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David Schalliol

Chicago, United States


David Schalliol is academically and artistically interested in issues of social stratification and meaning in the social and physical worlds. His writing and photographs have appeared in such publications as Social Science Research, Places, and The New York Times, as well as in numerous exhibitions, including the inaugural Belfast Photo Festival and the Museum of Contemporary Photography’s Midwest Photographers Project. Schalliol contributed to “Highrise: Out My Window,” an interactive documentary that won the 2011 International Digital Emmy for Non-Fiction. His book, Isolated Building Studies, was published by Utakatado in 2014. Currently an assistant professor of sociology at St. Olaf College, David worked with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust to increase journalistic coverage of underserved communities. He earned his PhD in the Department of Sociology at The University of Chicago.

CAB 2 Contribution

Project Overview

Untitled (Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation), 2003–17

David Schalliol has been documenting the changes in the built environment of Chicago’s South Side since 2002. His series on the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation records the literal dismantling of the modern legacy of Mies van der Rohe and his contemporaries through the gradual demolition of the mid-century social housing projects and the arrival of new mixed-income housing. Schalliol’s careful and personal portrayal of this process transcends traditional documentary photography to become its own genre; his imagery contrasts the disassembly of the buildings with the vitality of their inhabitants. The architecture becomes a theatrical backdrop for daily life, putting forth the idea that the buildings are receding into time as much as transforming to mark a new and uncertain beginning.

The City is the Site