Midnight Palace is designed for occupants of the midnight city. It asks: What is a public space dedicated to those who live in the nocturnal hours?

Columbus is a city of night owls: 39% of the population works in manufacturing, compared to 9% nationwide. Among this late-night group are second and third shift workers, restaurant workers, truckers on I-65, parents of newborns, and residents with families overseas.

A lattice-work of electrical conduit, Midnight Palace features a “wall of light” inspired by Columbus’ streetscape: high-pressure sodium fixtures, LED light bulbs, and soffit lighting. Paying homage to the Columbus Drive-In, which closed in 1992. Screens feature community partner programming: from cricket matches to short films.

Take the Night Owls Survey


Ann Lui and Craig Reschke
Irina Chernyakova, Project Manager
Chloe Munkenbeck, Research and Design
Joon Kang
Pei-San Ng
Andrea Hunt
Paul Jasper

Gaylor Electric

Jon Endris
Alexis Patterson

YES Cinema

Randy Allman
Diane Doup

Fabrication Supporters

Atkore (Allied Tube and Conduit)
Electra Products Agency (Eaton)
ESL Spectrum

Gaylor Electric

Katahdin Engineering
McCallister Rental (Columbus Office)
New Century Sales (Southwire)

Sears Building Plaza
Cesar Pelli and Norma Merrick Sklarek of Gruen and Associates, 1971

The Commons was a project born out of a desire to meld architecture and technology to ennoble the civic spirit. Cummins’ Sears Building, originally called Courthouse Center, was part of the original design for The Commons plan that included a shopping mall anchored by Sears, a movie theater, and an “indoor park”. The scheme also featured extensive interior landscaping and surface effects housed within a brown glaze wrapper to create a new kind of urban experience. At the heart of this project was a vision of architecture as a means to reanimate downtown Columbus.

Founded by Ann Lui and Craig Reschke in 2015, Future Firm designs spaces for clients who are change-makers in their own communities. Their work spans diverse scales: from events to residential and commercial buildings to urban and territorial speculations. Future Firm also currently operates The Night Gallery, a nocturnal exhibition space on Chicago's South side, which features video and film works by artists and architects from sunset to sunrise.

Archinect Next Up: Future Firm

Listen now! In partnership with Archinect, the podcast series, Next Up, features exclusive short interviews with co-curators and each of the 2020–21 J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Recipients.

Watch this ten-minute video by Future Firm, who presents and describes the design concept for their installation, Midnight Palace. Future Firm is a J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize Recipient, a participant in the 2021 Exhibit Columbus Exhibition New Middles. This is a previously recorded and archived event, view more on our YouTube channel.

"There are many residents of the midnight city: an attendee at a 24-hour gas station, a truck driver passing through on I-65, a hotel night clerk, an avid stargazer seeking a unique astronomical event, a couple not ready for their night to end, an engineer who’s family in India has stayed up to take his call, a bartender closing out last call, a parent of a newborn soothing their baby..."

— Future Firm
2021 Design Presentations