Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects: U.S. Pavilion Announces Exhibitors at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

Chicago, September 12, 2017–The curatorial team for Dimensions of Citizenship, the exhibition that will represent the United States in the U.S. Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, today announced the architects, landscape architects, and designers who will create work for the show. The seven commissioned exhibitors are:

  • Amanda Williams & Andres L. Hernandez (Chicago, IL)
  • Design Earth (Cambridge, MA)
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York, NY)
  • Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman (San Diego, CA)
  • Keller Easterling (New Haven, CT)
  • SCAPE (New York, NY)
  • Studio Gang (Chicago, IL)

In a statement, the curators said, “These seven teams represent the breadth of design practice today: from social to speculative; technical to theoretical. They are united by researched-based methodologies and the drive to use that research to push boundaries—formal, disciplinary, and political.”

Each of these new works commissioned for the U.S. Pavilion will interrogate a different spatial condition of design and citizenship. Also on view and placed in dialogue with these contributions will be existing projects by other architects, artists, and practitioners of aligned disciplines. These participants will be announced at a later date.

The institutions that have been appointed as co-commissioners of the 2018 U.S. Pavilion—the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and the University of Chicago—also announced the appointment of Iker Gil, SAIC faculty member, Director of MAS Studio and founder of the design journal MAS Context, as associate curator. He joins the curatorial team of Niall Atkinson, Associate Professor of Architectural History at the University of Chicago; Ann Lui, Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Mimi Zeiger, an independent critic, editor, curator, and educator.

Supporting the curators in crafting their creative vision and realizing Dimensions of Citizenship is a recently formed curatorial advisory board which includes:

  • Bill Brown, Senior Advisor to the Provost for Arts, Karla Scherer Distinguished Service Professor in American Culture in the Departments of English & Visual Arts, and the College, UChicago
  • Theaster Gates, Professor in the Department of Visual Arts and the College, and Director of Arts + Public Life, UChicago
  • Sarah Herda, Director, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
  • Mary Jane Jacob, Professor, Executive Director of Exhibitions and Exhibitions Studies, SAIC
  • Oliver Palmer, independent artist and designer  
  • Zoë Ryan, John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design, Art Institute of Chicago
  • Jonathan Solomon, Director, Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects, SAIC
  • Jessica Stockholder, Chair of the Department of Visual Arts and Raymond W. & Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Visual Arts and the College, UChicago
  • Amy Thomas, Assistant Professor of Architectural History and Urban Planning, TU Delft
  • Yesomi Umolu, Exhibitions Curator at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts and Lecturer in the Humanities Division, UChicago

The curatorial team has appointed Project Projects as the graphic, web, and exhibition designer for the 2018 U.S. Pavilion. e-flux Architecture has joined Dimensions of Citizenship as a media and editorial partner.

In addition to presenting the contributions of the seven exhibitors and the collateral projects of other participants, Dimensions of Citizenship will include a digital platform designed to foster conversations and to seek new ideas, stories, and engagement from both local and global publics representing diverse voices.

About the Exhibitors

Amanda Williams & Andres L. Hernandez

Amanda Williams is a visual artist who trained as an architect at Cornell University. Amanda’s practice blurs the distinction between art and architecture. Her projects use color as a lens to highlight the complexities of the politics of race, place and value in cities. She is best known for her series, "Color(ed) Theory," in which she painted the exterior of soon-to-be-demolished houses on the south side using a culturally charged color palette to mark the pervasiveness of vacancy and blight in black urban communities. The landscapes in which she operates are the visual residue of the invisible policies and forces that have misshaped most inner cities.

Amanda is an Efroymson Family Contemporary Arts Fellow, a 3Arts winner, the 2017 Pulitzer Arts Foundation Design/Build awardee in collaboration with Andres L. Hernandez,  and a member of the multidisciplinary Exhibition Design team for the Obama Presidential Center. She has current exhibitions the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Arts Club of Chicago. She is a highly sought after lecturer on the subject of art and design in the public realm; including talks at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Amanda recently served as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University and will be a Visiting Professor at Cornell University next year. She lives and works on Chicago’s south side.

