COLUMBUS, IN.- Exhibit Columbus
, the annual exploration of architecture, art, design, and community, continues to celebrate the design legacy of Columbus, Indiana, with the opening of its second major exhibition this past weekend, August 23-24.
The exhibition features 18 site-responsive installations by architects, designers, academics, artists, and graphic designers. These designers have created outdoor installations and experiences that use Columbus built heritage as inspiration and context, while highlighting the role that visionary community plays in growing a vibrant, sustainable, and equitable city. The exhibition is free and open to the public, and will transform downtown Columbus through December 1.
For inspiration, Exhibit Columbus looked to the 1986 exhibition, Good Design and the Community: Columbus, Indiana, created when Columbus business leader and philanthropist J. Irwin Miller became the first person inducted into the National Building Museum Hall of Fame in Washington. Mr. Miller chose to emphasize the communitys process and involvement in building, rather than the architecture itself, as a source of his hometown pride: Architecture is something you can see. You cannot see a spirit or a temperament or a character, though, and theres an invisible part of this community of which I am very proud because, in a democracy, I think that the process is more important than the product.
Elaborating on the connection between the tangible and intangible culture that Mr. Miller described, this years exhibition explores the idea of good design in the community, and what it means today.
Exhibit Columbus is more than an architectural biennial, explained Richard McCoy, executive director of Landmark Columbus Foundation. It is a chance for Columbus to bring its traditions and values into the global design dialogue. Design and community are central pillars of our collective identity, and it gives us tremendous pride to demonstrate how a shared investment in design can improve lives.
Weve worked this year to highlight the idea of civic action through exhibition, said Anne Surak, Artistic Director. All of the participants have been carefully selected for their commitment to using architecture and design to create positive change in cities, and we are thrilled to give them the opportunity to illustrate these beliefs here in Columbus.
Exhibit Columbus second major exhibition is a citywide celebration with numerous components that connect with and comment on Columbus design legacy including the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize installations, the Washington Street Civic Projects, the University Design Research Fellowships, and an installation by local high school students. Graphic design and wayfinding plays a key role in bringing the entire exhibition into focus as a cohesive whole. Each of the 18 site-responsive installations is paired with one of the many important landmarks around downtown Columbus, in order to create a dialogue with the towns existing design heritage.
The exhibitions organizers prioritized inclusivity and community involvement at every turn, offering a wide array of programming including an Exhibition Guide produced in English and Spanish, a Family Activity Guide, and mobile app, in order to ensure the highest possible level of engagement from residents and visitors alike.
J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize
The J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize is the centerpiece of Exhibit Columbus exhibition and symposium and honors two great patrons of the Columbus community. The Miller Prize Recipients are international leaders that were selected for their commitment to the transformative power that architecture, art, and design has to improve peoples lives and make cities better places to live. Each studio has been paired with a significant downtown site to create new forms that allow us to rediscover their purpose, while further connecting people to place and community.
XX at AT&T Facility by Agency Landscape + Planning
Inspired by the facilitys historical transitions, both physical and symbolic, and by Xenia S. Millers - influence on Columbus, XX connects and uncovers hidden stories, particularly those of women. A temporary landscape planted in partnership with the community reintroduces life, memorializing the flora that was once a prominent feature of the streetscape. Modular benches made from trusses, designed to evoke the truss structures that once framed the AT&T Facility building, adapt to community-driven events and activities. Through this resurgence, XX brings us together in celebration of the women who have changed our lives and shaped our cities.
Soft Civic at Columbus City Hall by Bryony Roberts Studio
Soft Civic responds to both the architectural geometry of City Hall and its symbolic role as the center of civic leadership in the community. Custom-fabricated structures with colorful woven surfaces activate the public spaces around the buildings main entrance as destinations for play, performance, and participation. Soft Civic invites a range of impromptu activities and also hosts a series of events created in partnership with community organizations, including youth leadership meetings, public discussions on democracy, and music performances. The use of woven rope explores how a nontraditional building material can perform at an architectural scale. The soft, tactile qualities of the woven surfaces encourage playfulness and interaction at a site of governance.
Untitled at Cleo Rogers Memorial Library Plaza by Frida Escobedo Studio
Public plazas are the communitys place to gather for dialogue, performance, and exchange. Untitled transforms Cleo Rogers Memorial Library Plaza with an elevated garden terrace designed for exploration, improvisation, and play. Using the rigid geometries of Peis design as a formal point of departure, interlocking metal curves form an organic puzzle-piece-like landscape that encourages conversation and relaxation. As native grasses and wildflowers change over time, the public too will adapt and discover new ways to experience this installation.
