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Four design teams picked to create installations on Greenway this summer

The winners of the fifth Design Biennial Boston will each be awarded $10,000 to construct site-specific installations on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announces four winners of the fifth Design Biennial Boston, a nationally recognized program that provides a public platform for New England’s early-career, independent professional design talent.

Conceived and curated by over,under/pinkcomma gallery, the event is sponsored by 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 (BSA), the BSA Foundation, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy.

Following an open call for entries which included submissions from each of New England’s states—Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut—the jury selected four firms whose work provides ample evidence of the region’s vibrant pool of designers. The four selected 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 Design Biennial Boston will feature:

Jennifer Bonner of MALL

Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy of DESIGN EARTH

Daniel Ibañez of Margen-Lab

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 receive honorable mention awards this year for their submissions.

The public installations will be on view on the Rose Kennedy Greenway from late June through mid-September.

“Boston is known as a municipal arts leader in part because we value public art and recognize the vitality it brings to a community,” says Mayor Walsh. “I congratulate the four teams selected for Design Biennial Boston 2017 who will each 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 country.”

"This fifth installment of the Design Biennial Boston 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,” explains Chris Grimley of over,under/pinkcomma gallery, one of the exhibition's curators. “The Design Biennial Boston offers a platform for New England’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 all communities will face in the future.”

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, and we are looking forward to providing the winning teams with access to our R&D workshop," explains sponsor Rick Rundell of Autodesk BUILD Space. “By connecting these emerging innovators 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 Design Biennial Boston on The Greenway,” says 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 a diversity of innovative thinkers and makers.”  

“As someone who walks along the Greenway every day and enjoys its public art, I especially look forward to the Design Biennial Boston,” comments juror Josiah Stevenson, 2017 president of the BSA. “As a nation we benefit from the creativity of these emerging designers and our interaction with them.”

The jury for the 2017 Design Biennial Boston 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).

Note: Headshots of winners are available upon request. Contact Chris Grimley, curator, at


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


Design Biennial Boston 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, while being a model for other communities in the United States.

The first iteration of Design Biennial Boston—known at that time as the Young Architects Boston Group—was held at pinkcomma gallery in 2008. Renamed Design Biennial Boston in 2010, the event moved to BSA Space (home to the Boston Society of Architects/AIA) in 2012/13 and the Rose Kennedy Greenway in 2015. 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).


Autodesk BUILD Space

The Autodesk BUILD Space (BUILD for Building, Innovation, Learning, and Design) is a facility for exploration and innovation around design, materials, fabrication, and construction 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.

Boston Art Commission

The Boston Art Commission, first assembled in 1890, advocates for creative place-making through the integration of public art into Boston’s civic spaces. From siting and funding temporary art on City property to reviewing and approving proposals for permanent public art, the Art Commission actively fosters community engagement in Boston’s cultural landscape. With a board of nine dedicated, Boston-based arts professionals appointed by the Mayor, the Art Commission also has custody of all permanent artworks sited on public property.

BSA 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.

Boston Society of Architects/AIA

The Boston Society of Architects/AIA (BSA) is committed to professional development for its members, advocacy on behalf of great design and, together with its sister organization, the BSA Foundation, sharing an appreciation for the built environment with the public at large. Established in 1867, the BSA today consists of nearly 4,000 members and produces a diverse array of programs and publications, including ArchitectureBoston Expo and ArchitectureBoston magazine. A chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the BSA is a nonprofit, professional-service organization.

BSA Foundation

The goal of the BSA Foundation is to enhance public understanding of the built environment and the processes that shape it. With understanding, our communities will be better equipped to enrich and preserve our physical and natural surroundings. The Foundation's vision is to build a better Boston by engaging communities, inspiring vision, and provoking positive change.

Mayors Office of New Urban Mechanics

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.

over,under/pinkcomma gallery,

As a design firm and gallery, over,under/pinkcomma strives to make design more pivotal in political and cultural discourses—and across disciplines of architecture, landscape, graphics, urbanism, interiors, and industrial design.

Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

The Rose Kennedy Greenway, a roof garden atop a highway tunnel, is a contemporary public park in the heart of Boston. The non-profit Greenway Conservancy maintains, programs, finances, and improves the 1.5-mile Greenway on behalf of the public. The Greenway welcomed a record 1.379 million visitors in 2016 for The Greenway Carousel, events, Wi-Fi, and Mobile Eats food trucks, plus millions of visitors who enjoyed the fountains, plazas, and gardens. The Conservancy has won numerous awards, including for its organic landscape care and park programming.

Additional support for Design Biennial Boston is provided by Millennium Partners, Boston.

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