An Atlas of Commoning / Pittsburgh


International Premiere

An Atlas of Commoning – Pittsburgh, June 29 – September 23, 2019
Design: Heimann + Schwantes, Berlin


An ifa exhibition in collaboration with ARCH+, the international premier is presented in Pittsburgh in cooperation with the
Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture at the

Miller ICA, Purnell Center for the Arts
5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh

OPENING: Sat. June 29, 5:30-7:30pm

Exhibition duration: June 29 – September 23, 2019

Open Space Workshop: Commoning Pittsburgh, Sat. June 29, 1-5:30pm

Summer Opening Hours: Thursday–Sunday, 12-6pm

Regular Opening Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 12-6pm

SALON SERIES: Neither Public, Nor Private

Facilitator, Dana Bishop-Root Supported by The Heinz Endowments

Thurs. July 18, 6-8pm

SYMPOSIUM: Designing for a Commons Transition

A forum for exchange between local and international practices of commoning

Thurs. Sept. 19–Sat. Sept. 21

For more INFORMATION, visit www.miller-ica.cmu.edu

For TOUR GROUPS or to visit outside gallery hours email mc94@cmu.edu.

The CATALOGUE can be ordered here

Curatorial team:

Anh-Linh Ngo, Mirko Gatti, Christian Hiller, Max Kaldenhoff, Christine Rüb (ARCH+); Elke aus dem Moore (ifa); Stefan Gruber (CMU)

Research partners:

School of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh and and Technische Universität Berlin, Institute of Architecture, Prof. Rainer Hehl

Curators of Pittsburgh edition:

Stefan Gruber, Elizabeth Chodos (CMU)


Symposium: Designing for a Commons Transition

Thursday 19 - Saturday 21 September,
Carnegie Mellon University,
5000 Forbes Avenue PIttsburgh United States

Against the backdrop of the escalating climate crisis, social inequity and political polarization, the growing realization that neither the government nor the market can enable even access to resources and opportunities is leading citizens the world over to take matters into their own hands, self-organizing by pooling resources and claiming their collective right to the city. The creative insights emerging from these practices of commoning offer an entry point for refuting the neoliberal mantra “there is no alternative,” and spurring the imagination of another possible world. What impact can commoning have on the bottom-up transformation of cities? And what agency do designers have in contributing to such commons transition?

The symposium at Carnegie Mellon University brings together diverse perspectives exploring the role and responsibility of architecture and urban design in the struggle for more pluralistic, radically democratic and just cities. At a time of Pittsburgh’s renewed growth, the commons perspective urges us to revisit the city's community design legacy, and explore how it might be reinvigorated in the face of rising inequity. The event accompanies the international premier of the ifa-exhibition An Atlas of Commoning in collaboration with ARCH+ and the CMU School of Architecture on display at the Miller ICA.

Speakers include Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman, Renée Tribble, Kristin Hughes and Mary-Lou Arscott, Tobias Armborst, Antje Steinmuller, Karen Abrams, Anne-Marie Lubenau, Terri Baltimore, Stefani Danes and Christina Howell. Organized and curated by Stefan Gruber and Jonathan Kline.


Thursday, September 19 | Kresge Theater, CMU College of Fine Arts

18:30 Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman: Unwalling Citizenship

Sylvia and David Steiner Lecture Series in Creative Inquiry in collaboration with the CMU School of Architecture lecture series

Friday, September 20 | CMU College of Fine Arts, Room 214

9:00 Welcome and Introductions

9:20 Renée Tribble, Planbude Hamburg
9:50 Kristin Hughes & Mary-Lou Arscott, Latham Street Commons
10:20 Tobias Armborst, Interboro Brooklyn

10:50 Coffee Break

11:10 Antje Steinmuller, CCA Urban Works Agency, San Francisco
11:50 Karen Abrams, The Heinz Endowments
12:20 Discussion on the role and agency of design in commoning the city with Tobias Armborst, Renée Tribble, Kristin Hughes & Mary-Lou Arscott, Antje Steinmuller and Karen Abrams facilitated by Stefan Gruber

