Exhibit Columbus announces virtual 2021 Design Presentations lineup

Meet Me In The Middle

Exhibit Columbus announces virtual 2021 Design Presentations lineup

A view of Mill Race Park in Columbus, Indiana. Designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh and Stanley Saitowitz, the park will be home to two public design installations from Dream the Combine and Joyce Hwang during the 2021 Exhibit Columbus Exhibition. (Stickman42/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

The organizers of Exhibit Columbus 2020-2021, the third cycle of the nonprofit Landmark Columbus Foundation’s keystone program, have announced the second major public event for the annual celebration of art, design, and community centered around the famously modernist architecture-rich Indiana city.

Scheduled for March 19 and 26, the four-session Design Presentations event will give the public the opportunity to preview and learn more about the 13 site-specific design installations (via Zoom) that will be realized across the city later this year at ten civic landmarks and public spaces designed by the likes of Cesar Pelli, I.M. Pei, Eliel Saarinen, and others as part of the 2021 Exhibit Columbus Exhibition. The co-curators of the 2020-2021 cycle, Mimi Zeiger, a Los Angeles-based independent editor, critic, and curator, and Iker Gil, founding director of Chicago architecture and urban design firm MAS Studio and executive director of the SOM Foundation, will both be on hand to provide insight into each specific site chosen for the 2021 Exhibition and elaborate on the curatorial theme, New Middles: From Main Street to Megalopolis, What is the Future of the Middle City?

The 2020-2021 cycle, which concluded its virtual 2020 Symposium series in late October, marks the first time that Exhibit Columbus has had curators, either individual or joint, or a curatorial theme. “Bringing in new voices to think about this from a curatorial perspective—and to take this program that we’ve built collectively and to add that other layer of critical thought and research—seemed like a great direction for us to go,” Exhibit Columbus director Anne Surak told AN of the move in an interview this past June.

Also participating in the online Design Presentations—all four organized conceptually around the sites selected for the New Middles exhibition— will, of course, be the designers themselves, including the five J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize recipients and the seven University Design Research Fellows, all of which were revealed this past August. Also presenting will be representatives from the High School Design Team, which is comprised of students from the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation who will create an installation at the Perkins+Will-designed Columbus Central Middle School.

The Design Presentation breakdown is as follows:

Friday, March 19, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST
Ecologies: Columbus Pump House and Mill Race Park

Presentations by Miller Prize recipients Dream the Combine, a Minneapolis-based creative practice led by Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers (Mill Race Park), and University Design Research Fellows Derek Hoeferlin of Washington University in St. Lois (Columbus Pump House) and Joyce Hwang of University at Buffalo (Mill Race Park).

Friday, March 19, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. EST
Geographies: Crump Theatre, First Christian Church, and Franklin Square

Presentations by University Design Research Fellows Jei Jeeyae Kim of Indiana University (First Christian Church), Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller of Texas Tech College of Architecture in El Paso (Crump Theatre), and Natalie Yates of Ball State University (Franklin Square).

Friday, March 26, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST
Visibilities: Washington Street, Sears Building Plaza, and The Commons

Presentations by Miller Prize recipients Future Firm, a Chicago-based architecture and design research office co-founded by Ann Lui and Craig Reschke (Sears Building Plaza) and Sam Jacob of London-based Sam Jacob Studio (Washington Street) along with University Design Research Fellows Lola Sheppard and Mason White of University of Toronto and Waterloo University (Washington Street) and Ang Li of Northeastern University (The Commons).

Friday, March 26, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. EST
Possibilities: Central Middle School and Cleo Rogers Memorial Library

Presentations by Miller Prize Recipients Ecosistema Urbano, a design and consulting company co-founded by Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo with offices in Miami and Madrid (Central Middle School), and Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous (Cleo Rogers Memorial Library) along with the High School Design Team (Central Middle School).

Special guests including “community partners and experts in the field” such as David Brown, 2021 Artistic Director of the Chicago Architecture Biennial; Jia Gu, director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles; and Rhiannon Sinclair, senior urban planner with Agency Landscape + Planning will also partake in each of the presentations. As noted in a press release from Exhibit Columbus, the public will be given the chance to “experience design as a process by seeing how special guests respond to the presentations and infuse the exhibition with a variety of perspectives.”

Registration for each of the sessions is free. (More info on how to register along with further details including the full roster of special guests can be found here.)

“The Design Presentations draw on Columbus’ identity as a city for experimentation and collaboration by bringing the public into the creative process,” said Surak in a press statement. “The event is the first chance for the public to preview the exhibition and an exciting opportunity to learn how our city continues to fuel new architecture, art, and design.”

The Exhibit Columbus 2021 Exhibition is set to open in August.