Author Archives: ardesignadmin

“Tadao Ando and Le Courbusier: Masters of Architecture”
Wrightwood 659 Gallery
Chicago, IL

The inaugural exhibition of a new Chicago cultural institution, Ando and Le Corbusier: Masters of Architecture, occupied all three floors of exhibition space. It included more than 100 Le Corbusier drawings, photographs, and models—on loan from institutions including the Fondation Le Corbusier, Paris, and the Art Institute of Chicago—as well as 106 small models of Le Corbusier’s architectural works made by students of Ando, among other objects.

National Public Housing Museum
Chicago, IL

We are pleased to be content developers as well as exhibition designers for the new National Public Housing Museum, the first cultural institution in the US dedicated to telling the story of public housing. The museum will preserve and transform the only remaining building of the historic Jane Addams Homes on the Near West Side. The three-story brick building opened in 1938 as the first federal government housing project in Chicago. It housed hundreds of families over six decades and has been vacant since 2002. Through interpretive apartment recreations, art galleries and installations, oral history archives, and spaces for community activism the museum will preserve, promote, and propel the right of all people to a place to call home.

First image rendering by Visualized Concepts

Rendering by Visualized Concepts

Yiddish Book Center
Amherst, MA

Architecture + Design was charged to reimagine this existing book repository as a museum. Over 5000 square feet on 2 levels will become display space featuring interactive exhibitions, commissioned artists, and immersive environments which tell the story of Yiddish as a global language. The project won an NEH grant and is currently in design development, slated to open in 2022.

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
Chicago, IL

This complete, gut-overhaul of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum doubled the public exhibition space of the museum. Using the house itself as the museum’s most compelling “artifact”, a mixture of architectural interpretation and radical exhibition techniques reinvigorated a once-sleepy museum into a cutting-edge model of museum as social catalyst.

“Housing as a Human Right”
Chicago Architecture Biennial
Chicago, IL

With architectural artifacts recovered from the Jane Addams Homes and oral histories of housing residents as source material, we presented a dynamic exhibition that challenges mainstream narratives about public housing. The exhibit includes architectural and design interventions, a poetic ruin, artworks, design projects, critical writing, and a candy store that reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of public housing residents. Elements from this pop-up exhibition will become part of the permanent new museum Architecture + Design is designing, opening in late 2019.

“Making It New: The Art and Style of Sara and Gerald Murphy”
Williams College Museum
Williamstown, MA

“Making It New: The Art and Style of Sara & Gerald Murphy,” at the Williams College Museum of Art, is an immensely satisfying show about fine, complicated people who loved life in exemplary ways, in superb company, and suffered misfortune.” Peter Schjedahl in The New Yorker

This was the first exhibit to explore Sara and Gerald’s relationships with some of the pivotal figures of Paris of the 1920s. Their intimate circle included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Cole Porter, Man Ray, and Dorothy Parker. The exhibit also featured Gerald’s seven surviving canvases along with paintings, watercolors, drawings, and photographs by artists within his circle.

“Sephardic Journey”
Center for Jewish History
New York, NY

The rare books and artifacts, from the collection of The American Sephardi Federation, reflect a rich scholarly tradition and invite reflection upon the physical, emotional, and spiritual journeys of Jewish history. The display in the David Berg Rare Book Room used archival map fragments to convey a sense of place and to contextualize the works from nine communities.

“Then They Came for Me”
Alphawood Gallery
Chicago, IL

This 10,000 square foot exhibition examined a difficult and painful episode in the history of the United States when the federal government forcibly removed and imprisoned thousands of American citizens without due process simply for being born Japanese American.  Most of the exhibit consisted of photographs by noted American photographers, including Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange, as well as artwork and artifacts from the community.

Chicago Monuments
Chicago, IL

Everyday, Chicagoans walk through neighborhoods stretching from the lake to Franklin Park, unaware that they are treading on land formed by glacial deposits and time-worn paths of the Potawatomi and other Indian tribes. This land, the spiritual home of Native peoples, has seen the historical effects of broken treaties, expulsions, and ignorance.
We are proposing to turn a line of “boundary” into a
line of “meeting” through a series of markers and place
makers that recognize the geologic, Native, and
contemporary stories of these lines that break the
Chicago grid.