Corn / Meal at Central Middle School by MASS Design Group
Fifty percent of the habitable surface of our planet is dedicated to food production. It is the worlds largest industry, yet our cultural, spiritual, and historical relationship to how we cook and what we eat is largely disconnected. Corn / Meal asks us to reflect on how we can strengthen our relationship with our food, taking familiar elements of the American Heartland a field of corn and the classic picnic table and shaping them into an interactive landscape of living architecture where students and the public alike are invited to reconnect to what we eat and how we cook.
Into the Hedge at Bartholomew County Courthouse Lawn by SO-IL
Inspired by the Dan Kiley landscape at Saarinens iconic Miller House and Garden, in particular the dense hedgerow of Arbor Vitae that make up the perimeter, Into the Hedge playfully re-interprets elements of the modernist landscape as an interactive environment. A grid of 130 living Arbor Vitae trees planted in a large-scale hammock structure on the Bartholomew County Courthouse Lawn, create an inviting space for gathering, and a welcoming landmark at the gateway to downtown. Rather than using the hedge as a divider, the installation invites people in, and creates a responsive and playful environment out of the Miller House hedge.
Washington Street Civic Projects
The Washington Street Civic Projects showcase innovative work created by five mission-driven organizations dedicated to using architecture, art, and design to connect communities and catalyze efforts to make cities more equitable and sustainable. As part of the 2019 exhibition, their projects consider the history and development of Washington Street, Columbus Main Street, as a place of civic and commercial exchange while activating sites around this downtown corridor. These installations show us new ways to consider civic action.
Love Letter to the Crump by Borderless Studio
Love Letter to The Crump consists of a collective love letter from the community showcased as a large-scale, exterior curtain along the eastern wall of the Art Deco theatre. Through a series of workshops, past memories and future aspirations for The Crump were translated into a graphic pattern inspired by Alexander Girards urban and textile design practices. Inviting both residents and visitors to reflect on the transformation process of places in Columbus, Love Letter to The Crump sparks dialogue about new forms and meanings for preservation, as well as shared values and processes that could guide decisions about heritage in our cities.
What if Columbus by Extrapolation Factory
What If Columbus encourages users to contemplate, articulate, and share their visions for Columbus through a collage of prompts and images that have been selected to explore infrastructures of cities of the future. The resulting submissions are then collected and digitally shared with community leaders with the intention that the visions can offer decision makers inspiration and insight into new concepts for the citys future. Just as the Republic Building across the street was designed as a metaphor for transparency within the fourth estate, What If Columbus explores free speech and the public sphere in our digital age.
Thank U, Next by LA-Mas
Thank U, Next serves as a destination for people from all parts of the city and from all backgrounds to have shared experiences. This project thanks civic leaders and past architects for their highly formal contributions to Washington Street, but also looks to create the next precedent for an alternative that is welcoming to a full range of socio-economic diversity. An urban plaza that is flexible, reconfigurable, and playfulThank U, Next is designed to provide a place for social and cultural togetherness through a calendar of community-based programming that brings Washington Street to life with a bold spirit of inclusivity.
Jungle Subtraction by People for Urban Progress
Jungle Subtraction invites us to consider how our ideal streetscape might be designed today through a series of reflective panels surrounding public infrastructure and trees along an entire city block. Inspired by Alexander Girards vision wherein he proposed the repainting and reworking of storefront elements, this project is an architecture of subtraction intended to visually erase or edit the urban landscape of Washington Street.
Las Abejas by PienZa Sostenible
Bees are integral to our food and environment, and yet they are facing an uncertain future due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change. Based in Mexico, one of the leading exporters and producers of apiculture products worldwide, PienZa Sostenible is dedicated to the protection of bees. In a model similar to their ReConstruir México initiative, Las Abejas brings together internationally-renowned Mexican architects and craftsmen to create bee houses that encourage a relationship with ecology and to bring awareness to the worlds declining bee population. Nestled among the honey locust trees in Dan Kileys landscape, four bee houses designed by Alberto Kalach, Tatiana Bilbao Studio, Rozana Montiel Arquitectos, and Manuel Cervantes Estudio ask us to consider the importance of bees everywhere.
University Design Research Fellowships
The University Design Research Fellowships highlight current research by leading professors of architecture and design working at public institutions in the Midwest. These fellowships spotlight innovative research advancing the field and provide the rare opportunity for faculty to exhibit their research within inspiring contexts. Exhibit Columbus is proud to award six fellowships to professors representing eight universities.
