American Framing

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Where

Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion

When

January 12, 2023 – July 2, 2023

Where

Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion

When

January 12, 2023 – July 2, 2023

Originally presented at the U.S. pavilion of the 2021 Venice Biennale of Architecture, Paul Andersen and Paul Preissner developed the exhibition American Framing to examine wood framing—one of the country’s most overlooked yet common construction systems.

Originating in the early 19th century, softwood construction was a pragmatic solution to a need for an accessible building system among settlers with limited resources of wealth, technical skills, and building traditions. It has been the dominant construction system ever since—more than 90% of new homes in the U.S. today are wood framed.

Despite its ubiquity, wood framing is also one of the country’s most under-appreciated contributions to architecture. Its lack of disciplinary prestige stems from the same characteristics that make it so prevalent—ease of use, lightweight, and affordability. However, it is these very qualities that introduce a flexibility for form, labor, composition, class, sensibility, access, and style that expand the possibilities for architecture.

This exhibition presents models, furniture, photographs, and a full-scale wood structure, which together argue that a profound and powerful future for design can be conceived out of an ordinary past.

Participating artists include Ania Jaworska, Norman Kelley, Daniel Shea, Chris Strong, and students from the University of Illinois Chicago.


Lead sponsorship for this exhibition provided by Elizabeth Edwards Harris.

Additional funding is provided by Mimi & Steve Fisher, Douglas Moreland, Bonnie Serkin & Will Emery, and Kathy & Jim Simpson.

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