Associate curator Iker Gil, and curators Mimi Zeiger, Niall Atkinson, and Ann Lui
Nancy Wong Associate curator Iker Gil, and curators Mimi Zeiger, Niall Atkinson, and Ann Lui

Last year, the curators of the U.S. Pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture BiennaleNiall Atkinson, an associate professor of architectural history at the University of Chicago; Ann Lui, AIA, an assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and co-founder of Chicago-based Future Firm; Mimi Zeiger, a Los Angeles–based editor, critic, curator, and an ARCHITECT contributor; and associate curator Iker Gil, an architect, urban designer, and director of Chicago-based architecture and urban design firm MAS Studiocommissioned seven teams to design seven installations for the "Dimensions of Citizenship" exhibition, to be open on May 26. Announced yesterday, the installations, focusing on different spatial scales, will question issues such as "belonging, sovereignty, and ecology," said the curators in a press release. "Whether we think about it or not, we all occupy different, overlapping categories of space at the same time, from the level of the neighborhood, to the nation, to the planet as a whole."

Meet the seven projects:

Shani Crowe

Thrival Geographies (In My Mind I See a Line)
With an emphasis on slavery and racial injustice, this project by architect and visual artist Amanda Williams, SAIC associate professor of art education Andres Hernandez, and artist Shani Crowe will explore the influences of race on shaping shelter, identity, and public space among African-American communities. The project is searching for a type of architecture in which everyone can "thrive and participate in the democratic ideal," according to the same press release.

Studio Gang

Stone Stories
Led by Jeanne Gang, FAIA, a 2011 MacArthur Fellow and the founder of Chicago-, San Francisco–, and New York–based firm Studio Gang, this project explores the ways in which design helps to create community empowerment. "Stone Stories" is based on the firm's ongoing urban design project along the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tenn. For the exhibition, Studio Gang will ship hundreds of cobblestones from Cobblestone Landing, a Memphis historical landmark, to Venice, Italy, to create a platform for sharing Memphis residents' stories, "offering visitors a visceral and material interaction with a distant public space and the citizens who are actively building its shared urban future," according to the same press release. The project was partly inspired by recent removal of two Confederate statues in Memphis.

Andrea Barbanti/Courtesy SCAPE

Ecological Citizens
Led by Kate Orff, a 2017 MacArthur Fellow and the founder of New York–based landscape architecture and urban design studio Scape, this project will use the Venetian Lagoon as a case study to demonstrate the positive effects of landscape architecture on combating climate change. In a collaboration with the University of Bologna and the Italian Institute of Marine Sciences, Scape will propose solutions for safeguarding the La Certosa island in northern Italy.

Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman

MEXUS: A Geography of Interdependence
This project by San Diego–based architectural practice Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman focuses on eight transnational watershed systems shared between Mexico and the United States. The exhibition aims to encourage rethinking of the notion of citizenship as something beyond the borders of nations and to promote inclusion, coexistence, and asset sharing, between divided communities.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Black Marble. 2016

In Plain Sight
This project by New York City–based Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Laura Kurgan, an associate professor of architecture at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Robert Pietrusko, an assistant professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design; and the Columbia University Center for Spatial Research utilizes data gathered by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite to visualize where people live. "This information maps out a political geography of belonging and exclusion," according to a press release.

Keller Easterling with MANY

This project from New Haven, Conn.–based architect Keller Easterling focuses on the notions of migration and citizenship. "[The project] envisions a global form of matchmaking between the sidelined talents of migrating populations and the multitude of opportunities around the world," according to the press release. "Favoring cosmopolitan mobility over national identity, MANY looks to short-term visas as a tool to foster an exchange of needs."

Design Earth

Cosmorama—Mining the Sky, Planetary Ark, and Pacific Cemetery
This project by Ann Arbor, Mich.– and Cambridge, Mass.–based Design Earth features three "geo-stories" delving into space exploration in the time of "instability" and "extinction" on Earth, according to a release.

"The deeply thoughtful and remarkably inventive teams that have created the projects in 'Dimensions of Citizenship' have made lasting contributions toward understanding the potential meanings of citizenship at these different scales, each of which can involve varying legal, political, economic, and social issues," said the curators in the same press release. "In mapping out these territories, the installations make it clear that the stakes of citizenship will be exceedingly high in the years to come."

Commissioned by the SAIC and the University of Chicago, "Dimensions of Citizenship" runs from May 26 through Nov. 25 at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy.