultivating collaborative design agency through interdisciplinary projects. With emphasis on exchange and communication across disciplines, Borderless explores creative civic design and engagement interventions that address the complexity of urban systems and social equity by looking at intersections between architecture, urban design, infrastructure, landscape, planning and community participatory processes.

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Industrial Facility 2.25.20

London-based studio Industrial Facility was cofounded by designers Sam Hecht and Kim Colin. Their approach reflects both a thoughtful consideration of form and a unique understanding of contemporary life, creating beauty out of utility in the products, furniture, and exhibitions they design. Hecht, from London, trained as an industrial designer, while Colin, from Los Angeles, trained as an architect. 

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Jenny Sabin 3.5.20

Jenny E. Sabin is an architectural designer whose work is at the forefront of a new direction for 21st century architectural practice — one that investigates the intersections of architecture and science and applies insights and theories from biology and mathematics to the design of responsive material structures and adaptive architecture. Sabin is the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Professor in Architecture and Associate Dean for Design at Cornell College of Architecture, Art, and Planning where she established a new advanced research degree in Matter Design Computation. 

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T-IME Symposium 3.26.20

In an era of increasing material scarcity and concern over the impacts of resource extraction, architects must reassess their relationship to the very medium of their practice. While the principals of degrowth call for a decrease in the exploitation of limited resources, the strategy by which designers should do so while still meeting the demands placed on the profession remains unclear. Is there still a role for technological advances towards increased material efficiency? Should architects instead focus on mining the structures and substances of our built environment? Or should they perhaps indulge in older, basic, and primordial materials?

This event has been cancelled.

Eric Bunge 4.2.20

Eric Bunge, FAIA, is a co-founding Principal of Brooklyn based nARCHITECTS, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at GSAPP/Columbia University. Eric received a Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design and a B.Arch from McGill University. He previously taught at Parsons School of Design, R.I.S.D., and Columbia/Barnard Colleges, and as a visiting professor at Harvard University, Yale University, UC Berkeley, and University of Toronto. Eric regularly lectures on the work of nARCHITECTS, new housing paradigms, and other contemporary issues in architecture.

This event has been cancelled.

Gillian Russell 4.9.20

Gillian Russell is a Vancouver-based designer, curator and researcher whose work centres on the interplay between design and its critical contexts. She is a lecturer at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the co-founder of the ‘Defamiliarization Lab’ – a transdisciplinary platform for developing methodologies and tools to re-imagine design’s role in sensing the world anew. Her work has been featured at the Porto Design Biennale, Helsinki Design Museum, Design Museum London, London Design Festival, Milan Furniture Fair and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

This event has been cancelled.

Onkar Kular 4.23.20

Onkar Kular is Professor of Design Interventions at HDK Academy of Design and Crafts at the University of Gothenburg. His research is disseminated internationally through exhibitions, education and publications. From 2008-2015, Onkar led the postgraduate design programme Platform 13 at the Royal College of Art, London, an interdisciplinary platform that explored the role of design within political and economic systems, culture and society. His work is in the collection of the CNAP, France, and the Crafts Council, UK. 

This event has been cancelled.

Fall 2019 Lecture Series

Heinrich and Ilze Wolff: 9.19.19

Wolff is a design studio concerned with developing an architectural practice of consequence through the mediums of design, advocacy, research, and documentation. Based in Cape Town, the Wolff team is led by Ilze and Heinrich Wolff who work collaboratively with a group of highly skilled, committed, and engaged architects, creative practitioners and administrators.

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Giovanni Innella: 9.26.19

Giovanni Innella (Torino, 1982) is a designer, curator, and critic based in Tokyo and Chicago. He holds a degree in Industrial Design from the Politecnico di Torino (IT), a Master in Conceptual Design from the Design Academy of Eindhoven (NL), and a PhD in Design Critique from Northumbria University (UK). Giovanni is currently an Assistant Professor at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo and a Visiting Artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His piece “Yours” for jewelry brand CHP is part of the permanent collection of the Stedelijk Museum of ’s-Hertogenbosch (NL).

