Chicago Sukkah Design Festival 2nd edition opens

The Chicago Sukkah Design Festival's second edition launched October 1 and will remain open to the public through October 21. The Chicago Sukkah Design Festival pairs community organizations in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood with diverse architectural designers to design and construct sukkahs, Sukkahs are the temporary outdoor pavilions that are built during Sukkot, an autumnal Jewish holiday that celebrates the harvest and commemorates liberation. The Chicago Sukkah Design Festival celebrates how these usually temporary structures can be repurposed to build community in new contexts. It also celebrates the cultural heritage of North Lawndale and builds solidarity among the Jewish community that formerly lived there, the predominantly Black community that resides there today, and the broader Chicago community. During the Festival, the landscape of 6 unique sukkah structures is activated with public programming. After the Festival, each sukkah is relocated and permanently re-installed at the facilities of the community organizations that co-designed them, as vibrant new program spaces; for example, as a garden pergola, rooftop playscape, heritage museum, meditation pavilion, community memorial, and tool library. The Chicago Sukkah Design Festival is also a contribution to the Chicago Architecture Biennial's 5th edition, "This is a Rehearsal." Read more about the Chicago Sukkah Design Festival via The Architects' Newspaper, Architectural Record, Wallpaper* magazine, and CBS News.

The Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers

We are thrilled to share that The Architectural League of New York announced Could Be Design as one of six winners of the 2023 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers. As part of the award, Could Be Design will give a virtual public lecture on Thursday, June 29 with Katie McDonald and Kyle Schumann of After Architecture. A digital exhibition is also forthcoming as part of the award. You can read our Leage Prize firm profile here.

Exhibit Columbus Fellowship

Joseph and Zack selected as University Design Research Fellows for the 2022-23 cycle of Exhibit Columbus “Public by Design.” Read more in The Architect’s Newspaper and Archinect.

Chicago Sukkah Design Festival, inaugural edition

We are thrilled to launch the first annual Chicago Sukkah Design Festival, a public art and architecture festival that we’ve been working to launch for many months, alongside a constellation of amazing partners, collaborators, and neighbors in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. The Chicago Sukkah Design Festival pairs North Lawndale community organizations with diverse architectural designers to design and build sukkahs (small huts constructed outdoors for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot) that amplify civic life. Join us October 9–16 at the Lawndale Pop-Up Spot for a vibrant schedule of public programming, collective futuring, and community celebration! Read and listen to more about the Festival on WBEZ's 'What's That Building?' segment.

Newcity Design 50 feature

Could Be Design is named #15 in Newcity magazine's "Design 50 2022: The Fifty People Who Shape Chicago." "We’re hopeful that Chicago continues to leverage the robust community of independent practitioners and small design studios that are doing the work to support our neighborhoods, cultural institutions, activists and changemakers."

'Architecture with Stewart' Video Feature

Joseph Altshuler is featured in an episode of Architecture with Stewart entitled "That Time the Sears Tower Had a Face". In the video, Joseph discusses how buildings are more alive and lively that we too often assume, and how lively architecture can help expand our human capacity for radical empathy. Architecture with Stewart is weekly YouTube video series that explores "architecture’s deep and enduring stories in all their bewildering glory." Thank you, Stewart Hicks!

BOOK RELEASE: Creatures Are Stirring

Creatures Are Stirring: A Guide to Architectural Companionship is now available at your favorite bookseller! This new book co-written by Could Be's Joseph Altshuler and Julia Sedlock explores how the buildings you inhabit everyday might become more intimate companions in your life and expand avenues to build empathy with your fellow humans and nonhumans. Published by Applied Research & Design publishing, an imprint of ORO Editions.

AIA Chicago Design Excellence Award

Our design for the Mobile Art + Action Community Lab, affectionately known as "Billboard Buddies" wins the inaugural Roberta Feldman Architecture for Social Justice Award honorable mention in the AIA Chicago's 2021 Design Excellence Awards.

This project is a collaboration with Indiana University Northwest's School of the Arts.

MAS Context feature

Could Be Design participates in MAS Context's 2021 Fall Talks at Principal Barbers in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood, where they speak about their contribution "Architecture Performing Live," an essay included in MAS Context Issue 33: Vigilantism, guest edited by Germane Barnes and Shawhin Roudbari. This event is a partner program of the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Thank you to Germane, Shawhin, and Iker Gil!

Animate Architecture virtual screening

Animate Architecture is a video series by Could Be Design that brings together architecture, puppet theater, and performance art. Episode 1: "The Stumbling Stairs" debuts virtually at the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Each of the 3 episodes features a puppet performance or animation that propels familiar architectural “characters” into lively locomotion. Episode 1 chronicles the surprising behavior of Stairs (or “Not Stairs”) that struggle to stand up straight. The video series includes downloadable print-out materials for at-home model-making participation.

This project is a collaboration with Lizi Breit and Myles Emmons.

