BOSTON – Friday, March 17, 2017 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and the Boston Art Commission, in collaboration with Autodesk BUILD Space, the Boston Society of Architects/AIA, the BSA Foundation, over,under/pinkcomma gallery, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, have selected winners of the fifth Design Biennial Boston. Following an open call for entries which included submissions from each of New England’s states, the jury selected four firms whose work provides ample evidence of New England’s rich pool of design talent. The four selected design teams will be awarded $10,000 each to construct site-specific installations on the Rose Kennedy Greenway and will have access to advanced fabrication equipment provided by Autodesk BUILD Space.
The 2017 Biennial will feature: Jennifer Bonner of MALL; Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy of DESIGN EARTH; Daniel Ibañez of Margen-Lab; and Yasmin Vobis and Aaron Forrest of ULTRAMODERNE. Joyce Hsiang and Bimal Mendis of Plan B Architecture & Urbanism and Benjamin Uyeda of Lowest Common Design and Zero Energy Design received honorable mention awards this year for their submissions.
“Boston is known as a municipal arts leader in part because we value public art and recognize the vitality it brings to a community,” said Mayor Walsh. “I congratulate the four teams selected to take design innovation to a whole new level at the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and look forward to showcasing the incredible creativity that exists in our city.”
“This fifth installment of the Biennial brings a mix of new voices to the Greenway, reflecting diverse backgrounds, a merging of academic and professional interests, and a remarkably broad set of design aspirations,” explained Chris Grimley of over,under/pinkcomma, one of the exhibition’s curators. “The Biennial gives a platform for the region’s new design talent, but it also reminds us of how we should draw more often on such innovative thinkers to respond to the challenges we will face in the future. These are people who, if given more opportunities to build here, could dramatically enrich our urban spaces and buildings.”
The winning designers’ projects range from critical assessments to constructed interventions and demonstrate a breadth of influence beyond New England, including an exploration on ordinary roof typologies in Atlanta, exhibitions on the geographies of trash and oil in Ann Arbor and Venice, a digitally fabricated solar house in Madrid, and a pavilion defined by a long-span timber roof in Chicago.
“The Design Biennial Boston attracts the most forward-thinking designers in the region, and we are looking forward to providing the winning teams with access to our R&D workshop,” explained sponsor Rick Rundell of Autodesk BUILD Space. “By providing these emerging innovators with access to advanced technologies for large-scale digital fabrication, they get to realize their design vision, and we get to better understand the future of making for the building industry.”
“We are excited once again to host the Biennial on the Greenway,” said Lucas Cowan, curator of public art for the Greenway Conservancy. “The 2017 season on the Greenway will be home to a wonderful confluence of architecture and public art this summer, showcasing once again the diversity of innovative thinkers and makers throughout New England and abroad.”
“As someone who walks along the Greenway every day and enjoys its public art, I especially look forward to the Design Biennial,” commented juror Josiah Stevenson, 2017 president of the BSA. “Boston benefits from the creativity of these emerging designers and our interaction with them.”
The jury for the 2017 Biennial included Dina Deitsch (Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts), Shauna Gillies-Smith (Ground), Mark Lamster (Dallas Morning News), Keith Krumwiede (NJIT) along with sponsors Rick Rundell (Autodesk BUILD Space), Karin Goodfellow (Boston Art Commission), Josiah Stevenson (Boston Society of Architects), Michael Evans (Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics), and Lucas Cowan (Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy). The installations and related exhibition will be curated by Chris Grimley, Michael Kubo, and Mark Pasnik (over,under/pinkcomma gallery)
The public installations will be on view from late June through mid-September.
Jennifer Bonner of MALL
“What was especially appealing about this submission was that it combined a bold and original graphic and architectural aesthetic with a legible, provocative social agenda.”
-Mark Lamster
Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy of DESIGN EARTH
“The powerful drawings and installations of these exceptional designers make visible-in a profound and terrifyingly beautiful way-the deep and damaging impact that human activity has had on the earth and the consequences of that impact for our continued inhabitation of the planet.”
-Keith Krumweide
Daniel Ibañez of Margen-Lab
“We were struck by the exuberant manifestations of architectural ideas through form, materials, and fabrication strategies. Tangible and energetic, the prototype pavilions in this submission create architecture that beckons to be engaged with.”
-Shauna Gillies-Smith
Yasmin Vobis and Aaron Forrest of ULTRAMODERNE
“The team’s portfolio consistently exhibited a thoughtful and generous approach to design by which iconic forms, contemporary engineering, and direct materiality merged into elegant and witty spaces. Their work presents open and distinctive areas for gatherings and offers up a striking model of civic design for our times.”
-Dina Deitsch
The Biennial showcases the most significant leaders among early-career, independent design talent in New England through a juried exhibition and site-specific, outdoor installation. The mission is to create a more vibrant design community that will contribute to Boston’s evolving culture, shape, and economic health. The first iteration of the Biennial-known as the Young Architects Boston Group-was held at pinkcomma gallery in 2008. In 2010, the event was renamed the Design Biennial Boston, and in 2012/13 it moved to BSA Space. Past participants include twenty-three designers: Ground, Höweler + Yoon Architecture, LinOldhamOffice, Merge Architects, MOS, over,under, SSD, Studio Luz, Uni, Utile (2008); C&MP, Dan Hisel Architect, Schneider Studio, Touloukian Touloukian, William O’Brien Jr. (2010); GroundView, Kiel Moe, Matter Design, Project_ (2012/2013); Cristina Parreño Architecture, GLD, Landing Studio, Mass Design Group (2015).
The Autodesk BUILD Space (BUILD for Building, Innovation, Learning, and Design) is a facility for exploration and innovation around “making” in the building industry. It is a unique research and development workshop and innovation studio that provides a venue for all professionals in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry-from startups to industry leaders and academics-to experiment in a shared collaborative space.
BSA Space, Boston’s leading cultural institution for architecture and design, is home to the Boston Society of Architects and the BSA Foundation. All exhibitions at BSA Space are supported by the BSA Foundation. The Foundation’s vision is to build a better Boston by engaging communities, inspiring vision, and provoking positive change. Admission to BSA Space is free and open to the public.
BSA Space (290 Congress Street, Boston)-Boston’s leading cultural institution on architecture and design-is home to the Boston Society of Architects and BSA Space Foundation. Admission is free and open to the public.
The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in Boston serves as the City’s innovation incubator, building partnerships between internal agencies and outside entrepreneurs to pilot projects that address resident needs. The Mechanics strive to engage the community in developing projects that will reshape city government and improve the services it provides.
As a design firm and gallery, over,under/pinkcomma strives to make design more pivotal in the city’s political and cultural discourses-and across disciplines of architecture, landscape, graphics, urbanism, interiors, and industrial design.

Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

The Conservancy is the designated steward of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a mile-and-a-half of contemporary parks in the heart of Boston that connect people and the city with beauty and fun. The non-profit Conservancy maintains, programs, and improves the Greenway on behalf of the public and in partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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