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20 Jul 2009

Into the Open at Slought Foundation and the National Constitution Center, Philadelphia

Into the Open | The 2008 US Pavilion at
La Biennale di Venezia


July 15 - September 07, 2009
Thursday through Saturday, 1-6pm

+1 215 701 4627
+1 215 764 5783

4017 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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Into the Open

The 2008 US Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia travels to Philadelphia

On display July 15 - September 07, 2009 at the National Constitution Center, outdoors on historic Independence Mall, and at Slought Foundation at the University of Pennsylvania

Curated by Aaron Levy, William Menking, Andrew Sturm

From July 15 to September 7, 2009, the National Constitution Center and Slought Foundation present Into the Open, an innovative exhibition featuring the work of 16 architectural groups. Through vibrant installations and displays, Into the Open explores the original ways architects are collaborating to foster civic engagement and build better communities. Immersive, bold, and interactive, the exhibition aims to inform, as well as encourage discussion and participation.

Chalkboard walls will line the exhibition, making it possible for visitors to share their comments, reactions, and ideas in response to the projects. In the interactive spirit of the exhibition, the Center will also engage the community by extending the exhibit experience outside the museum walls. The projects featured in the exhibition will be showcased at the National Constitution Center and the Slought Foundation on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, off-site community programming related to the exhibition is planned, in partnership with local organizations. (For more information:

'Philadelphia is proud to be the home of numerous civic organizations taking the lead in our nation's move towards sustainability and positive community engagement,' said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter. 'This exhibition will highlight how individuals from all walks of life can play an integral role in creating transformative change.'

'This provocative intersection of architecture and activism allows the Center to highlight the importance of civic engagement in the community,' says National Constitution Center President and CEO Linda E. Johnson. 'It is fitting that Into the Open will be displayed in Philadelphia, where the American experiment was born, and where the Center continues to promote the power of individuals to create positive change.'

'This exhibition explores how local grassroots initiatives are generating new forms of social responsibility and activism. By highlighting America's rich history of architectural experimentation, we hope to define architecture not just as a physical infrastructure, but also as a social relationship,' says Aaron Levy, Executive Director of the Slought Foundation.

The National Constitution Center will feature eight of the 16 architectural projects, with the exhibition experience beginning on the Center's front lawn on Independence Mall, where visitors can pass through Estudio Teddy Cruz's 89-foot photo narrative of the U.S.-Mexico border. Cruz's fence installation explores the dynamics of urban conflict on both sides of the U.S. and Mexico border, from San Diego's affluence to homelessness in Tijuana. [Please note: Estudio Teddy Cruz's fence installation will only be on display through August 15, 2009.]

Visitors will also encounter Alice Waters' Edible Schoolyard, part of the Yale Sustainable Food Project. Waters, a renowned chef, created this project in response to the lack of nutritious food served in California public schools. A model garden, located in front of the Center, will feature local seasonal vegetables and flowers. Campers attending the Center's American Adventure Summer Camp will help plant and tend to the garden throughout the summer. The Center's model garden is developed in partnership with The Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania and Pedal Co-Op. On display in the Center's Posterity Hall, visitors can view the following projects:

- Hale County Animal Shelter by Rural Studio, Auburn University
- The Subsidized Landscape by the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP)
- Architecture and Justice: Million Dollars Blocks by the Spatial Information Design Lab/Laura Kurgan
- The Floating Pool by Jonathan Kirschenfeld Associates
- Sustainable Prototype for Greensburg, Kansas by Studio 804 and
- Heidelberg Street by The Heidelberg Project

For the full exhibition experience, guests are encouraged to visit the Slought Foundation on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania at 4017 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, where the following projects will be on display:

- Roll Out Houses by Gans Studio
- Post-Consumed: The Landscape of Waste in Los Angeles by The Center for Land Use Interpretation
- Panhandle Bandshell by Rebar
- Migrant Housing and Bath House by Design Corps
- The New Silk Road by Kyong Park/International Center for Urban Ecology
- FireBreak by Detroit Collaborative Design Center
- Row House Community Development by Project Row Houses
- Merrimac Building by Smith and Others

Into the Open debuted at the Venice Biennale in 2008 as the official United States representation, where it offered international audiences insight into the ways America's architects are reinventing public space. The exhibition is organized by William Menking, Editor-in-Chief of The Architect's Newspaper, Aaron Levy, Executive Director and Senior Curator of the Slought Foundation, and Andrew Sturm, former Director of Architecture for the PARC Foundation. It was conceived in collaboration with architects Teddy Cruz and Deborah Gans.

Admission to Into the Open is FREE with regular museum admission to the National Constitution Center and FREE at the Slought Foundation. iPod audio tours cost $4. For more information, call 215.409.6700 or visit

Visitors can view the additional projects at the Slought Foundation during public hours from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and by appointment (call 215.701.4627 or visit The opening reception for the exhibition will take place on Friday, July 17, 2009 from 7-9:00pm, with a presentation at 6pm featuring curators Aaron Levy and William Menking in conversation.

Public Programs

The National Constitution Center, in conjunction with the Slought Foundation and public programming partner the Community Design Collaborative, will present a series of public programs to complement the Into the Open exhibition and to encourage community activism. These engaging, thought-provoking activities will take place at the Center and at non-traditional, urban settings throughout Philadelphia.

These programs are made possible through the support of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, the City of Philadelphia's Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, and the City of Philadelphia's Office of Sustainability, in partnership with the People's Emergency Center.

More Info:

Exhibition Credits

Into the Open is presented by the National Constitution Center, and organized by the Slought Foundation and PARC Foundation. The exhibition was commissioned by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. for the 11th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia, in cooperation with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Exhibition and Graphic Design: Saylor + Sirola and Project Projects.

Generous support for the project has also been received from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and Robert Rubin and Stephane Samuel.

Additional support has been provided by Oldcastle Glass, inSite San Diego/Tijuana, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Abe and Pat Levy, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Thornton Tomasetti, FXFOWLE Architects, Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects, Perkins Eastman, Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative / The Pew Charitable Trusts, Samuel S. Fels Fund, Larry Levy, Weidlinger Associates, Deborah Levy, Jack Stern, Jack and Bea Morton, Bernice Gersh Foundation, Pilkington and Leggett, Shimkin Foundation, and Michele Richman.

Public Programming Partner: Community Design Collaborative

Public Programming sponsors include: Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority; City of Philadelphia's Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy; the City of Philadelphia's Office of Sustainability; and People's Emergency Center CDC

National Media Partner: The Architect's Newspaper
Local Print Partner: Philadelphia Weekly

Press Contacts

For more information about Into the Open at the National Constitution Center, or to request an interview or high-resolution images, please contact:

Ashley Berke
Senior Public Relations Manager
National Constitution Center
T (215) 409-6693

Aaron Levy
Executive Director
Slought Foundation
4017 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA 19104
T (215) 701-4627