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Rick Lowe - SAIC

Rick Lowe: 10.17.19

Rick Lowe is a Houston-based artist who has exhibited and worked with communities nationally and internationally. His work has appeared in: Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles; Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York; Phoenix Art Museum; Kwangju Biennale, Kwangju, Korea; the Kumamoto State Museum, Kumamoto, Japan; the Venice Architecture Biennale; and Documenta 14, Kassel, Germany and Athens, Greece.

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Lauren Bon 10.22.19

Lauren Bon is an environmental artist from Los Angeles, CA. Her practice, Metabolic Studio, explores self-sustaining and self-diversifying systems of exchange that feed emergent properties that regenerate the life web. Some of her works include: Not A Cornfield, which transformed and revived an industrial brownfield in downtown Los Angeles into a thirty-two-acre cornfield for one agricultural cycle; 100 Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct, a 240-mile performative action that aimed to reconnect the city of Los Angeles with the source of its water for the centenary of the opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. 

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Bruce Tharp: 11.14.19

As design’s role in society has expanded, various "conceptual" design practices have emerged like critical design, speculative design, design fiction, and adversarial design. With their unique qualities, these forms of discursive design are all tools for thinking. Rather than utility or aesthetics, their ultimate aim is to inspire reflection upon substantive socio-cultural discourses such as climate change, gun control, genetic engineering, immigration, & animal rights. Despite growing interest over the past two decades, there is scant literature that helps designers actually create discursive things. Bruce and Stephanie Tharp’s recent book, Discursive Design, however, is structured around nine distinct facets that inform the production and dissemination of more effective and defensible work.

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Sarah Carter: 11.21.19

Sarah Anne Carter is the Visiting Executive Director of the Center for Design and Material Culture and Visiting Assistant Professor in Design Studies in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She previously served as the Curator and Director of Research at the Chipstone Foundationin Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While at Chipstone,she collaboratively curated many innovative museum exhibitions, including Mrs. M.-----‘s Cabinet at the Milwaukee Art Museum and Florence Eiseman: Designing Childhood for the American Century at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, and directed Chipstone’s Think Tank Program in support of progressive curatorial practice. 

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Arijit Sen: 12.03.19

Dr. Arijit Sen is an architect and vernacular architecture historian who writes, teaches, and studies everyday places and ordinary people. His research includes studies of the architecture of South Asian immigrant communities in Northern California, New York, and Chicago. He has worked on post-disaster reconstruction and community-engaged design in the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans and has directed public history and preservation fieldwork projects in Milwaukee. Sen’s academic and research background is in architectural history, social, cultural and behavioral analysis of the built environment, and American cultural landscape studies.

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Spring 2019 Lecture Series

Drew Seskunas: 2.4.19

Drew Seskunas is an architect, inventor, and founder of the experimental design studio The Principals. His creations for kinetic and responsive spaces have been commissioned by clients including MoMA PS1, The New Museum, Microsoft, Ford Motors, and the New York City Parks Department among others. 

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Rafa Esparza: 2.27.19

Rafa Esparza’s (b. 1981, Los Angeles) multi-faceted, often collaborative practice involves durational performance and sculpture, and considers the impact of migration, colonization, and collective histories on the formation of identity and communities. Esparza’s recent projects have questioned the centrality of artistic authorship, with the artist ceding space and resources to invited artists and cultural producers.

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Lydia Kallipoliti: 3.13.19

Lydia Kallipoliti is an architect, engineer, and scholar, currently an Assistant Professor of Architecture and the Director of the Master of Science program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She holds a Diploma in Architecture and Engineering from AUTh in Greece, a SMArchS from MIT, and a PhD from Princeton University.

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Zoë Ryan and Matylda Krzykowski: 3.18.19

Zoë Ryan is the John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago. A curator and author, her projects focus on exploring the impact of architecture and design on society. Matylda Krzykowski is the Mitchell Visiting Professor at the School of Art Institute. A curator, designer and art director, her work focuses on collaborative and performative projects in physical and digital space. 

