Window Dressing invites visitors to reflect on the architectural legacy of Late Modernism. Through a temporary cladding system of ornamental shingles, the installation recalls the façade of the Commons and Courthouse Center by Cesar Pelli and Norma Merrick Sklarek for Gruen and Associates (demolished in 2008).
Using mylar film, a lightweight precursor to mirrored glass developed by the aerospace industry, Window Dressing draws inspiration from community events that took place inside this air-conditioned civic interior—high school proms, fashion shows, and election nights. Throughout the course of the day, this dynamic architectural tapestry encourages multiple readings of its surrounding context that responds to changing atmospheres and events: wind and light, pedestrian traffic, and the civic rhythms of downtown Columbus.
Production and Fabrication
H. Loeb Corporation
Millennium Die Group
RAIR (Recycled Artist in Residency)
TK VViVid Vinyl
Northeastern University, College of Arts, Media and Design
Koetter Kim & Associates, 2011
The Commons of today was designed by Koetter Kim & Associates as part of Vision 20/20, a redevelopment project focused on redefining land use and streetscaping in the areas along Washington and 2nd Streets. It is home to the popular James A. Henderson playground, and Jean Tinguely’s Chaos I completed in 1974. The current Commons replaced the 1973 building designed by César Pelli and Norma Merrick Sklarek of Gruen Associates, that housed a shopping mall and multi-level public space central to community life downtown Columbus. In 1994, it played host to the Pritzker Prize ceremony and it was demolished in 2008.
Ang Li is an Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture at Northeastern University. She is the founder of Ang Li Projects, a research-centered design practice that operates at the intersection of architecture, experimental preservation, and public art to explore the maintenance rituals and material afterlives behind architectural production. Her current research explores the salvage and reuse practices of the construction and demolition waste stream through fieldwork, site-specific installations and material experiments. Ang's work has been featured in numerous recent exhibitions, including the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Villa Terra Decorative Arts Museum, and the Carnegie Museum of Art. Previously, Ang taught as a Visiting Artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and as the 2015–16 Peter Reyner Banham Fellow at the University at Buffalo. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cambridge and a Master’s of Architecture from Princeton University.
"A lot of my previous work occupies the space between architecture, public art, and experimental preservation to think about some of the maintenance practices and material afterlife behind architectural production."
— Ang Li
Watch this ten-minute video by Ang Li, who presents and describes the design concept for her installation, Window Dressing. Li is a University Design Research Fellows, a participant in the 2021 Exhibit Columbus Exhibition New Middles. This is a previously recorded and archived event, view more on our YouTube channel.
"Applied to The Commons facade, this reimagined second skin takes the form of a series of reflective mylar shingles that are layered together in varying densities to form a kind of architectural tapestry that would respond to air movement, pedestrian traffic, and other rhythms that would unfold along the sidewalk.”