Andres L. Hernandez is an artist, designer, and educator who re-imagines the environments we inhabit. Through collaborative, community-based work with youth and adults, and independent, studio-based practice, he explores the potential of spaces for public dialogue, community building, and social action. Hernandez is co-founder of the Revival Arts Collective, a network of citizen activists using arts and culture as a catalyst for community redevelopment in Chicago; and founder and director of the Urban Vacancy Research Initiative, which enlists artists and designers to creatively address the phenomena of abandoned, razed, and vacant urban properties.

Hernandez currently serves on the exhibition design team for the Obama Presidential Center (Chicago, IL), and collaborates with artist Amanda Williams on A Way, Away (Listen While I Say) , a design-build commission organized by the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. During the 2016-2017 academic year, he was a teaching artist at Stateville Correctional Center (Crest Hill, IL) with Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project, and artist-in-residence at Curie Metropolitan High School (Chicago, IL) with MCA Chicago's School Partnership in Art and Civic Engagement program.

Hernandez received his B. Arch. from Cornell University, and his M.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is Associate Professor in the Department of Art Education. He is concurrently faculty in the Graduate Studies in Art & Design Education program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and was recently Visiting Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design at Washington University in St. Louis.


DESIGN EARTH is led by Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy. The design research practice examines the geographies of technological systems, such as those of energy, trash, water, and agriculture, to open aesthetic and political concerns for architecture and urbanism.

The work of DESIGN EARTH is widely recognized, including a Young Architects Prize from Architectural League of New York, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Faculty Design Awards, and a Jacques Rougerie Foundation’s First Prize, as well as honorable mentions for their entries in competitions such as City Vision, Organic Skyscraper, Archinect Dry Futures, and The Architect's Newspaper Best of Design Awards in Architectural Representation. They have exhibited internationally at Venice Biennale, Oslo Triennale, Lisbon Triennale, Sharjah Biennial, Design Biennial Boston, Seoul Biennale, as well as at Sursock Museum in Beirut. Ghosn and Jazairy are authors of Geographies of Trash (ACTAR, 2015) and Two Cosmograms (MIT SAP, 2016). Some of their recent essays and projects are published in Volume, Journal of Architectural Education, San Rocco, Avery Review, Thresholds, Bracket, and Perspecta. Their forthcoming Geostories book is supported by a Graham Foundation grant.

Ghosn and Jazairy hold doctor of design degrees from Harvard Graduate School of Design, where they were founding editors of the journal New Geographies and respectively editors of NG2: Landscapes of Energy and NG4: Scales of the Earth. Ghosn is assistant professor of architecture and urbanism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Architecture & Planning, and Jazairy is assistant professor at University of Michigan and currently visiting research scientist at MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) is an interdisciplinary design studio that works at the intersection of architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts. Founded in 1979, the New York City based practice established its identity through self-generated conceptual art and architecture installations before reaching international prominence with large scale cultural and civic projects such as the Blur Building at the Swiss Expo 2002, Yverdon-les-Bains; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Redevelopment, and the High Line, both in New York. In 1999, Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio received the “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation, the first given in the field of architecture. Today, DS+R is led by four partners—Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro, and Benjamin Gilmartin—who work collaboratively with a staff of over 100 architects, designers, artists, and researchers.  DS+R focuses on projects of civic importance: rethinking the future of the city, the changing role of institutions and the increasing dominance of technology in society. DS+R is currently engaged in two significant cultural projects in New York: the renovation and expansion of the Museum of Modern Art and The Shed, New York’s first multi-arts center designed to commission, produce, and present all types of performing arts, visual arts, and popular culture, which has been designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group. Most recently, the studio completed The Broad museum in Los Angeles and the Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center at Columbia University in New York. In the coming year, DS+R will be completing the Museum of Image & Sound in Rio de Janeiro and Zaryadye Park in Moscow.

