With the opening of the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale less than six months away, the United States Department of State has announced the University of Illinois at Chicago commissioner of the U.S. Pavilion and named two faculty members as curators of the exhibition.

Paul Andersen, the director of independent architecture and a clinical associate professor of architecture, and Paul Preissner, an associate professor of architecture who also runs his own firm,will organize the U.S. Pavilion show around the theme “American Framing,” in response to the central query posed by Biennial artistic director Hashim Sarkis: “How will we live together?”

Andersen and Preissner will investigate the American tradition of wood-framed construction.  “We’re looking into the histories, labor, forms, and consequences of this now ubiquitous form of architectural construction,” said Preissner by email.

This won’t be the duo’s first time working together; in 2015, for the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, the two Pauls collaborated on a light blue, powder-coated steel kiosk for the shore of Lake Michigan. That small structure, which “looks like a weird pop-up book,” Preissner told RECORD, served as both a snack/tchotchke shed (the prescribed program) and a public shelter.

For the 2018 Biennale, two other Chicago-based institutions served as co-commissioners: the School for the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. The curatorial team that year organized an exhibition called “Dimensions of Citizenship.”

The 2020 Biennale, which is the 17th international architecture exhibition, will run from May 23 to November 29, 2020.