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Calibrated Lens: A Focus on South Side Narratives: 3.25.19

A conversation with Lee Bey, Candace Ming of South Side Home Movie Project, and Eric Hotchkiss and moderated by Natalie Moore, Calibrated Lens portrays the multi-dimensional built environment that has evolved over decades on Chicago’s South Side through moving and still images, and acts of resilience and relaxation developed by residents in these spaces.

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Renee Gladman: 3.28.19

Renee Gladman is a writer and artist preoccupied with lines, crossings, thresholds, and geographies as they play out in the interstices of poetry and prose. She is the author of twelve published works, including a cycle of novels about the city-state Ravicka and its inhabitants, the Ravickians—Event Factory (2010), The Ravickians (2011), Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge (2013), and Houses of Ravicka (2017)—Calamities, a collection of linked auto-essays on the intersections of writing, drawing, and community, which won the 2017 CLMP Firecracker Award for Creative Non-Fiction, and Prose Architectures (2017), a monograph of drawings.

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Luftwerk: 4.11.19

Light, color and sound are primary elements in work by Luftwerk – the artistic collaborative of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero. Luftwerk´s art installations use light to transform experiences of space and site. With immersive artwork at venues such as Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston, Chicago’s Millennium Park, Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater” in Pennsylvania, Mies van der Rohes “Farnsworth House” in Illinois, Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory, to name a few, their work blends history and contemporary media to open new aesthetic conversations within public spaces.

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Alfred Zollinger: 4.29.19

Alfred Zollinger is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Interior Design at the Parsons School of Design in New York, where he currently directs the MFA Interior Design program. Previously he led the Design Workshop, a design-build program working with students to improve public pool facilities for the New York City Parks and Recreation Department. He is also a co-principal of Matter Practice, an architecture and exhibition-design firm in Brooklyn focused on public projects foregrounding social justice issues.

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Fall 2018 Lecture Series

Amanda Williams: 9.10.18

Amanda Williams is a visual artist who trained as an architect at Cornell University. Her practice blurs the distinction between art and architecture through works that employ color as a way to draw attention to the political complexities of race, place, and value in cities. The landscapes in which she operates are the visual residue of the invisible policies and forces that have misshapen most inner cities. Williams’ installations, paintings, video, and works on paper seek to inspire new ways of looking at the familiar, and in the process, raise questions about the state of urban space in the United States.

Read more about Amanda Williams here

Matylda_Tile Image_2018

Matylda Krzykowski: 9.27.2018

Matylda Krzykowski is the 2018-19 Mitchell Visiting Professor within AIADO at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a designer, curator, art director, and educator focusing on collaborative and performative projects. Krzykowski’s work is introspective, as it explores and experiments with the inner mechanisms of design. As such, her projects dissect the design process to its different stages – from material and personal origins, to methodologies and education; from network and politics to social projections, and the spectrum in between.

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EXPO Chicago - Dimensions of Citizenship: 9.29.2018

This event was part of the /Dialogues program at EXPO CHICAGO and was presented in partnership with CULTURED Magazine, co-comissioners of the US Pavillion the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Chicago. Moderated by Mimi Zeiger, Co-Curator of the US Pavillion, this panel was hosted within the context of the exhibition at the Venice Biennale for Architecture, entitled Dimensions of Citizenship. 

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John Preus: 10.2.2018

John Preus developed his multidisciplinary practice from roots in both painting and furniture-making, which became entwined in his collaborative work with Material Exchange in graduate school at the University of Chicago. They remain the predominant lenses through which to look at his work. Preus is also an amateur writer and musician, and has been a fabricator for other artists including Dan Peterman, Theaster Gates, and Omer Arbel. Preus co-founded SHoP with Laura Shaeffer (2011) and Material Exchange with Sara Black (2005). He collaborated with Theaster Gates on the Dorchester Projects and was project lead for 12 Ballads for Huguenot House at Documenta 13, the culmination of a 6 year collaboration with Gates.