Chicago Tribune op-ed feature

The Chicago Tribune publishes Joseph Altshuler's op-ed "The Thompson Center: a retrospective from the future." This story "disguised" as architectural criticism written in the future, from the vantage point of 2035, reflecting on the latent civic and architectural value of the James R. Thompson Center, one of the most important public interiors in the nation and an emblematic example of postmodern architecture that is worthy of preservation. The state of Illinois officially put the Thompson Center on the market on May 3, 2021, and the building is currently threatened with probable demolition by its new buyer. This surprisingly plausible story communicates what a viable and innovative adaptive reuse scenario for the building could look like.

Dinner With Designers

Dinner With Designers hosts Could Be Design for a virtual dinner conversation on Thursday, October 22. Dinner With Designers is an event series that shares the stories of influential designers from around the world through an intimate dinner conversation. Founded in 2017 in New York, these dinners offer a unique platform for the design community and a conversation space to share unparalleled insight and inspiration. Dinner guests have the opportunity to sit down with designers in their home and hear their story first hand, connecting with each other over a memorable and meaningful experience as they learn about their unique creative journey. The series aims to generate critical conversation, support mentoring relationships, and create community among designers with diverse backgrounds.

For this event, Could Be designed a virtual dining room: each guest receives a physical dinnerware cut-and-fold 'prop' and a custom digital background to immerse the group into a shared visual space.

Invest South/West Prequalification

Could Be Design, alongside our partners Via Chicago Architects + Diseñadores and Chicago Mobile Makers, has been selected as a pre-qualified team for Chicago's INVEST South/West community improvement initiative.

This $750 million reinvestment in the urban fabric of Chicago’s South and West Side communities will focus on small to mid-scale projects along commercial corridors. The open-call RFQ prompted nearly 200 responses from across Chicago, and the list was narrowed down to 32 selected teams by an esteemed jury.

"Next Progressives" feature in Architect Magazine

Could Be Design is featured in Architect Magazine's "Next Progressives," an office profile series that showcases emerging practices. Read all about it!

Elmhurst Art Museum installation opening

Join us for the opening of McCormick AfterParti, an immersive and participatory installation in Mies van der Rohe’s historic McCormick House (one of only three single-family homes that Mies designed in the United States) on the Elmhurst Art Museum campus. McCormick AfterParti invites new and unexpected interactions that reference the original 1952 floor plan. Curtains reenact the original wall partitions that were removed when the home was renovated to become part of the museum, and playful, furniture-like interventions invite you to participate in the original domestic functions of each room. For example, lounge on the playful pull-out seating in the living room, challenge your companions to a game on the chess table in the parlor, taste a treat from the shapely countertop in kitchen, or put on a show at the puppet theater in the children’s playroom!

The installation runs January 25–April 12. Join us for an Artist Talk on Saturday, Feburary 1st at 1:30pm.

Miami Art Week exhibit opening

'Sink Your Teeth Into Dessert' is exhibited at Bakehouse Art Complex as part of Dawntown Miami's Succulent: Recipes of Architectural Consumption exhibition at Miami Art Week | Art Basel 2019. "This exhibition is an exploration of the process through which we digest the built environment." The show runs through January 31, 2020.

Bronzeville Bustle 5K Run

Could Be Design and Chicago Mobile Makers hosted the Bronzeville Bustle 5K Run and Walk, an architecture tour and community race, celebrating design and fitness on Chicago’s southside. The curated route orients runners and rallying spectators with architectural landmarks in the Washington Park and Bronzeville neighborhoods including public schools, community centers, churches, businesses, and housing. The race kicked off at KLEO Community Family Life Center in Washington Park and finished at Anthony Overton Elementary School in Bronzeville, meandering its way along architectural delights of the neighborhood. Congratulations to all the runners, and thank you to all our partners, including Chicago Architecture Biennial, Borderless Studio, Open House Chicago, Black Chicago Runners, Men Run Deez Streets, and Boombox Bronzeville.

More info.

Pomegranate Sukkah in Open House Chicago 2019

Our Pomegranate Sukkah for Chicago's Emanuel Congregation opens ot the public as part of the Chicago Architecture Foundation's Open House Chicago 2019.

'REJECTED' Exhibition

Our unrealized bid for the 2019 Ragdale Ring, Ragdale Sings, is featured in REJECTED: Architectural Drawings and Their Stories, an exhibition at The Banvard Gallery and presented by the Knowlton School at The Ohio State University. The exhibition is curated by Team B (David Corns, Anna Kerr, Quinn Kummer, and John Stoughton). "REJECTED aims to bring together a collection of rare architectural drawings in a variety of representation techniques that share a collective fate: the bitter taste of rejection." The show runs August 23–October 4, 2019.

