Alex Lehnerer is a Chicago-based architect and urban designer. In 2009, he established the Department of Urban Speculation (DeptUS) in Chicago. This quasi institution was set up to create a link between Lehnerer’s work as a practicing architect and urban designer and his academic role in the same fields. According to Lehnerer, the Department’s main interests can be summarized by four central themes: the belief in speculative and constructed urban consistencies, the necessity to adopt our cities’ (former) public domains, the acceptance of abundance, and the possibility to adjust control in urban design.
For his 12 × 12 exhibition Lehnerer and DeptUS present a project titled Minor Feature in 5 × 5 that looks at such ubiquitous and abundantly available urban elements, or “attractions” that are perpendicular to the road: doors, roofs, windows, lobbies, stairs, or walls. The exhibition examines how these can become protagonists, which, if exaggerated, over-extended, or misused, can form the urban between structure and situation. The project materializes as a three-dimensional relief along the walls of the 12 × 12 space creating a consistent, yet constructed urban reality.