Among the studio’s current and recent art installations and exhibition designs are EXIT at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (currently traveling internationally); Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design at the Jewish Museum in New York; Musings on a Glass Box at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris; Charles James: Beyond Fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and The Look, a book and eponymous exhibition for the DESTE Foundation in Athens, Greece. Recent performance pieces include Be Your Self with the Australian Dance Theatre and Moving Target with Charleroi Danses in Belgium. Currently in design is the Mile Long Opera, which will take place on the High Line.

The studio’s numerous accolades include the Centennial Medal from the American Academy in Rome; the National Design Award from the Smithsonian Institution; and the Brunner Prize from the American Academy of the Arts and Letters. In 2003, the Whitney Museum of American Art held a major retrospective of the studio’s work. In 2009, Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio were named by Time Magazine as two of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman

Teddy Cruz is a professor of Public Culture and Urbanization in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. He is known internationally for his urban research of the Tijuana/San Diego border, advancing border neighborhoods as sites of cultural production from which to rethink urban policy, affordable housing, and public space. Recipient of the Rome Prize in Architecture in 1991, his honors the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award in 2011 and the 2013 Architecture Award from the US Academy of Arts and Letters.

Fonna Forman is a professor of Political Theory and Founding Director of the Center on Global Justice at the University of California, San Diego.  Her work engages issues at the intersection of ethics, public culture, urban policy and the city - including human rights at the urban scale, climate justice, border ethics and equitable urbanization. She is best known for her revisionist research on 18th century economist Adam Smith, recuperating the ethical, social, spatial and public dimensions of his thought.  Forman serves as Vice-Chair of the University of California Climate Solutions Group and its Bending the Curve report on climate change; and on the Global Citizenship Commission (advising UN policy on human rights).

Cruz + Forman are principals in Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, a research-based political and architectural practice in San Diego, investigating issues of informal urbanization, civic infrastructure and public culture, with a special emphasis on Latin American cities.  Blurring conventional boundaries between theory and practice, and transgressing the fields of architecture and urbanism, political theory and urban policy, visual arts and public culture, Cruz + Forman lead variety of urban research agendas and civic / public interventions in the San Diego-Tijuana border region and beyond.  From 2012-13 they served as special advisors on civic and urban initiatives for the City of San Diego and led the development of its Civic Innovation Lab. Together they founded the UCSD Cross-Border Initiative, and the UCSD Community Stations, a platform for engaged research and teaching on poverty and social equity in the border region.

Their work has been exhibited widely in prestigious cultural venues across the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York; Das Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; the Medellín Museum of Modern Art; M+ Hong Kong and the 2016 Shenzhen Biennial of Urbanism and Architecture, among others; and has been profiled widely in important publications including Domus, ArtForum, The New York Times, Next City, and e-flux, and important collections on urbanism and art published by Harvard University Press, Oxford University Press and MIT Press, among others.  With Helge Mooshammer and Peter Mortenböck they co-edited Informal Market Worlds Reader: The Architecture of Economic Pressure (Rotterdam: nai010); and have two forthcoming monographs: Top-Down / Bottom-Up: The Research and Practice of Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman (Berlin: Hatje Cantz); and The Political Equator: Unwalling Citizenship (London: Verso)

Their work has been funded by the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, ArtPlace America, the PARC Foundation, the San Diego Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation, among others.

Keller Easterling

Keller Easterling is an architect, writer and professor at Yale University. Her most recent book, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (Verso, 2014), examines global infrastructure networks as a medium of polity. Another recent book, Subtraction (Sternberg Press, 2014), considers building removal or how to put the development machine into reverse. An ebook essay, The Action is the Form: Victor Hugo’s TED Talk (Strelka Press, 2012) previews some of the arguments in Extrastatecraft.

Other books include: Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and its Political Masquerades (MIT, 2005) which researched familiar spatial products in difficult or hyperbolic political situations around the world and Organization Space: Landscapes, Highways and Houses in America (MIT, 1999) which applied network theory to a discussion of American infrastructure.

