Introducing the 2020 SXSW Place by Design Finalists

Rolling Rez Arts - 2020 Place by Design Finalist - Photo courtesy of Rolling Rez Arts

Now introducing the 2020 Place by Design finalists! These architects, designers, urbanists, and artists will showcase their transformative public design in a fast-paced pitch format competition followed by a Q&A session with the judges on March 16 at SXSW 2020.

Five finalists were selected for the degree of social impact their work has on their community and will be given the opportunity to present their scalable solutions for improving our shared landscape.

Place by Design Finalists

Rolling Rez Arts

The Rolling Rez Arts mobile unit roams the vast landscape of the Pine Ridge Reservation having traveling more than 30,000 miles – its colorful herd of painted buffalo becoming a recognized sight across the reservation's 11,000 square miles or 2 million acres. The unit embodies what it takes to build a creative economy in an expansive space. The Rolling Rez Arts is a pollinator in growing the ecosystem – seeding the many partnerships of organizations, artists, and individuals in a vibrant Indigenous Arts Ecology. The Rolling Rez Arts is a shining example of how moving parts working together can create art – traditional art forms, filmmaking, printmaking – and grow businesses – financial education, wholesale buying for the Red Cloud Heritage Center, and banking for Lakota Federal Credit Union.


CultureHouse is a radical experiment in redefining public space. It is a space to work, play, relax, interact, and discover. Taking cues from urban design principles, they transform vacant storefronts into free-to-enter spaces that serve as an indoor public park, a communal living room, and a third space between home and work. They are pop-up by nature, as this framework allows them to create a low-friction environment to try out new and daring ways to improve public space. Since they started the project two years ago, they have popped-up in eleven outdoor parks and plazas as well as three indoor locations. They opened their current pop-up in Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA, in July 2019 in a storefront that had been vacant for over a year. Since they opened, they have hosted community and cultural programming, including art workshops, live music performances, discussion groups, and free movie nights. They have hosted over one hundred events from July through November, many in collaboration with local individuals and partners. They have collaborated with everyone from an independent coffee producer, to a group that curates discussions over a dinner cooked by an immigrant chef, to All She Wrote Books, pop-up a bookstore that sells books written by women and queer authors. Their Kendall Square pop-up was initially only supposed to run for four months, but the real estate company that owns the building asked them to stay for another five months. They are also opening up a second location in Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA in December. This pop-up, in collaboration with the City of Cambridge, will run for five months in the heart of the city. They will be in a kiosk in the center of the Square that was the former home of the famous Out of Town Newsstand. Along with being a platform for awareness of social issues, such as women empowerment, homelessness, urban sustainability, and equity, they foster relationships that brightens and enriches the community.


The BOGADA project started in 2017 when Tandem Turkey partners gathered collectives from Istanbul and Madrid to design and build a project which would heal a spot in one of the neighborhoods of Kadikoy – a district of Istanbul. The Turkish and Spanish designers visited many problematic spots and decided to focus on the core of Kadikoy; the spot next to the Bull Statue Square that was previously used as bus stop and by Romani people to occasionally gather to play music. Even though the spot was in the core of the locals’ daily routine, it was abandoned by the authorities. It was an organic gathering spot but there was no design element to support its needs. In a system where the actions carried out at the street perceived as ‘rebellion’ and the interventions coming from the top seen as ‘system requirement’, an intervention process between two was built. One of the most crucial aims of this project was to design alternative ways against the interventions made by the authorities and break the city users’ frustration. Therefore, they aimed to run the urban intervention project by a participatory process, their participants are selected by an open call. They aimed to work with the local municipality and show them the goods of collaborative works in urban spaces. We used their leftover materials and build the furniture in their workshops. All the designed urban furniture was produced with 1:1 scale and anchored to the field by the participants. The Bogada project, the core of the district used by everyone in their daily routine was performed together with the people of Kadikoy as users and designers of Kadikoy. Painting the wall and the ground made the spot more attractive for locals to gather while new reconfigurable furniture increased the number of seats in the square. The project became very popular and the design is embraced by the locals. The most important part of the project was to see how it became an example for other municipalities to put more interest in user-related, collaborative designs.

