Exhibit Columbus Announces 2021 Theme and Miller Prize Recipients

Archdaily_Exhibit Columbus has announced the new 2020-21 theme, as well as the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize recipients. As an exploration of architecture, art, design, and community, the programming is meant to activate the design legacy of Columbus, Indiana through free, public exhibitions. The symposium and exhibition cycle explores the future of the center of the United States and the regions connected by the Mississippi Watershed.

For the 2021 Exhibition, co-curators Iker Gil and Mimi Zeiger have invited the prize recipients, research fellows and high school design team to create site specific, future-oriented installations in response to the theme New Middles: From Main Street To Megalopolis, What Is The Future of The Middle City?.

As the team outlines, "New Middles speculates on the heartland, an ecology stretching beyond political borders—from North to South—from the Canadian Border to the Gulf, and from East to West—from Appalachia to the plains. Embracing a long timeline of cities past, present, and future, New Middles builds upon Columbus’ legacy as a laboratory for design as civic investment. In a moment when we most need reflection, creativity, and innovation to envision new ways of being, New Middles considers Columbus a place to destabilize assumptions, and imagine new architectures and landscapes as a way to positively move our cities forward."

The 2020-21 J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize recipients represent practices that have been selected for their commitment to the transformative power that architecture, art, and design have to improve people’s lives. This year’s J. Irwin and Xenia Miller Prize winners are:

  • Dream the Combine/ Minneapolis
  • ecosistema urbano/ Miami and Madrid, Spain
  • Future Firm/ Chicago
  • Olalekan Jeyifous/ Brooklyn
  • Sam Jacob Studio/ Lond


Exhibit Columbus has also awarded seven University Design Research Fellowships to leading professors of architecture, landscape architecture, and design from American universities who will create installations highlighting their research. University Design Research Fellows were selected for their ability to tackle specific sets of issues germane to the future of the city and the Mississippi Watershed region, such as sustainability and material reuse, non-human habitat, watershed ecologies, emergent technologies, and migration. The University Design Research Fellows for 2020-2021 are:

  • Ang Li Projects/ Northeastern University
  • Joyce Hwang/ University at Buffalo
  • Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller, AGENCY/ Texas Tech College of Architecture, El Paso
  • Lola Sheppard and Mason White, Lateral Office/ University of Waterloo & University of Toronto
  • Derek Hoeferlin/ Washington University in St. Louis
  • Natalie Yates/ Ball State University
  • Jei Jeeyea Kim/ Indiana University


New Middles also introduces two Photography Fellows, who over the course of 2020-2021 will document parts of Columbus, the heartland, and the Mississippi watershed from social, economic, and environmental perspectives and present this work in innovative ways as part of the exhibition. The Photography Fellows for 2020-2021 are:

  • Virginia Hanusik/ New Orleans
  • David Schalliol/ Minneapolis

In addition, the Columbus High School Design Team will create an installation as part of its classwork in the Bartholomew County School Corporation’s C4 Program. The entire exhibition will be tied together with dynamic wayfinding and a graphic design system designed by Jeremiah Chiu of Some All None in Los Angeles.