12.31/ OMI International Arts Center — 5X5: Participatory Provocations / Opens 1.14.17




OPENS AT ART OMI JANUARY 14, 2017, 2 to 4 PM

25 architectural models by 25 young American architects
5 contemporary issues, each addressed by 5 firms

unnamed-11Domain, Brillhart Architecture, photo credit © Stefani Franchini

5×5: Participatory Provocations, an exhibition featuring models by 25 young American architects, will open at Art Omi Jan 14, 2017, with a public reception in the Benenson Visitors Center from 2 PM-4 PM. The exhibition invites an architectural response to a series of significant issues we face today, from a growing income gap, immigration, and globalization, to technology’s impact on our lives, surveillance, and power. 

“What, exactly, does architecture have to say about this wild and surreal election season? The default answer for just about any year is usually: Not much, “wrote Zach Mortice in Architect Magazine. “And that’s a problem Julia van den Hout and her fellow curators Kyle May and Kevin Erickson aimed to fix with 5×5. The exhibit invited 25 young design firms to tackle one of five prompts each; some fictional, some real, and all deeply engaged with the economic and cultural forces that wander into the voting booth with each citizen’s decision to pull the lever.”

This exhibit argues for participatory criticism. The architects engage in a series of significant popular issues, taking clear stances and producing a physical expression or provocation as a means of communicating with a larger public. Each team responds to one of five prompts – contemplating the future of drone deliveries, the consequence of the construction of extreme luxury high rises as financial investments, luxury tourism on the moon, the fictional development of NSA community branches, and the potential construction of an anti-immigration wall on the border between the United States and Mexico.

The avant-garde in architecture has for decades captured its imaginations via two-dimensional representations, but this exhibit asks architects to be just as provocative in three dimensions. Each team produced a single architectural model and short text based on one of the prompts. The selected topics intend to provoke, but are grounded in issues we face today. Architecture has a seat at each discussion.

The exhibition is curated by Julia van den Hout, founder of Original Copy and editor of CLOG; Kyle May, Principal of Kyle May, Architect and Editor-in-Chief of CLOG; and Kevin Erickson, Principal of KNE studio and Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois.




Brillhart Architecture


KNE studio

Norden Design



Club Club

P.R.O. – Peterson Rich Office



Anthony Titus Studio

GELPI Projects


Platform for Architecture + Research


Abruzzo Bodziak Architects

Carl Lostritto

David Emmons

Michael Abrahamson

PATH + Price Studio


Future Expansion

Kyle May, Architect

Sean Gaffney | Christina Nguyen

Studio Cadena




Droneports (Various locations, United States)

The future of product delivery is not a truck. Whether or not it’s a drone is up in the air. But as Amazon fights for 200 feet of airspace for its commercial drones, we begin to ask how the facilities housing these drones and their goods will actually be manifested. Will there be communication towers of docking drones? A grid of docking stations all over the U.S. on top of warehouses with conveyer belts? How does Amazon most efficiently get me my tube of toothpaste in the morning when I realize I’m out and am late for work? 

Inve$tment Tower$ (Any Cosmopolitan City)

There is a trend for ultra-extreme-luxury units to be purchased merely as investments, not as places of living. There is a concern for the life of the city if buildings are being built for people that don’t live in them. Bubbles of money pushing lower-income people to the periphery. But what about the design of these towers? If a residential tower is not designed for occupants, only as an investment, what would it be? What would make someone invest in a tower that is not meant to be lived in?

Lunar Resort (Dark Side of the Moon)

We’ve seen countless proposals for colonies on the moon. But let’s be honest, who wants to live on the moon? Virgin Galactic is proving that the future of space travel isn’t utopian research or the search for undiscovered countries, it’s luxury tourism. So what is the architectural manifestation of luxury on the moon? Where do visitors stay when they go on their lunar honeymoon?

NSA Community Branch (Right around the corner on Main St. USA)

The National Security Administration’s headquarters in Fort Meade is a fairly, to quite fairly, intimidating building. In an effort to “reach out” to the American people, the NSA wants to build local community branch facilities in every town in the United States. How does the NSA appeal to communities around the country while enhancing their monitoring efforts?

Trump Wall (Mexico-United States border)

In the summer of 2015, then-presidential hopeful, now President Elect, Donald Trump made a speech about immigration and border control. He exclaimed to the surprise of many, “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” No specifics were released on this wall and no architect (to our knowledge) has been commissioned. The wall would be 1,954 miles long or about twenty times the length of the Berlin Wall but only 1/7th the size of the Great Wall of China. So, what would a Mexico-funded, U.S. owned, Trump Wall be?



JULIA VAN DEN HOUT is founder of Original Copy, and co-founder and Editor of CLOG. As Original Copy, she is currently producing TEN Arquitectos’s new monograph, as well as a book on expos and world’s fairs centered around the Milan Expo 2015. She co-curated “New Views: The Rendered in Image in Architecture” at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013/2014. Prior to founding Original Copy, Julia was the Director of Press and Marketing at Steven Holl Architects for six years, where she was responsible for developing and coordinating the PR strategy for over 30 projects and competitions, organizing the opening and publication of 12 completed projects, and the coordination of multiple traveling exhibitions. She has a Master’s Degree in Design Criticism from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. 

KEVIN ERICKSON is a designer in New York City (KNE studio), and an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois. He is on the Program Leadership Council at the Van Alen Institute, was a Visiting Professor at the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow, and an Artist-in-Residence at the Geoffrey Bawa Lunuganga Trust in Sri Lanka.

KYLE MAY is a practicing architect in New York City (Kyle May, Architect), and co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of CLOG, a quarterly architecture journal that has published 14 issues to date. With Original Copy, he is currently editing the first monographs of REX and Luxigon, and writing a book on Wallace K. Harrison with Julia van den Hout. He co-curated “New Views” at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013/2014 and is on the Advisory Panel of Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Kyle teaches at RISD, and has been a visiting critic at a range of institutions, including Yale University, MIT, Harvard, Princeton University, Columbia University, and Kent State University, and he has lectured widely.



Architecture Omi program is conceived to facilitate projects exploring the intersection of architecture, art and landscape. Architecture Omi offers a pristine, 60-acre site, nestled within the campus of the Omi International Arts Center sculpture park – designated to cultivate the production of physical structures such as pavilions, installations, landscape interventions, and constructed environments. Through curated exhibitions and a new residency program for early- to mid-career architects, Architecture Omi actively engages with, and introduces the work of, architects and designers at the forefront of experimentation, innovation, and explorations. Since January, 2016, Architecture Omi has been directed by Warren James, and architect and urban designer based in Manhattan, where he is principal of WAJA+P.



Art Omi is a not-for-profit arts organization offering world-class public exhibitions, arts events, education programming, and international residency programs for visual artists, writers, translators, musicians, and dancers. Situated in the beautiful Hudson Valley in Ghent, New York, Omi’s grounds are comprised of 300-acres of rolling farmland, wetlands and woodlands, The Fields Sculpture Park at At Omi presents the works of internationally recognized contemporary and modern artists, offering the unique possibility to experience a wide range of largescale works in a singular outdoor environment. The Fields offers more than eighty works of art on view – with several pieces added or exchanged every year.



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