Metropolis Magazine and Steelcase will hold the final of its four panel discussions, called "Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism," inspired by the book of the same name. Edited by Bryan Bell and Katie Wakeford of Design Corps, the book is a collection of 30 essays written by practicing architects and designers, urban and community planners, historians, landscape architects, environmental designers and others that question how design can improve the lives of ordinary citizens - ranging from the eradication of social injustice to improvements of the environment beyond employing green and industry certification practices.
The panel series, which launched last November in New York, and traveled to Atlanta and Santa Monica in early 2009, will convene for the final time in Chicago on March 19. The discussions act as an extension of the book's mission - to ask design leaders to look beyond their normal client scope, which often caters to the few able to afford their services, using their unique skill sets to re-incorporate group consciousness into projects and give back to the greater community.
Susan S. Szenasy, editor-in-chief of Metropolis will once again moderate the panel and discuss notable projects in the Chicago area, as well as additional efforts that will have a positive impact on the community. Panelists for the event include:
Bryan Bell, Founder and Executive Director of Design Corps and co-author of "Expanding Architecture"
Sadhu Johnston, Chief Environmental Officer for the City of Chicago
Thomas Fisher, Professor and Dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota
Joel Makower, Co-founder and Executive Editor of Greener World Media, Inc. and one of Steelcase's "Green Giants"- A Steelcase program that honors those individuals committed to creating sustainable environments and communities
Roberta Feldman, Director, City Design Center, University of Illinois at Chicago
Eli Ungar, Founder and principal of Antheus Capital
"'Expanding Architecture,' aimed to start the conversation on how design can improve the world around us," said Szenasy. "Metropolis and Steelcase wanted these panels to inspire those in attendance with fresh ideas and the know-how to address specific problems in their communities and to serve as models for others who want to take action."
Steelcase, which has long worked to set the industry standard for responsible design, said hosting the panels at its showrooms was a natural choice. "As part of the design community, Steelcase has a responsibility to its customers, end users, employees, and communities. These events have extended the conversation to a broader audience and we're happy to have participated," said James Ludwig, Vice President of Global Design for Steelcase.
The final "Expanding Architecture" panel discussion will take place at the Steelcase WorkLife Center located at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. The discussion will start at 6:00 p.m. and attendance is by invitation only.