The highly anticipated Exhibit Columbus 2021 Design Presentations invite the public to experience a virtual exhibition

Now in its third iteration, Exhibit Columbus develops another exciting program for participants to experience virtually in addition to a special public event. Curated by Architect Iker Gil and critic Mimi Zeiger the third iteration of Exhibit Columbus expands on a theme fit for the current social climate, New Middles.

Bustler, and our sister site Archinect, are the official media sponsors for Exhibit Columbus’ Design Presentations this year. Stay tuned for upcoming coverage of the event and participating designers.

“Over the course of 4 sessions on Saint Joseph and 26, Exhibit Columbus will host the 2021 Design Presentations” explains the Exhibit Columbus team. “The second public event within the 2020-21 cycle of Exhibit Columbus New Middles: From Main Street to Megalopolis, what’s the longer term of the center City? invites the general public to preview design concepts of thirteen site-specific, future-oriented public installations and knowledge the planning process first-hand.”


This year’s critically acclaimed two-year cycle of programming “activates the planning legacy of Columbus through a symposium and exhibition. At a flash when reflection, creativity, and innovation is most needed to see new ways of being, New Middles builds on Columbus’ legacy as a laboratory for design as a civic investment to explore the longer term of the middle of the us and therefore the regions connected by the Mississippi Watershed.”



Anne Surak, director of Exhibit Columbus, shares, “The Design Presentations draw on Columbus’ identity as a city for experimentation and collaboration by bringing the general public into the creative process. The event is that the first chance for the general public to preview the exhibition and an exciting opportunity to find out how our city continues to fuel new architecture, art, and style .”

Participants from around the globe will join in online and listen in during the live-streamed Zoom presentations. Participants will be able to hear from New Middles curators and learn about the Exhibition’s core themes and sites. Virtual participants will also be able to meet the 2020-2021 J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize recipients, University Design Research Fellows, and High School Design Team; and view design presentations for the thirteen installations.

The event is also an opportunity for the public to experience design as a process by seeing how special guests respond to the presentations and infuse the Exhibition with various perspectives. Special guests include community partners and experts in the field, such as David Brown, 2021 Artistic Director of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and Jia Gu recently appointed director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture.

2020-21 Exhibit Columbus Designers


Image © Hadley Fruits/Courtesy of Exhibit Columbus


Awarded to renowned national and international design practices who share J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller’s commitment to the transformative power of architecture, art, and design, five J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Recipients were commissioned to activate the public spaces of archetypal civic forms and create the most highly anticipated installations of the exhibition.

  • Dream the Combine (Minneapolis, MN) Mill Race Park (Michael Van Valkenburgh and Stanley Saitowitz, 1993)
  • Ecosistema Urbano (Miami, FL and Madrid, Spain)  Central Middle School (Perkins&Will, 2007)
  • Future Firm (Chicago, IL) Sears Building Plaza (Cesar Pelli of Gruen Associates, 1973)
  • Olalekan Jeyifous (Brooklyn, NY)  Cleo Rogers Memorial Library (I.M. Pei and Partners, 1971)
  • Sam Jacob Studio (London, England) Washington Street

Awarded to leading professors of architecture, landscape architecture, and design from North American universities, seven University Design Research Fellows were selected to tackle issues germane to middle cities including sustainability and material reuse, non-human habitat, watershed ecologies, emergent technologies, and migration.

Inspired by Miller’s vision that innovative education facilities lead to a forward-thinking educational system, the High School Design Team, comprised of students from the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC), was also commissioned to create an installation for the 2021 Exhibition at Central Middle School (Perkins&Will, 2007).

2020-21 Exhibit Columbus Curators


Featured on Archinect: Mimi Zeiger and Iker Gil selected for inaugural Exhibit Columbus Curatorial Fellowship. Image courtesy of Exhibit Columbus.


The 2020-21 cycle of Exhibit Columbus is that the first to feature outside curators. Iker Gil is that the founding father of MAS Studio and therefore the nonprofit MAS Context and executive of the SOM Foundation. Mimi Zeiger may be a Los Angeles-based critic, editor, and curator. Gil and Zeiger bring an in depth background in researching and creating exhibitions and publications around architecture and style through themes associated with alternative histories of modernism, cities, and therefore the urgencies of civic space, resiliency, and connectivity.

Event Details 

Design Presentations are organized conceptually around sites. Registration is free through Eventbrite at [link]. AIA continuing credits are available.

  • Friday, March 19, 10 am – 12 pm EST Ecologies: Columbus Pump House and Mill Race Park  Presentations by Dream the Combine, Derek Hoeferlin, and Joyce Hwang
  • Friday, March 19, 2 pm – 4 pm EST Geographies: Crump Theatre, First Christian Church, and Franklin Square Presentations by Jei Jeeyae Kim, Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller, and Natalie Yates
  • Friday, March 26, 10 am – 12 pm EST Visibilities: Washington Street, Sears Building Plaza, and The Commons  Presentations by Future Firm, Sam Jacob Studio, Lola Sheppard and Mason White, and Ang Li
  • Friday, March 26, 2 pm – 4 pm EST Possibilities: Central Middle School and Cleo Rogers Memorial Library  Presentations by Ecosistema Urbano, Olalekan Jeyifous, and the High School Design Team

To learn more about the 2021 Exhibit Columbus event and register click here.

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