Newcity gets to know the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial contributors. This segment highlights Hood Design Studio, a social art and design practice based in Oakland, California. The studio’s practice is described as tripartite: art and fabrication, design and landscape, and research and urbanism. Their mission? “We strengthen endemic patterns and practices—those ecological and cultural, contemporary and historic, and those that remain unseen or unrecognized. Urban spaces and their objects act as public sculpture, creating new apertures through which to see the emergent beauty, strangeness, and idiosyncrasies around us.” Hood Design Studio founder and creative director Walter Hood, who is also a professor of landscape architecture, environmental planning, and urban design at the University of California, Berkeley, talks about the upcoming CAB, saying that we are all a part of history and that this moment matters.
In what ways has your background prepared you and how will it inform your role at the upcoming Chicago Architecture Biennial?
As a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a recent exhibitor in the 2019 Biennale, we have a long history with the city. In addition, Hood Design Studio is working in the Bronzeville and Lawndale neighborhoods.
Can you talk about the importance of a festival like CAB amid a pandemic and a time of social and political unrest?
I believe the festival can be restorative and speculative in reminding citizens of the importance of culture and civic participation. Art has always brought people together, whether in times of contestation or unity.
What are you hoping the viewers will take away from this exhibition?
That we are all a part of history and that this moment matters.
What are you most excited about moving forward?
Making a beautiful grove of trees.
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