13:00 Lunch Break

14:00 Mathias Heyden, ISPARA Berlin
14:45 Anne-Marie Lubenau, Bruner Foundation Cambridge
15:15-16:30 Panel discussion on the past and possible future of community design in Pittsburgh with Terri Baltimore, Stefani Danes, Christina Howell, Anne-Marie Lubenau and Mathias Heyden facilitated by Jonathan Kline

Saturday, September 21 | Miller ICA

11:00-12:30 Curator and Artist’s Tour of An Atlas of Commoning at Miller ICA

12:30-3:30 Bus Tour to Food Co-op (with option to buy lunch), Construction Junction, Center for Creative Reuse, and Community Forge. Tours and discussions with Francis Carter and Kate Safin, Mike Gable, Patrick Cooper.

Please RSVP for the bus tour as seats are limited. Students are strongly encouraged to attend.

This event is made possible through the generous support the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and the Sylvia and David Steiner Lecture Series, the Carnegie Mellon University and ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen).

Facebook, Airbnb and other companies whose business models are based on the commercialization of social relationships, have transformed words like “community,” “sharing” or “we” into empty concepts that no longer represent solidarity or a progressive social agenda, but rather form the basis for an emerging platform capitalism. This economic development is accompanied by a global political shift fueled by traditional community notions of identity and affiliation, exclusion and discrimination. Against this background, the exhibition and publication project An Atlas of Commoning aims to recapture and redefine the open and emancipatory space of “we” as a concept. The project focuses on urban commons—here commons are to be understood as a set of practices dealing with the collective production and management of (material and immaterial) resources and spaces in general, rather than with the resources themselves, hence “commoning,” the verb, takes center stage. Commoning is a process of dealing with differences and conflicts between the individual, the community and society. A process of spatial organization in the relations between production and reproduction, ownership and access to resources. A process that brings together solidarity networks and redefines individual and collective rights. The project questions the prevailing social and political structures and seeks new forms of collective, yet pluralistic, governance.

The starting point of the exhibition is an Atlas, a visual archive with a diverse selection of contemporary and historical case studies­. The Atlas, which is being developed by ARCH+ in collaboration with the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University, will consist of 25 projects related to commoning.­ This initial selection is being complemented with new ones, added in collaboration with local partners as the exhibition tours from city to city. As a result, the “Atlas of Commoning” continues to grow as an open knowledge archive, producing an invaluable documentation of local grassroots projects from all over the world.

From the Atlas, the exhibition develops along three axes of investigation, each one illustrating the tension inherent in practices of sharing. The resulting chapters are: Ownership – Access, Production – Reproduction, Right – Solidarity. Artistic works open up further access to the subject. Part of the exhibition is an edition of ARCH+ magazine that delivers a broad insight into important theoretical positions and practical examples. ­ 

The Urban Design program at the CMU School of Architecture is hosting the international premier of the travelling exhibition after its German premier in Berlin last year. The Pittsburgh edition of the exhibition includes local practices of commoning and examples of citizen-led urban regeneration. Throughout the summer, a series of workshops, discussions and tours will provide a platform for the exchange of experiences, knowledge and skills about gaining agency in collectively producing the environment and communities we live in. In times of rampant cynicism, An Atlas of Commoning shows that there are boundless hopeful alternatives—alternatives that are already in the making all around us.


Pittsburgh Edition

Pittsburgh initiatives include Breathe Project; City of Asylum; Community Forge; Garfield Community Farm; General Sisters, General Store; Latham Street Commons; Manchester Bidwell Corporation; The Braddock Carnegie Library.

The production of the Pittsburgh edition was supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and the research by CMU’s School of Architecture Margaret B. Gruger Fund, the Berkman Faculty Develop-ment Fund and the Fund for Research and Creativity of the College of Fine Arts.