Understorey at North Christian Church by Viola Ago (Ohio State University) and Hans Tursack (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Understorey is an ecological education center highlighting samples of Southern Indianas geological composition. The design plays with the recognizable elements of a greenhouseprefabricated materials, plants, and artificial lightingand recasts them as both a sculptural gesture and educational tool nested beneath the built canopy of Eero Saarinens North Christian Church, and the natural umbrella of Dan Kileys landscape.
Playscape at The Commons by Sean Ahlquist (University of Michigan)
Designed to engage neurodiverse individuals, such as those with autism spectrum disorder, Playscape is a series of sensory-responsive moments made of custom-knitted fabrics and interactive lighting. Through extensive cross-disciplinary research, this installation embraces the beneficial aspects of hyper-awareness to environmental stimuli helping to foster a balanced state of well-being. Playscape gives individuals the agency to craft their own sensory experiences within an environment that offers opportunities for social and collaborative play.
DE|stress at St. Peters Lutheran Church by Christopher A. Battaglia (Ball State University)
DE|stress is a 3D-printed concrete shell of 110 unique panels. Computationally optimized to its specific form and place, DE|stress adopts innovative technologies in pursuit of concrete construction that is more sustainable, formally responsive, and flexible. The vaulted space invites community collaboration, gathering, and activity under the shade, as well as providing an ideal place to admire the surroundings as framed by its arches.
The Long Now at First Christian Church by Sean Lally (University of Illinois at Chicago) and Matthew Wizinsky (University of Cincinnati)
The Long Now is a combination of two experiences: one physical and one digital. The space includes embedded heating and full spectrum lighting that creates an environment tuned for human wellbeing. Through augmented reality, 120 years of local climate data is reimagined as a digital form under the existing tree canopy. Shifting light particles above represent potential changes in solar radiation and the Earths atmosphere, while speculative plant life materializes in the grass. The Long Now is an exploration of a world always being designed and negotiated, where concepts of environment and body are moments within a larger arch of time.
Entry Portal at The Republic Building by Daniel Luis Martinez and Etien Santiago (Indiana University)
Entry Portal is an experiential passageway inviting guests to visit the J. Irwin Miller Architecture Programs public gallery and to enjoy events held at the school. While the Republic Building is set back from the urban fabric of the city and has discreet entrances, this installation serves as a bold new gatewayan embodiment of the schools desire to extend a welcoming hand to the local community and visitors alike. Of course, doors open both ways, and Entry Portal equally encourages students to engage with and learn from Columbus unparalleled architectural heritage, and the community that made it possible.
UTK Filament Tower at North Christian Church by Marshall Prado (University of Tennessee)
The UTK Filament Tower advances the fields of computational design and robotic fabrication of lightweight fiber composites into one of the tallest structures of its kind. Standing at over 30 feet high, the tower reimagines the hexagonal spire form pronounced in North Christian Church and natural fibrous structures found in nature. By advancing architectural uses of carbon fiber that require less material for equal or greater strength than traditional building materials, UTK Filament Tower opens future possibilities for sustainable and innovative construction and design.
High School Design Team / Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation
Columbus architectural legacy and its impact on the community started with investments made in the schools. The commissioning of innovative, well-designed educational facilities helped create what can be seen today: a quality, forward-thinking educational system. Inspired by J. Irwin Millers vision, Exhibit Columbus seeks to connect the next generation of the Columbus community to its design heritage through the High School Design Team.
DENCITY reflects the connection between diversity and density in Columbus. The pillars represent the growth of both aspects within the community and the design takes inspiration from the Bartholomew County Veterans Memorial, as well as the campanile of First Christian Church and the facade of St. Peters Lutheran Church, both of which are visible from this site. Rooted around a single tree, the columns vary in height, shape, and space depicting the disbursement of the community away from the city center. The central pillars represent the voices of youth in Columbus today, and features a collage of artwork created by high school students throughout the county.
Environmental Design and Exhibition Wayfinding
The Environmental Design and Wayfinding unifies the many facets of the exhibition through a system of color-coded installation kiosks and an exhibition guide design by Chicago-based Thirst, with complimentary guides in the form of a Family Activity Guide designed by Rosten Woo, and the Hear/Here app created by Halsey Burgund. Exhibit Columbus considers Environmental Design and Wayfinding as the 18th installation as it forms a continuous language that serves to inspire, educate, and connect to Exhibit Columbus purpose and the exhibition theme.