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Alexandra Lange: 10.9.18

Alexandra Lange is the architecture critic for Curbed. Her essays, reviews, and profiles have appeared in numerous design publications including Architect, Design Observer, Dezeen and Metropolis, as well as in New York Magazine, the New Yorker, and the New York Times. She was a 2014 Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her new book, The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids was published by Bloomsbury USA in June 2018.

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Hip Hop Architecture: 10.17.18

Michael Ford, Assoc. AIA, is known as The Hip Hop Architect as he explores architecture and urban planning through the lens of hip hop culture. Ford is the creator of The Hip Hop Architecture Camp®, an international, award winning youth camp which uses Hip Hop culture as a catalyst to increase diversity in architecture. 

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Eyal Weizman: 10.23.18

Eyal Weizman is an architect, professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures, and founder and director of the research agency Forensic Architecture based at Goldsmiths, University of London. Weizman is also a founding member of the architectural collective Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency in Beit Sahour, Palestine.

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J. Morgan Puett: 11.1.18

J. Morgan Puett is a transdisciplinary artist working across many forms of education, installation art, clothing, furniture, architecture, film, curation, writing, and more– rearranging the intersections of storefront practices, landscape, fine art, and women’s studies; applying research-based methods with interests in natural sciences, political economies, design,  and tactics for collaboration. The Mildred’s Lane Project continues to be ground-breaking, socially and politically, stating that being is a practice. 

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Egg Collective: 11.27.18

Egg Collective is a New York-based design company established in 2011 by three female designers—Stephanie Beamer, Crystal Ellis, and Hillary Petrie. Pulling from its founders’ backgrounds in architecture, art, and woodworking, the company creates items that are intended to stand the test of time. All of Egg Collective’s work is made in its own wood shop and in collaboration with a community of small-scale fabricators.

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Spring 2018 Lecture Series

Yuri Suzuki: 2.13.18

Yuri Suzuki is a London-based sound artist, designer, and electronic musician who explores the realms of sound through exquisitely designed pieces. His work looks into the relationship between sound and people and explores how music and sound affect their minds. His sound, art, and installations have been exhibited all over the world.

Chen Chen and Kai Williams: 2.22.18

Chen Chen & Kai Williams is a design studio that explores materials and new ways to use them. The studio invents new techniques and materials or takes common industrial supplies and develops off-label applications.

Past clients include Whitney Museum, Gagosian, Kvadrat and Mission Chinese Food. Presentations of their work have been held at the Museum of Art and Design (USA) and the Venice Architecture Biennale (Italy). Manufacturing partners include Tai Ping Carpets, Areaware and Good Thing.

James Shen: 3.1.18

Originally from Los Angeles, James Shen received his M. Arch from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BSc in Product Design from California State University, Long Beach. He is a Visiting Lecturer at MIT and Harvard Loeb Fellow.

In 2010, James co-founded Beijing-based People's Architecture Office, a multi-disciplinary studio focused on social impact through design. People’s Architecture Office is the first architecture practice in Asia certified as a B-Corporation and serves as a model for social entrepreneurship.

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Anna Puigjaner: 3.13.18

Anna Puigjaner is an architect, editor and researcher. Co-founder of the architectural office MAIO, which works on spatial systems that allow theoretical and practical positions converge. MAIO’s works have been published in international magazines such as Domus, A10, Monocle, Frame and Detail among others; exhibited at Biennale di Venezia, Chicago Architecture Biennial, MOMA and at Art Institute of Chicago; and awarded several times including Opinion FAD Award 2017.

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Shona Kitchen: 4.16.18

Shona Kitchen is an internationally recognized artist, designer and educator based in Providence, Rhode Island. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art (London) with a MFA in Architecture, she has divided her time between creative practice and teaching.  Since 2014, Kitchen has been Department Head at Rhode Island School of Design in the graduate program Digital + Media (Kitchen is currently on sabbatical).

