What's in a Pavilion?

Please join ICI for our first-ever Chicago public program! “What’s in a Pavilion?” is a panel discussion featuring four curators of U.S. pavilions at the Venice Biennale of Architecture: Tizziana Baldenebro (Executive Director of SPACES, Cleveland), Lauren Leving (Curator at MoCA Cleveland), Ann Lui (Co-founder of Future Firm, Chicago, and Assistant Professor of Practice, University of Michigan), and Iker Gil (Founder and Director of MAS Studio, Chicago). Moderated by Rachel Kaplan (Director of the Chicago Architecture Biennial), the conversation presents an expansive narrative around architecture, attaching conceptual ideas such as citizenship, scale, and labor systems to literal structures. In this year’s Biennale, Baldenebro and Leving will present “Everlasting Plastics,” an exhibition that looks at the impact of plastic “both literally and as a cultural metaphor,” while Gil and Lui were both on the curatorial team for the 2018 pavilion “Dimensions of Citizenship.”

The conversation also takes an active interest in examining what makes the Midwest such a rich seedbed for innovative contemporary architectural discourse, exerting a large influence both nationally and globally. Undergirding this interest is ICI’s larger five-year, cross-programming initiative focused on the Mississippi River Basin. One of the initiative’s aims is to collectively reimagine U.S. identity through the Mississippi River, not as a metaphor but as a complex and rich ecosystem: The lands it connects, the histories it weaves together, and the cultural flows it has enabled. 


Tizziana Baldenebro is the executive director at SPACES in Cleveland, Ohio.

Lauren Leving is Curator at MoCA Cleveland, Cleveland, OH.

Ann Lui (AIA) is a founding principal of Chicago-based Future Firm and Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Michigan.

Iker Gil is the founder and director of MAS Studio and the executive director of the SOM Foundation.

Rachel Kaplan is Director of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Image courtesy of ICI.