SOM in the Press

SOM to Design Flexible Classroom and Pavilion Utilizing Robotic Fabrication Techniques for 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial

Image © SOM

This past year has challenged the ways we think about education, space, community, and public health. Outdoor classrooms—with natural ventilation, exposure to daylight, and more flexible spatial boundaries that enable social distancing—allow us to reimagine our approaches to teaching and learning.

In partnership with Tsz Yan Ng and Wes McGee at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, SOM is designing and building an outdoor pavilion utilizing robotic fabrication techniques for Epic Academy in South Shore. The pavilion, constructed from sustainably sourced timber, will function as an outdoor classroom and an event and performance space. To inform the design, the team will lead a series of workshops with Epic’s students, teachers and leaders on healthy, sustainable design methods and processes, exposing students to design, architecture and engineering professions.

The 2021 Biennial, entitled The Available City, centers on a collaborative, community-led design approach that presents transformative possibilities for vacant urban spaces, created with and for local residents. Through workshops, installations, activations, performances, and programs, The Available City invites a critical global conversation on how design can foster collective engagement and agency to identify new forms of shared urban space through an inclusive and transparent design process.

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