Borderless Studio and Felecia Davis

Paola Aguirre Serrano and Dennis Milam of Borderless Studio and Felecia Davis speak as part of the Emerging Voices series.

July 11, 2022

Recorded on March 10, 2022.

Borderless Studio and Felecia Davis are 2022 Emerging Voices.

Borderless Studio and Felecia Davis were two of eight winners of the 2022 Emerging Voices competition, which recognizes North American designers with distinct voices and significant bodies of realized work. 

Paola Aguirre Serrano and Dennis Milam of Borderless Studio focused their presentation on Creative Grounds, a project responding to widespread school closings in Chicago, IL, that have disproportionately affected black and brown neighborhoods. Showing their twofold approach: documentation of the whole issue and collaborative activation projects on one of the schools, Borderless presented their practice’s objectives to connect communities to design processes and cultivate collaborative design agencies, cultivating openness, civicness and publicness, in the city.

Felecia Davis presented on Black Flower Antenna, a symbolic antenna that transmits the presence of electromagnetic waves via live sounds and Fabricating Networks Quilt, a touch-activated quilt with photographs and stories from the era of urban renewal in Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill District. Through these two projects, commissioned for MoMa’s Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America show, Davis talked of the importance of bringing soft materials into architecture, to return the built environment to the specifics of individual bodies.

The presentations were followed by a conversation with Zach Mortice, that included questions like, what is the utility in design’s democratization? And, how would architecture be different if everything were designed and built within the communities buildings serve? Mortice is a design journalist and critic based in Chicago.


City of imagination

Deborah Gans contemplates the larger urban visions suggested by the design proposals developed for The Architectural League's Vacant Lots project.

Essay Vacant Lots