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Vishaan Chakrabarti: 4.26.18

Vishaan Chakrabarti is the Founder of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU). Simultaneously, Vishaan is an Associate Professor of Practice at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation (GSAPP), where he teaches architectural design studios and seminars on urbanism. 

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Fall 2017 Lecture Series

Clear Your History: Data, Transparency and the City: 9.13.17

“Clear Your History” can be understood in two ways. First, it looks at the ways one’s “history” can read in the (im)permanence of the digital palimpsest in the city: the way our actions are rendered and regulated through data, interfaces, novel modes of measurement, and computational environments. Second, it invokes the urgent need to render visible specific “histories”—which often erases peoples and stories, such as exploited workers, refugee migrations, and people of color—through tactical acts of participation and design. How can architects and designers start to engage these topics, moving away from two-dimensional representation of disciplinary and formal concerns, to more complex understandings and interventions in deeply enmeshed socio-technical systems within the city?

Watch the Clear Your History Lecture

Lapo Binazzi and Gianni Pettena: 9.18.17

The UFO group was founded in Florence in 1967 by Lapo Binazzi together with Carlo Bachi, Patrizia Cammeo, Riccardo Foresi, Sandro Gioli, and Titti Maschietto. The group embodied the subversive creativity of the Italian Radical Architecture scene, striving toward a vision of social utopia and collective experience distinctive of the late 1960s at the University of Florence, where Binazzi graduated with a degree in architecture in 1971.

Architect, artist, and critic Gianni Pettena, based in Florence, belongs to the original core group of the Radical movement in Italy, together with members of Archizoom Associati, Superstudio, and UFO.

Bauhaus Legacy? Demystifying the Bauhaus in Chicago and Beyond: 9.20.17

Is the legacy of the Bauhaus of any importance to the world of the 21st century or are we hanging on to a golden ideal that never was what it was made to be? Moderated by Michael Golec, the panel will primarily engage with the audience in casting a discerning look at the legacy of the Bauhaus and its contemporary viability.

Featuring Gunnar Green and guest panelists Norman Teague and Ilona Gaynor, moderated by Michael Golec, Department of Art History, Theory & Criticism, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Watch the Bauhaus Legacy panel discussion

Fiona Raby: 9.28.2017

Fiona Raby is Professor of Design and Emerging Technology at The New School in New York, and Fellow at the Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought (GIDEST-NSSR). Between 2011-2015 she was professor of Industrial Design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. She was Reader in Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art, London (2011-2015), where she taught in Architecture, Computer Related Design and Design Interactions, from 1995-2015. She is a partner in the design studio Dunne & Raby.

Brendan Cormier: 10.3.17

Brendan Cormier is lead curator of 20th and 21st century design at the V&A, working to open a new design gallery in Shenzhen, China. In 2016 he curated ‘A World of Fragile Parts’ at the Venice Biennale of Architecture. Prior to working at the V&A, Brendan served as managing editor of Volume magazine.

Do Ho Suh: 10.9.17

Do Ho Suh works across various media, creating drawings, film, and sculptural works that confront questions of home, physical space, displacement, memory, individuality, and collectivity. Suh is best known for his fabric sculptures that reconstruct to scale his former homes in Korea, Rhode Island, Berlin, London, and New York. Suh is interested in the malleability of space in both its physical and metaphorical forms and examines how the body relates to, inhabits, and interacts with that space. 

Sampson Wong: 10.13.17

Sampson Wong is an artist, independent curator and academic in Hong Kong. His interdisciplinary research and creative projects focus on the contemporary urban condition, creative activism and social practices that concern the community. He has co-found the Hong Kong Urban Laboratory, emptyscape and the artist collective Add Oil Team.

