For the Fall 2021 Exhibition, co-curators Iker Gil and Mimi Zeiger have invited exhibition participants to create site-specific, future-oriented installations, which will be developed over the coming year in response to the theme: New Middles: From Main Street to Megalopolis, What is the Future of the Middle City?

This 2020–2021 cycle of programming explores the future of the center of the United States and the regions connected by the Mississippi Watershed. 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.


J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize

University Design Research Fellowship

Photography Fellows

High School Design Team

Wayfinding and Environmental Design

What makes Columbus’ design history so unique is the investment in architecture as a social project. We are thrilled to join the Exhibit Columbus team and the Columbus community to shape conversations, installations, and research honoring this past, while recognizing the complex social and ecological issues facing American towns and cities at this very moment. And it is through architecture and design—through the symposium and exhibition—that we hope to explore meaningful and necessary ways forward.

— Iker Gil and Mimi Zeiger, 2020–21 Exhibit Columbus Curators

The 2020–2021 Exhibit Columbus Curators are Iker Gil, founder of MAS Studio and the nonprofit MAS Context and executive director of the SOM Foundation, and Mimi Zeiger, a Los Angeles-based critic, editor, and curator.

Gil and Zeiger bring an extensive background in researching and creating exhibitions and publications around architecture and design through themes related to alternative histories of modernism, cities and the urgencies of civic space, resiliency, and connectivity.


Iker Gil
2020–21 Exhibit Columbus Curator

Iker Gil is a Chicago-based architect, editor, and curator. He is the director of MAS Studio, a collaborative architecture and design firm as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of the design journal MAS Context. He teaches architecture studios at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and, since 2019, he is the executive director of the SOM Foundation. Gil has collaborated with architects, artists, and designers on projects including Geometry of Light at the Barcelona Pavilion and Farnsworth House, Inside Marina City, and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin signage standards. Gil was the Associate Curator of the US Pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale. He has curated exhibitions at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Graham Foundation, and the Art Institute of Chicago.


Mimi Zeiger
2020–21 Exhibit Columbus Curator

Mimi Zeiger is a Los Angeles-based critic, editor, and curator. She was co-curator of the U.S. Pavilion for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. Curatorial projects include Soft Schindler at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture and Now, There: Scenes from the Post-Geographic City, which received the Bronze Dragon award at the 2015 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture, Shenzhen. Zeiger has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Architectural Review, Metropolis, and Architect. She is an opinion columnist for Dezeen and former West Coast Editor of The Architects Newspaper. Zeiger is the 2015 recipient of the Bradford Williams Medal for excellence in writing about landscape architecture. She is faculty at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and in the Media Design Practices MFA program at Art Center College of Design.