The Crump Theater is a significant asset in downtown Columbus – after more than two decades of assessment and feasibility studies for its redevelopment, the stepping stones for its rehabilitation and reactivation are falling into place and plans for its rebirth as a performing arts center are gaining momentum. This project consists of a collective “love letter” showcased through a large-scale exterior curtain installation at The Crump. The letter will be written in the abstract – a new graphic pattern inspired by Alexander Girard’s urban and textile design practices - and designed in collaboration with members of the community through participatory workshops where they will contribute to the creation of an abstract language inspired by the architectural features and character of the art deco theatre. The project’s purpose is to invite both residents and visitors to reflect on the transformation process of places in Columbus – foremost, Love Letter to The Crump aims to generate a dialogue about new forms and meanings for preservation, as well as shared values and processes that could guide our decisions about heritage places in our cities.

Borderless Studio is an urban design and research consultancy focused on shaping communities through collaborative design. The Chicago-based studio, led by Paola Aguirre, explores comprehensive city design solutions that address complex urban systems and equitable development, with emphasis on research and communication across disciplines and fields of practice. Borderless leads Creative Grounds, an ambitious initiative that responds to Chicago’s unprecedented number of school closures. Aguirre identifies the closures as an opportunity to have a collective conversation about the future of the city’s social infrastructure. With partners across the fields of art, design, architecture, and community outreach, Creative Grounds seeks creative solutions to support, accelerate and amplify repurposing of closed public schools throughout the city. Borderless developed a prototype for repurposing West Pullman’s school and organized a series of design interventions at Anthony Overton School in Bronzeville. Aguirre is also co-founder of the City Open Workshop, a platform for cultivating the interdisciplinary relationships fundamental to Borderless Studio’s practice.

Image credits: Creative-Grounds at Anthony Overton, photo by Steven Vance; The Subject is Chicago Exhibition.

At BORDERLESS, our focus is shaping communities through collaborative design agency and we do so through connecting communities to design and interdisciplinary connection. Promoting design excellence and community service in parallel – I deeply believe in the power of art, design, and architecture to inspire and cultivate stronger communities.