Easterling is also the co-author (with Richard Prelinger) of Call it Home: The House that Private Enterprise Built, a laserdisc/DVD history of US suburbia from 1934–1960. She has published web installations including: Extrastatecraft, Wildcards: a Game of Orgman and Highline: Plotting NYC. Easterling’s research and writing was included in the 2014 Venice Biennale, and she has been exhibited at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, the Rotterdam Biennale, and the Architectural League in New York. Easterling has lectured and published widely in the United States and abroad. The journals to which she has contributed include Domus, Artforum, Grey Room, Cabinet, Volume, Assemblage, e-flux, Log, Praxis, Harvard Design Magazine, Perspecta, and ANY.

SCAPE Landscape Architecture

Kate Orff’s activist and visionary work on design for climate dynamics has been shared and developed in collaboration with arts institutions, governments, and scholars worldwide. She is a registered landscape architect, the founder of SCAPE, and Director of the Urban Design Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where she teaches graduate design studios and interdisciplinary seminars focused on sustainable development, biodiversity, and community-based change. She is the author of Toward an Urban Ecology (Monacelli, 2016) about redefining urban ecology as activism. She is co-author, with photographer Richard Misrach, of Petrochemical America (Aperture Foundation, 2012) and co-editor of Gateway: Visions for an Urban National Park (Princeton, 2011). Her essays have appeared in The Great Leap Forward, Waterfront Visions, Volume, and other books and journals. Kate was named a United States Artist Fellow, one of “50 for the Future of Design” by H&G, an Elle Magazine “Planet Fixer,” and received The Architectural League’s “Emerging Voices” prize in 2012, and has been inducted into the National Academy for her design work. In 2015, Kate received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture, which recognizes an American architect whose work is characterized by a strong personal direction.

Her office, SCAPE, is an award winning landscape architecture and urban design practice based in lower Manhattan. Through her creative leadership of the firm, she explores the cultural and physical complexity of urban landscapes and their unique textures, ecologies, programs and publics. SCAPE’s projects range from a 1000 square foot pocket park in Brooklyn, NY, to the $60M federally-funded Living Breakwaters project, a comprehensive climate change resiliency strategy for the South Shore of Staten Island. The firm has won National and local ASLA Awards for their built projects, planning and communications work. 

After graduating from the University of Virginia with Distinction with a degree in Political and Social Thought, Kate earned a Master in Landscape Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard. In 1996, she was a member of small research group focused on the urbanization of Pearl River Delta, led by architect Rem Koolhaas, which became the first case study in the internationally recognized Harvard Project on the City. Kate later worked for the planning and landscape architecture firm Hargreaves Associates in San Francisco and for OMA/AMO. She lectures widely in the U.S. and abroad on the topic of urban landscape and new paradigms of thinking, collaborating and designing for the anthropocene era. Her work has been cited in publications such as the New Yorker, the Economist, the New York Times, and New York Magazine, in addition to architecture and planning publications such as Metropolis, Dwell, Azure, Landscape Architecture Magazine, Harvard Design Magazine, LA China, and many others. She has been interviewed on Leonard Lopate, ABC News, National Public Radio, Queens Public TV, and the Brian Lehrer Show.

Studio Gang

Founded by architect and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang is an international architecture and urban design practice based in Chicago and New York. The Studio works across scales and typologies—from cultural and public buildings, to urban plans, to high-rise towers—with a design process that foregrounds the relationships between individuals, communities, and environments. Their interdisciplinary and research-driven approach has produced some of today’s most award-winning architecture, such as the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan; the Nature Boardwalk at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, a 14-acre public park and biodiverse habitat; two public Boathouses on the Chicago River that provide access to its north and south branches; and Civic Commons, a multi-city project reenvisioning neighborhoods’ civic fabric across the United States.

The Studio is currently working on major projects throughout the Americas and Europe. These include an expansion of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City; the next United States Embassy in Brasília, Brazil; the competition for the renovation of Tour Montparnasse in Paris; and the under-construction Rescue Company 2 facility for FDNY rescue workers in Brooklyn.

