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Fritz Haeg’s project “Edible Estate #12: Budapest, Hungary” is one of this year’s grantees. In this work the LA-based artist is partnering with the Blood Mountain Foundation—an arts organization focused on bringing arts projects to Budapest and Hungary— to revisit the utopian-planned community Wekerletelep, a housing block that was constructed between 1908 and 1950. Haeg will work with community members there and revitalize a communal garden.
Another, more local, project is Osvaldo Romberg’s installation, Translocations: Mies and Melnikov. Later this year Romberg will build the floor plan of the circular Konstantin Melnikov House adjacent to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's famous Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois. Romberg’s artist statement says that this is his way of creating a conversation between two of the most important figures in modernism.
The 55 projects provide incredible insight into today’s architecture and design zeitgeist. “It’s really surprising how broad the trends in architecture are,” says Herda. “There are some currents like sustainability and architecture for under-served populations [see yesterday’s post], but there are also themes we can’t even define yet.”
While the Graham Foundation’s grantees come from all over the world, Chicago also seems to be reasserting itself in the global architectural dialogue. Much of this is due to Jeanne Gang and her Studio Gang Architects. “It’s a special moment for Chicago, "says Herda. "Jeanne Gang’s rise is making room for a number of younger people—Chicago is now a place that incubates architects and designers early in their careers.” But Chicago is also regaining its recognition thanks to places like the Graham Foundation, IIT, and the design school at UIC, and the diversity and enthusiasm around the Graham’s grant program is a reflection of this. “Chicago is the most important city in America for architecture. And now that’s being reflected in a new generation.”