“The Jewish Journey”
Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage
Cleveland, OH

This exhibition of black and white photographs based on Frederic Brenner’s book, DIASPORA: Homelands in Exile, portrayed the struggles of different communities around the world. The exhibit layout itself was a journey, inviting the visitor to meander through sections devoted to geographic areas.

“Remembering the Killing Fields”
Cambodian American History Museum
Chicago, IL

This exhibit, the first outside of Cambodia to explore the genocide of the Khmer Rouge era, was a true collaboration with community members and professional scholars. Large-scale graphics, first-person testimony, and artifacts tell the stories of local individuals who experienced the tragedy and still live with its aftermath.

“With a Wink and a Nod”
Richard M. Driehaus Museum
Chicago, IL

With a Wink and a Nod: Cartoonists of the Gilded Age showcased rare original drawings made for the American humor magazine Puck, a pioneering publication that helped shape the character of American humor. The exhibition included printed cartoons, original artwork, and a range of objects from the museum’s collection that characterized the Gilded Age. Our challenge was to hang hundreds of small artworks while not touching the vintage fabric wallcoverings, which we achieved by developing a system of floating panels that held labels as well as artwork.

“Belle Epoque”
Richard M. Driehaus Museum
Chicago, IL

Chapel Ark for the Eli M. Black Lifelong Learning Center
Park Avenue Synagogue
New York City, NY

Each piece of synagogue furniture in this chapel has been created both to harmonize with the space and to have symbolic significance. The ark features handles in the form of an abstract letter lamed, the first letter of the Hebrew words meaning “to learn” and “to teach.” The lamed is meant to evoke the concept that by opening the ark, one opens oneself to study and understanding. The gold leaf interior of the ark is designed to remind us of the gold cladding of the ark of the tabernacle, while the rich blue interior represents the sky and the sea.

A blue window in the ark door reveals the ner tamid, and is inspired by a midrash that describes the eternal light as made from the same sapphire that formed the window in Noah’s Ark. The ark, lectern, and torah reading table incorporate decorative grilles whose pattern is derived from motifs on the Park Avenue Synagogue’s main sanctuary built in 1927.

Beth Emet: The Free Synagogue
Evanston, IL

In this gut renovation of a synagogue’s public spaces, done in partnership with Kliment Halsband Architects, we were tasked with creating a meaningful sequence from building entry to sanctuary threshold.

The symbolism underlying the project all related to the mishkan, the desert tabernacle that was the first communal project of the Israelites. Using colors and materials from the biblical passages describing this structure, we created a series of spaces that encouraged gathering, while choreographing the path from the everyday to the sacred. An important threshold moment includes both a large mezuzah panel inscribed in the door jamb, as well as a tzedakah box integrated into the building itself.

“Art in the Mechanical Age”
Williams College Museum
Williamstown, MA
and International Tour

This travelling exhibit explored the power of early 20th century graphic design and its ability to persuade, sell, and propagandize. Sections including Design and Politics, Design and Social Change, and Design and Commerce were called out by brightly colored kiosks, recalling poster displays in urban environments.

“Undying Words: Lincoln 1858-1865”
Lincoln Presidential Library
Springfield, IL

This exhibition highlighted five seminal speeches of Lincoln as statesman, candidate, and president. Through objects, documents, and interactives, the exhibit revealed how Lincoln’s thinking about slavery evolved over these seven years. The exhibit commemorated the Tenth Anniversary of the new Lincoln Presidential Library.

“Prelude to a Nightmare”
Williams College Museum
Williamstown, MA
and International Tour

This exhibition investigated the cultural conditions in Vienna during the time of the rise of the Third Reich. A major theme of the exhibit explored how great evil can arise within a seemingly civilized society. Over-scaled crimson velvet banners dwarfed the visitor along the exhibit’s main axis, evoking simultaneouly the theatricality and dehumanizing qualities of Hitler’s cultural landscape.

“The Sound, the Soul, the Syncopation”
National Public Housing Museum
The Chicago Cultural Center
Expo 72 Gallery
Chicago, IL

This temporary exhibit explores the role of music as a community-building, life-affirming presence in public housing across the nation. The bright colors and ad-hoc aesthetic highlight the explosive creativity of music-makers and music-lovers. Several interactive stations invite visitors in this high-traffic gallery to reflect on the role of music in their lives.