Pepper's Net Zero Construction Jobsite Office Trailer

The average construction trailer emits 53,712 pounds of CO2 emissions into the air annually, which equates to the energy use of four residential homes. Essentially a tiny building, Pepper's Net Zero Construction Jobsite Office Trailer works holistically to focus on comfort, productivity, and quality - and uses 100% less energy than a traditional trailer. Clad in cement fiber panels that reduce heat absorption, the envelope features a thermal barrier from six inches of rigid insulation, doubling the R-values for the walls, floor, and roof – which now range from R-30 to R-40. Atop the structure, 27 photovoltaic panels convert four hours of sunlight into electricity to power the trailer for a full workday. Double pane, low-E Argon glass windows open to provide fresh air and are covered with transparent window shades for glare control. Daylight streams into the space and eliminates candescent lighting. A wireless system with occupancy and daylight sensors can control lights via a mobile app, and the space is reconfigurable without rewiring. Inside, a gathering room hosts meetings and hotel space for visitors. Recycled, bio-formed felt hangs above the conference space for sound absorption, and its organic pattern incorporates biophilia into the space. A full-amenity kitchen with Energy Star appliances and water-efficient fixtures allow for healthy eating habits. A dedicated technology closet encourages paperless project management and ensures adequate space as technology needs change and increase over time. The modern design is finished with comfortable and Red List-Free materials and furniture, like reclaimed cabinets and bamboo flooring. Details like locker storage, stand-up desks, and fold-up furniture create a flexible and organized workspace. Walk off mats keep debris outside, while green cleaning supplies limit harmful chemicals inside. The Net Zero trailer is efficient from every perspective, and the design transforms previously utilitarian conditions into a modern, functional, and healthy workplace.

Hoodlab Global by

In spring 2018, Hoodlab Global by project was started in one of the roughest and poorest neighborhoods in the South East of Amsterdam, Venserpolder. Hoodlab facilitated the residents to move their neighborhood together with professionals. Hoodlab stands for a living lab in the vibrant middle of the neighborhood and lasts for around 6 weeks long, providing a temporary community center that reaches residents, young and old. On the street, with big open container doors, Hoodlab brings energy and knows how to enter into minds and hearts. People are heard one-on-one and invited to share their personal stories, needs, objections, and ideas about their neighborhood, as well as encouraged to be part of the solution themselves. With a group of professionals from different municipal domains, corporations, formal and informal care partners in the background, and involved residents and young people up front – the Hoodlab social design team worked on improving the quality of life and living environment of the residents in line with the local area plans so the government could match the planned improvements to the actual needs. In the process, they looked for neighborhood ambassadors who want to move the people and the neighborhood and they captured the stories of the people in all kinds of appealing content. Hoodlab stood at the basis of making this valuable material about and with the neighborhood such as video, photo series, public exhibitions, and community art projects to show the energy of the project to other residents and bring it more to life, so that developments are being embedded and remembered. In the spring of 2019, they worked year-round together with the residents, municipality, professionals, and different organizations realizing around twelve physical projects in the public space. From planting 50,000 flower bulbs, building picknick tables, a real-life public exhibition, and transforming two large tunnels into works of art.

Watch Place by Design at SXSW

Come see the Place by Design finalists pitch in real-time during SXSW 2020 on March 16 in the JW Marriot (Salon E) from 3:30-4:30pm. Make Place by Design part of your SX adventure by adding to your Favorites. This event grants primary access to all SXSW Badges.

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Dive into 2019 Music Tracks

Featured Image by Photo courtesy of Rolling Rez Arts

By Nicole Cappabianca