'Uncanny Valley' Exhibition

Our ongoing Midwestern residential architectural work and design research, Deviant Dwellings, is featured in The Uncanny Valley, an exhibition at Wave Pool Gallery in Cincinnati, curated by the 2019 Curator-in-Residence David Corns. "This compilation of artists, fabricators, musicians, designers and architects provides examples of how the experience of the uncanny valley can be appropriated from AI and robotics into the language of the ordinary and everyday." Our contribution showcases a trio of Midwestern residential architecture, exploring how the distinctive character of familiar housing categories might be amplified even as the typologies evolve and mutate. The show runs June 8–July 27, 2019.

Chicago Prize Honorable Mention

Our project Crossing the (Finish) Lines(s) is an honorable mention in the 2018 Chicago Prize competition, organized by the Chicago Architecture Club. Our project proposes a series of new routes for the Chicago Marathon. With a new race line drawn every year and a series of support kiosks to provide amenities for both racers and the event’s 1.7 million spectators, the Chicago Marathon becomes a vehicle to dissect, activate, and celebrate the significant plurality of geography and peoplehood that make up Chicago.

Could Be Hippo-perbole

Could Be Hippo-perbole, a small exhibition of our recent work will open at Twisted Hippo Taproom & Eatery on Thursday, April 18, 7:00–10:00pm. Limited edition art prints will be for sale and delicious craft beer will be available. The show will run through May 31, 2019.

Twisted Hippo Grand Opening

Twisted Hippo Taproom and Eatery officially opened their doors January 10, 2019 in Chicago's Albany Park Neighborhood! Embracing bold supergraphics, color, and texture, our design for the interior cultivates an character as unique as Twisted Hippo. "Embrace Your Strange" while you enjoy their delicious libations and eats.

Pivotal Architecture Published

Could Be Design's Pivotal Architecture, our proposal for a speculative series of seesaws, is published in See/Saw, the student-run publication of the University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Many thanks to the editors for inviting us to contribute!

University of Cincinnati Lecture and Workshop

Could Be Design is invited to lecture and lead a workshop at the University of Cincinnati DAAP, as part of the School of Architecture and Interior Design's "Business Casual" lecture series featuring emerging creative practices. The workshop explores how to animate architectural ideas while augmenting audience participation. It aims to develop new forms of performative representation that amplify architectural character and articulate specific tones of voice by crafting of scenes, scenario, and scenography.

Installation at Milwaukee Art Museum

Could Be Design's 'Seeing Double: The Portmanteau Portmanteau' installation will be exhibited as part of the Portmanteax Exhibition at Milwaukee Art Museum, in tandem with the ACSA 2018 Fall Conference, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, School of Architecture & Urban Planning.

The exhibition runs October 11–November 4th at Milwaukee Art Museum's Schroeder Galleria, a public space that is open during regular museum hours.

Creative Grounds 8x3

Could Be Design contributes 'Carpet Creatures,' an installation to activate classroom 303 in Anthony Overton Elementary, a closed public school in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood as part of the Creative Grounds 8x3: Art and Architecture project. Creative Grounds is an initiative led by Borderless Studio to explore the community and urban role of school grounds after the largest public schools closure in Chicago's history.

“Audience(s)” Symposium @ University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Could Be Design is one of six invited practices to participate in 100% Contemporary: “Audience(s)”, a symposium and workshop at the School of Architecture & Urban Planning (SARUP) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 100% Contemporary: “Audience(s)” is organized by Assistant Professors Whitney Moon and Kyle Reynolds.

The Unsolicited Sideshow

The Unsolicited Sideshow at the Chicago Architecture Biennial opens at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel! The Unsolicited Sideshow is a pop-up exhibition and event series that explores how the contemporary condition of ‘otherness’ informs architectural expression. Curated in collaboration with Chelsea Ross and Matt Harlan, Could Be Design led the exhibition design and fabrication.

Make an Anthropo-Scene opening

Make an Anthropo-Scene a diorama-esque installation developed in collaboration with Cosmo Design Factory, opens at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's AIADO Gallery. Thank you Jonathan D. Solomon!

Teaching Fellows

Joseph and Zack are selected as summer teaching fellows at Lawrence Tech University's 2017 Critical Practice Studio.

"On Fairy Tales" @ UIC

Joseph and Zack speak at Wednesday Episodes "On Fairy Tales" at UIC School of Architecture, moderated by Stewart Hicks.

'Call for Caricatures'

Joseph and Julia Sedlock's short essay 'A Call for Caricatures' is published in Log 39: The Possibility of Architecture in the Age of Trump.

"StopThePop" in Architect's Newspaper

Zack and Joseph's reporting on the #StopThePop Chicago bungalow preservation campaign (and an accompanying collage) appears in The Architect's Newspaper.

Drawing Futures Conference

Joseph and Julia Sedlock present "Creatures Afield: Drawing the Dioramatic Caricature" at the Drawing Futures conference, hosted at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London.

Fresh Meat Feature

UIC's Fresh Meat releases Issue VIII featuring Joseph and Zack's collage "Second City Outtakes: A Ditty on the City".