Drawn From The Source: The Travel Sketches Of Louis I. Kahn
Williams College Museum of Art
Williamstown, MA

“Design is not making beauty, beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration, love.” Louis I Kahn

“Pedal to the Metal”
Stamford Museum + Nature Center
Stamford, CT, and National Tour

This travelling exhibit on the history of children’s pedal cars delighted adult collectors and kids alike. Along with playful displays with vintage cars “in motion,” a large gallery was devoted to interactives where families could test their skills at road safety, auto repair and car design. The show was designed to break down and close-pack for economical shipping to venues around the country.

“Cambodia Born Anew”
Northern IL University
DeKalb, IL

Architecture + Design worked with anthropologists at NIU and the Cambodian community in Chicago to create two exhibits showcasing the current resurgence of artistic, religious and social life in Cambodia following years of genocide and civil war.

Although the exhibits were on a tight budget, we were able to engage the multi-generational audience through the use of large photo murals and hands-on examples of the tools of daily life.

“Our Great Garden” The Jewish Museum
New York City, NY

Our Great Garden is the 4th in a series of 5 exhibitions we designed for the Bronfman Family Gallery at the Jewish Museum, NYC. Visitors explored the ways in which we are responsible for our communities and our surroundings—the “why” of environmentalism as opposed to the “how”. In this exhibit, which lasted for 3 years, Architecture + Design developed over 20 interactives appropriate for ages 3 through adult. With the museum team, we developed the conceptual structure for the exhibition which included an emphasis on the value of beautiful natural materials and social justice.

“Kidstuff” Berkshire Museum
Pittsfield, MA and National Tour

Based on a book of the same title, this exhibit celebrated toys beloved by grandparents, parents, and kids today. This exhibit was designed to travel, and featured knock-down display systems and graphic components that showcased the history and design innovation of toys such as Frisbees, Easy-Bake Ovens, Twister, and more.

“Who’s That Dinosaur?”
Berkshire Museum
Pittsfield, MA

This permanent display about the dinosaur model-maker Louis Paul Jonas is installed in former mineral cases. By re-purposing the case shells, we were able to create spotlit displays of the models along with the story told in graphics on a tight schedule and budget.

“One of a Kind Wonders”
Berkshire Museum
Pittsfield, MA

While strolling through collection storage on her interview tour, the Berkshire Museum’s new director became inspired to exhibit the flotsam and jetsam of the museum’s holdings. We created a tongue-in-cheek exhibit, highlighting the curious nature of many of the artifacts, ranging from a brick from the Great Wall to Victorian pictures made entirely of human hair. Pavilions fabricated of translucent corrugated fiberglass and vintage broadside style graphics pointed toward the origins of the American museum as close to the traveling circus sideshow.

Victorian Rowhouse
Evanston, IL

This renovation of a 1893 rowhouse took cues from the Orientalist strain of Victorian aesthetics. Without adding any square footage, the first floor was reconfigured to feature a kitchen that included handmade tiles and wood screens from Morocco, as well as a corner breakfast nook and ritual hand-washing station with copper sink. A rolling library ladder makes high cabinets accessible and maximizes storage space.

Sophisticated Modern
Chicago, IL

We left only the exterior walls and floor plates of this full-scale conversion from a rabbit-warren two-flat to a lofty single family home. The first floor spaces are defined not by walls, but by large-scale cabinetry, which not only provide storage and seating opportunities, but also hide ductwork, plumbing pipes and structure. At its center, the house opens to a sleek, modern atrium stair lit by a grand skylight. Photography by Scott McDonald & Hedrich Blessing.

Evanston Farmhouse
Evanston, IL

This turn-of-the-century house was brought new life by the addition of a large kitchen/potting room and master suite. Sunny tiles and the centerpiece of a La Cornefeu range make the cook’s kitchen a pleasurable work and social space. An unused front porch was revived as a three-season sunroom, with Cuban cement tiles in a lively vintage pattern. Photography by Darris Lee Harris.

Lakefront Residence
Glencoe, IL

This major addition and complete renovation of a David Adler house more than doubled the footprint of the original mansion and included a new kitchen wing, guest suites, and pool house. New construction echoes the elegant style and materials of the 1920s structure, but were given a modern twist.