Window Dressing is a façade installation along the Washington Street face of The Commons that invites the public to reflect on the cultural and architectural legacy of Late Modernism. Through a lightweight and ornamental cladding system of overlapping mylar shingles, the installation recalls the mirror-glass façade of the original 1973 building designed by César Pelli and Norma Merrick Sklarek of Gruen Associates, which was demolished in 2008. Li’s research into the conflicting material histories of mirrored glass—first developed by the aerospace industry then rapidly used within architecture throughout the 1970s—continues her interest into the afterlife of building materials. Her installation, in contrast to the smooth and hermetic surface of the curtain wall façade, will present layered reflections of the surrounding context and the shiny mylar shingles will react dynamically to changing atmospheres and events: wind and light, pedestrian traffic, and the civic rhythms of downtown Columbus.

The Commons
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.