Students will present Pop Up City in Venice

Drew Parker

Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative will be presenting its architecture project, Pop Up City, at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale, in Venice, from Aug. 29 to Nov. 25.

The Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative is home to Kent State’s graduate school for urban design. The collaborative combines client-based projects, applied research, graduate teaching and advocacy to complete architecture projects throughout Cleveland and northeast Ohio.

Founded in 1895, the Venice Biennale is a contemporary architecture exhibition taking place every two years. The exhibition will feature the works of artists from more than 50 nations.

The CUDC’s Pop Up City is a temporary-use project, which renovates some of Cleveland’s vacant spaces into venues for cultural and arts activities. Pop Up City will be included in the U.S. presentation titled “Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good” during the Biennale.

CUDC director Terry Schwarz said the project was a great fit for the U.S. portion. The project was selected for inclusion, he said, because the work represents a fresh approach to dealing with the daunting challenges of a shrinking city — vacancy, abandonment, and disinvestment in urban buildings and sites.

“The show features examples of designers acting on their own initiative to solve urban problems.” Schwarz said in an email. “Through Pop Up City, the CUDC creates installations and programs vacant sites in ways that add value to urban neighborhoods.”

David Jurca, senior urban designer for the CUDC, said he believes Pop Up City was chosen because of its vast scale of projects.

“I think our projects have a large range, from large scale sites along the Cuyahoga River to projects that create a retail store from a vacant store front,” Jurca said “The transformations of vacant spaces change people’s perceptions, and attract people to a place they never would have visited before.”

Jurca said the exhibit will give the CUDC an opportunity to expand its global outreach.

“The Kent State students studying in Venice will be able to visit, and get a sense of the impact of our work and an understanding of the global reach of our work,” Jurca said. “It’s an opportunity for us to engage with others across the world who are doing great work, and hopefully we can bring some of those ideas back to Cleveland and northeast Ohio.”

Contact Drew Parker at [email protected].