Intertwined with their built work, the Studio develops research and related projects such as publications and exhibitions that push design’s ability to create public awareness and lead to change—a practice the Studio calls “actionable idealism.” These include Polis Station, an ongoing project exploring how American police stations can be inclusively reimagined to better serve their communities; Reverse Effect, an advocacy publication produced to spark a greener future for the Chicago River; and the Garden in the Machine, a proposal for the inner-ring suburb of Cicero, Illinois, developed for MoMA’s Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream exhibition.

A recipient of the 2013 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture and the 2016 Architizer A+ Firm of the Year, Studio Gang’s work has been honored and exhibited widely, including at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Chicago Architecture Biennial, and Miami Art Basel. In 2012 the Studio was the subject of a solo show at the Art Institute of Chicago, Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects, which was accompanied by an exhibition catalogue of the same name. Reveal, a 2011 monograph published by Princeton Architectural Press, is the first volume on their work and working process.

About the Graphic, Web, and Exhibition Designer

Project Projects (Adam Michaels, Shannon Harvey) is an award-winning design studio specializing in work for art, architecture, education, and culture with offices in Los Angeles and New York. Combining a conceptual and strategic approach with progressive modes of visual communication, the studio’s practice encompasses the full range of contemporary graphic media—from books, exhibitions, magazines, and printed materials, to branding, signage, events, and interactive applications. In recognition of its achievements, Project Projects was awarded the Cooper Hewitt’s 2015 National Design Award in Communication Design, the United States’ highest distinction in the field.

About the Media and Editorial Partner

e-flux Architecture is a publishing platform, archive, and an editorial project founded in 2016. The news, events, exhibitions, programs, journals, books, and projects disseminated by e-flux Architecture as daily announcements describe strains of critical discourse surrounding contemporary architecture, culture, and theory internationally. Since its inception, e-flux Architecture has maintained a dynamic international program of projects and events featuring contributions by a wide range of disciplinary positions and perspectives. Editorial content commissioned and published by e-flux Architecture consistently showcases some of the most rigorous, critical, sincere, and engaged theoretical work being produced today in and around the fields of architecture, urbanism, and design.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

For 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranking among the top three graduate fine arts programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate, architecture and design, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, Jeff Koons, and LeRoy Neiman. For more information, please visit

About The University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is a leading academic and research institution that has driven new ways of thinking since its founding in 1890. As an intellectual destination, the University draws scholars and students from around the world to its home in Hyde Park and campuses around the globe. The University provides a distinctive educational experience, empowering individuals to challenge conventional thinking and pursue research that produces new understanding and breakthroughs with global impact. At the University, UChicago Arts, which includes nearly 100 arts organizations, initiatives, and academic programs, brings together the efforts of students, faculty, artists, and community partners to infuse creativity throughout the intellectual life on campus while solidifying the University’s role as a cultural destination and resource on Chicago’s South Side.

About the U.S. Pavilion

The U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale was built in 1930 and designed by architects William Adams Delano and Chester Holmes Aldrich. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation acquired the U.S. Pavilion in 1986, and now manages it through the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, with the support of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for the U.S. Department of State.

About the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the U.S. Embassy in Rome

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) builds relations between people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchange programs, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States, support U.S. international leadership, and provide a broad range of domestic benefits by helping break down barriers that often divide us. ECA programs build connections that engage and empower people and motivate them to become leaders and thinkers; to develop new skills; and to find connections that will create positive change in their communities. Alumni of ECA exchange programs comprise more than one million people around the world, including more than 80 Nobel Laureates and more than 500 current or former heads of state and government around the world. For more information:

ECA also closely collaborates with the U.S. Embassy in Rome, which has long supported the Venice Biennale and has maintained a strong interest in this important opportunity to showcase innovative American architects and artists.   For more information:


Alison Buchbinder

Polskin Arts & Communications Counselors


Press/Media contact

Bree Witt
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