Meet the five 2022 United States Artists fellows in Architecture & Design

Give Me Five

Meet the five 2022 United States Artists fellows in Architecture & Design

The 2022 USA Architecture & Design fellows. Top: Nina Cooke John (Photo: Ball and Albanese); Tom Carruthers and Jennifer Newsom of Dream The Combine (Photo: Rik Sferra); Germane Barnes (Photo: Raw Pop-UP). Bottom: Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy of Design Earth (Photo: Thomas Gearty); Jing Liu and Florian Idenburg of SO – IL (Photo: Vincent Tullo)

Philanthropic arts organization United States Artists (USA) has announced the 2022 class of its USA Fellows program—the largest in the 16-year history of the Chicago-based arts funding nonprofit with 63 awardees from 23 states and Puerto Rico. Unrestricted cash awards of $50,000 will be given to recipients spanning ten creative disciplines, including five Architecture & Design fellows.

In addition to being more USA Architecture & Design fellows than in recent years (three in 2021 and just two in 2020), the 2022 cohort predominately includes practitioners of color, and shouldn’t be unfamiliar to regular AN readers. They are: Germane Barnes, Nina Cooke John, Design Earth, Dream the Combine, and SO–IL.

Joining the five Architecture & Design fellows are other 58 awardees working across the disciplines of Craft, Dance, Film, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, and Writing. The 2022 class is the largest to date and features the greatest number of Native and Indigenous (20 percent) and disabled individuals (17 percent) in the program’s history. As noted in a press announcement, an emphasis on “social practice, education, and pedagogy” is present in the work of many 2022 USA Fellows across all disciplines.

“After another year facing the challenges of the pandemic, artists once again demonstrate their deep commitment to uplifting those around them and nurturing their communities,” said Lynnette Miranda, outgoing program director of United States Artists. “The 2022 USA Fellows were selected for their remarkable artistic vision, their commitment to community—both in their specific communities and their discipline at large—and the potential to influence future generations.”

This month, Miranda concludes her role at United States Artists and begin a new one as program officer at Lukas Walton’s Builders Initiative, a philanthropic foundation described as a “close and generous partner” of USA. Also earlier this month, USA announced the appointment of Judilee Reed, current program director of Creative Communities for the William Penn Foundation, as its new president and CEO. Reed will begin her new role full-time in May.

a brightly colored play structure with an elevated train in the background
Studio Barnes’ Block Party, designed in collaboration with MAS Context and Shawhin Roudbari, at the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial. (Photo: Mark Waite)

Leadership shifts at USA aside, the naming of Germane Barnes as a 2022 Architecture & Design fellow comes after a hot year for the Miami-based architect, designer, and educator whose work examines the influence of the built environment on Black domesticity. In May 2021, Barnes was both named one of ten winners of the 2021 Architectural League Prize For Young Architects + Designers and awarded with the prestigious Wheelwright Prize by the Harvard Graduate School of Design for his proposal Anatomical Transformations in Classical Architecture. Weeks before, he was named a recipient of the 2021–22 Rome Prize. Also a commissioned participant in the 2021 Chicago Architectural Biennial: The Available City and founding member of the Black Reconstruction Collective, Barnes serves as assistant professor of architecture at the University of Miami.

a public art installation illuminated at night in nyc
Studio Cooke John’s Point of Action, 2020. Flatiron Public Plazas. (Photo: Tony Turner Photography)

Born in Kingston, Jamaica and currently based in Montclair, New Jersey, architect and educator Nina Cooke John is founder of multidisciplinary design practice Studio Cooke John. Most recently, Cooke John’s Shadow of a Face, a proposal for a monument honoring abolitionist Harriet Tubman, was selected to replace a since-removed statue of Christopher Columbus at historic Washington Park in downtown Newark.

The winning realized design is set to be unveiled this summer. In 2020, Studio Cooke John’s Point of Action was chosen as the seventh annual Flatiron Public Plaza Design Installation.

covered passageway at an arts campus
SO–IL’s Amant Art Campus in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (Photo: Rafael Gamo)

The oft-lauded work of SO–IL, a Brooklyn-based architectural design practice established by Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu, should also be familiar to AN readers. Most recently, AN executive editor Samuel Media penned a critical appraisal of its East Williamsburg arts campus for the Amant Foundation (the 2021 AN Best of Design Awards’ Project of the Year). SO­­­–IL was also featured in the just-concluded group exhibition The Fabricated Landscape at the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Heinz Architectural Center in Pittsburgh. (You can read AN editor-in-chief Aaron Seward’s review of the show here.)

a man ascending a ramp at a public art installation
Dream the Combine’s Lure, 2019, at MadArt in Seattle. (Photo: Caylon Hackwith)

Last June, it was announced that SO–IL’s Idenburg would be joining the faculty of Cornell University’s College of Art, Architecture, and Planning (AAP) alongside another just-named USA Fellow: Jennifer Newsom of Minneapolis- and Ithaca-based creative practice Dream the Combine. Co-founded with domestic and creative partner Tom Carruthers (like SO­–IL, the practice is led by a husband-wife team), Dream the Combine’s 2020-21 J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize-winning design for Columbus Columbia Columbo Colón was one 13 site-specific installations on view during the 2021 edition of Exhibit Columbus. Among other awards and accolades, Dream the Combine was the winner of the 2018 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program.

installation view of a speculative architecture exhibition
Design Earth’s Cosmorama, 2018. (Photo: Tom Harris)

Finally, Design Earth is a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based collaborative research studio led by Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy. Describing itself as a studio that “engages the medium of the speculative architectural project to make public the climate crisis,” Design Earth has commissioned projects for, among others, the Glasgow Science Centre (2021), Bauhaus Museum Dessau (2021), the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2016, 2018, 2021), and the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism (2017); the studio has also been bestowed with the Architectural League Prize For Young Architects + Designers (2016) and a pair of Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Faculty Design Awards (2014, 2017). In a review published last month, AN contributor Fred Scharmen delved into Design Earth’s new multimedia project, The Planet After Geoengineering.

To date, USA has awarded more than 750 artists and cultural practitioners with over $36 million in direct support through its flagship funding program. The organization also distributed more than $23.4 million in emergency grants to a total of 4,682 artists personally and professionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. That 15-month effort, Artist Relief, was organized by USA alongside the Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, and YoungArts.

You can view the full list of 2022 USA Fellows here.