Could Be Design is a Chicago and Urbana-based design practice directed by Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison. We design seriously playful spaces that build solidarity among multiple communities.

We work across scales, including designs for interiors, public art, installations, exhibits, furniture, costumes, and publications. We are practitioners and academics, equally invested in built pragmatics and speculative research. We are also citizens and artists, committed at once to public engagement and aesthetic ambitions. We create spaces that tell stories, build audiences, resonate with people’s emotions, and initiate enthusiasm. Fueled by a collaborative adventure with clients, consultants, colleagues, and civic leaders, we position design as an active character in the world, enacting a future full of wonder, humor, color, and delight. Follow our adventures on Instagram.

Could Be Design's work has been exhibited at Art Basel | Miami Art week, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Elmhurst Art Museum. Recent recognition includes Metropolis magazine's 'New Talent' feature and Architect magazine's 'Next Progressives' feature.

Could Be Design is founding artistic director of the Chicago Sukkah Design Festival. Could Be Design also publishes SOILED, a mashup of a literary journal and design magazine that narrates a playfully sincere and seriously humorous exploration of oft-overlooked dimensions of our built environment.

Principals


Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison

Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison are architectural designers, educators, curators, and writers. They offer over 20 years of experience working on residential, commercial, cultural, and civic projects. Joseph is an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Zack has taught at the University of Kentucky, and he was a masterclass teaching fellow at Lawrence Technological University. Their writing has been published widely in journals including Log, MAS Context, Pidgin, and Plat. Both partners hold Master of Architecture degrees from Rice University. Photo by Steven Koch.

Current Team Members: Efrain Araujo

Former Team Members: Lily Hernandez

Design Collaborators – Past and Present:
Nekita Thomas, Nilay Mistry, Andrea Jablonski, Via Chicago, Cosmo Design Factory, Lizi Breit, Myles Emmons, Chelsea Ross, Darrell McKinney, Katanya Raby, Ladi Famodu, Latent Design, Matthew Harlan, Maya Bird-Murphy, and Norman Teague.

Selected Press & Awards

10.27.2022 — WBEZ: "What’s That Building? Sukkah Design Festival in North Lawndale"
9.30.2022 — Architect's Newspaper: "Chicago’s first-ever sukkah design festival seeks to do social good"
9.29.2022 — Architect: "Exhibit Columbus Names the Latest Miller Prize Recipients and University Design Research Fellows"
6.23.2022 — Metropolis: "Could Be Design Says Friendly Design Makes Us Kinder Humans"
3.07.2022 — Newcity: Could Be Design named #15 in "Design 50 2022: The Fifty People Who Shape Chicago"
2.09.2022 — Bloomberg CityLab: "Chicago’s Bungalows Are Where the City Comes Together"
2.03.2022 — Architecture with Stewart: "That Time the Sears Tower Had a Face"
10.15.2021 — AIA Chicago 2021 Design Excellence Awards: Roberta Feldman Architecture for Social Justice Award honorable mention
6.04.2021 — Chicago Tribune: "Op-ed: The Thompson Center: a retrospective from the future"
4.21.2021 — Ricker Report: Interview with Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison
9.22.2020 — "IU Northwest debuts pop-up art galleries in local communities"
9.18.2020 — Times of Northwest Indiana: "IUN's Mobile Arts + Action Community Lab to start popping up across Region"
7.03.2020 — Newcity: "Design Top 5: April 2020"
4.02.2020 — AN Interior: "Messing w/ Mies: installation riffs on Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House"
3.13.2020 — Newcity: "A Party Along the Parti: Could Be Design Transforms the McCormick House"
3.04.2020 — Architect magazine: "Next Progressives"
2.14.2020 — WDCB The Arts Section: "Elmhurst Art Museum Welcomes Could Be Design"
1.29.2020 — WGN News: "Around Town checks out the Elmhurst Art Museum"
10.09.2019 — Block Club Chicago: "Maxwell Street Market Celebration Marks Both Jewish New Year and the Impending Sukkot"
5.06.2019 — Chicago Architecture Club: "2018 Chicago Prize Winners"
4.21.2019 — Disruptive Design: "ADU: Alternative Domestic Utility" (with Ladipo Famodu, Katanya Raby, and Norman Teague)
3.22.2019 — Suckerpunch Daily: "Twisted Hippo"
11.17.2017 — Pulp #29: "Chicago: Interview with Joseph Altshuler"
8.23.2017 — Architect's Newspaper: "Architectural 'sideshow' to run alongside the Chicago Architecture Biennial"

Things We Design

Could Be Design is a design practice, and we partner with licensed professionals when licensing services are required.

  • interiors
  • public spaces
  • signage
  • sets and scenography
  • furniture
  • exhibits
  • installations
  • environmental graphics
  • publications
  • happenings

Send us a message to learn more about working with us!