Miller ICA

Miller ICA is Carnegie Mellon University’s contemporary art institute providing transformative experiences with con-temporary art through exhibitions, conversation, and exchange in a free and open public space. General operating support for the Miller ICA is provided by Carnegie Mellon University. Exhibitions and programs are supported by Regina and Marlin Miller, as well as the CMU College of Fine Arts, and in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Additional support comes from gallery members, patrons, sponsors, and donations. www.miller-ica.cmu.edu

An Atlas of Commoning

With contributions from:

Morehshin Allahyari & Daniel Rourke; Assemble and Granby Workshop; Iwan Baan; Brandlhuber+ Christopher Roth; DAAR Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency; Theo Deutinger; Eureka; Manuel Herz; Sandi Hilal, Philipp Misselwitz, and Anne Misselwitz; Immo Klink; Kotti & Co; clemens krug architekten und Bernhard Hummel Architekt (Team: Oliver Clemens, Anna Heilgemeir, Bernhard Hummel, Emma Williams); Kuehn Malvezzi; Angelika Levi; Golan Levin (F.A.T. Lab) & Shawn Sims (Sy–Lab); Makoko Waterfront Community; Tukano Maloca; Miethäuser Syndikat; National Union of Sahrawi Women; NLÉ Architects; PlanBude Hamburg, Svenja Baumgardt, and Sylvi Kretzschmar; Common Ground e.V. und Nachbarschaftsakademie; Quest – Florian Köhl and Christian Burkhard; Martha Rosler; Harald Trapp / Robert Thum; Urban-Think Tank, Chair of Architecture and Urban Design ETH Zürich; WiLMa GmbH; Samson Young.

The Atlas of Commoning also includes works by:

Airbnb; ARGE ifau | HEIDE & VON BECKERATH; Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée; BARarchitekten; Bau- und Wohngenossenschaft Spreefeld Berlin eG; Carpaneto Schoeningh Architekten; City in the Making; FATkoehl; Die Zusammenarbeiter; El Campo de la Cebada; Genossenschaft Kalkbreite; Genossenschaft Kraftwerk1; Go Hasegawa and Associates; IBeB GbR; Müller Sigrist Architects; Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space City Plaza; Schneider Studer Primas; Stiftung House of One – Bet- und Lehrhaus Berlin; Gemeinde Yoshino; ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles].

Drawing collages by:

Students from Carnegie Mellon’s Master of Urban Design program, and the studio “Commoning the City” co-taught by Stefan Gruber and Jonathan Kline: Ernest Bellamy, Tamara Cartwright, Nickie Cheung, Yang Gao, Jianxiao Ge, Yidan Gong, Chase Kea, Rebecca Lefkowitz, Sai Narayan Ramachandran, Paul Moscoso Riofrio, Deepanshi Sheth, Sujan Das Shrestha, Gautam Thakkar, Aditi Thota, Yirui Wang, Alvin Wong, Chi Zhang, Chun Zheng, Lu Zhu.

Architectural models by:

Students from the Technical University Berlin taught by Rainer Hehl: Aaron Barnstorf, Sarah Baur, Sebastian Georgescu, Alexander Grams, Mirko Hahn, Nicolas Herre, Gerrit Jasper, Rosanna Just, Jakob, Köchert, Laura Lüttje, Miriam Möser, Stefan Neumaier, Daiki Ori, Canan Öztekin, Luisa Pöpsel, Nadine Reppert, Selina Schlez, Hans J. Walter (TU Berlin), as well as Martin Edelmann (ifa) and Quest – Florian Köhl / Christian Burkhard.


ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen)

The ifa (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) is the oldest German intermediary organization and celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017. It is committed to the peaceful and enriching coexistence of people and cultures worldwide. Its programs pursue five core topics: Art & Culture Exchange, Civil Society Dialog, Flight & Migration, Culture & Conflict and Europe. The ifa promotes the exchange of art and culture in exhibition, dialog and conference programs and acts as a competence center for foreign cultural and educational policy. The institute is globally networked and focuses on long-term, partnership-based cooperation. It is funded by the Federal Foreign Office, the state of Baden-Württemberg and the state capital Stuttgart. www.ifa.de/en


ARCH+ is Germany's leading discursive journal for architecture and urbanism. The name is also a policy: more than architecture. Each quarterly issue details a specific topic, picking up on current discussions from other disciplines with regard to the cultural and political frameworks of spatial production. Founded in the wake of the 1968 movement, the focus of ARCH+ is the critical reflection of the social aspects of architecture. www.archplus.net


© Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e. V. (ifa), Stuttgart, Germany; artists; authors