Watch the Sampson Wong Lecture

Rural Urban Framework: 10.19.17

In 2005 the Chinese government announced its plan to urbanize half of the remaining 700 million rural citizens by 2030. At the same time, Joshua Bolchover and John Lin set up Rural Urban Framework (RUF), a research and design collaborative based at The University of Hong Kong. Conducted as a non-profit organization providing design services to charities and NGOs working in China, RUF has built over 15 projects in diverse villages throughout China and Mongolia. The projects include schools, community centers, hospitals, village houses, bridges, and incremental planning strategies.

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Yolande Daniels: 11.9.17

Yolande Daniels is a founding principal, along with Sunil Bald, of the design firm studioSUMO. Since 1995, the  work of the practice has revealed common themes and repeating motifs that unite the varied interests of the two partners. For the presentation at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Yolande will focus on how her work within their practice has been a platform to explore architectural objects and patterns at multiple scales. This has ranged from the societal patterns that inform the design of objects, to the form of the object, to the patterning of surfaces of objects. 

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Jill Magid: 11.14.17

Jill Magid is a widely celebrated MIT alumna now based in New York City. Her dynamic practice is deeply interrogative, forging intimate relationships within bureaucratic structures—flirting with, seducing, and subverting authority. Her projects probe seemingly impenetrable systems, such as the New York City Police Department, the Dutch Secret Service, surveillance systems, and, most recently, the restricted archive of Mexican architect Luis Barragán. By infiltrating and unsettling powerful institutions, she locates unexpected and rich communities within the structures of bureaucracy.

Clemence Seilles: 11.30.17

Clemence Seilles is an artist and a designer, she produces applied and fantastic situations through objects, spaces, performances and autonomous free styling formations. Surfin between Science fiction influences, poetic gestures and busyness models, a collaborative approach is characteristic of Clemence’s protocol. She mainly sees herself as a producer and commonly calls artists, musicians and designers for their know-how and sensitivity.


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Spring 2017 Lecture Series

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.

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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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.


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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

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. 

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Bryony Roberts: 3.30.17

In this lecture, Bryony Roberts addresses recent projects that transform the social dimension of existing architecture. Questioning conventions in architecture and preservation, Robert discusses strategies for critically assessing buildings as part of larger patterns of social use and urban change. Integrating performance, drawing, and design, these projects produce interactive environments that augment historical spaces and introduce alternative social conditions.

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Trash Talks: Re:Industrial City: 4.4.17

Re:Industrial City interrogates the post-industrial condition and subsequent design strategies of preservation or demolition, which invariably transform sites of production into sites of leisure or consumption. The panel discussed how the process and imagery of industrial ruination frames our relation to these sites and their potentials, and how new modes of urbanism might support alternate outcomes.

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Trash Talks: The Afterlives of Buildings: 4.8.17

Trash Talks hopes to provide an alternative platform for a series of open conversations between artists, designers and thinkers in search for a more optimistic dialogue around the creative potential of architectural refuse. Participants are invited to share strategies through built work, speculations, or calls to action that embrace the full spectrum of architecture’s material afterlives. From second hand salvage economies to the political agency of ruins, from reconstructed traces to an aesthetics of the formless—what are the possible futures that lie beyond the rubble heaps?

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Max Lamb: 4.18.17

Max Lamb’s work plays with the tradition of the working rural landscape — the Cornish beach as a foundry, the granite quarry as a workshop, felled yew trees of the Chatsworth estate as subject and source material. He is equally fascinated by the city, and his ability to adapt and respond to different environments produces designs that are uniquely of their time and place.

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Formafantasma: 4.27.17

Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin are Studio Formafantasma, an Italian designer duo based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  Formafantasma has developed a coherent body of work characterized by experimental materials investigations and explored such issues as the relationship between tradition and local culture, critical approaches to sustainability and the significance of objects as cultural conduits. 

Watch the Formafantasma Lecture

Fall 2016 Lecture Series

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.

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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 organizations including London’s Design Museum, the Wellcome Trust and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Watch the full Thomas Thwaites Lecture

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

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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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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Spring 2016 Lecture Series

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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

Fall 2015 Lecture Series

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.

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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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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.  

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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.

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Spring 2015 Lecture Series

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.

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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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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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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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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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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