Graham Foundation Grant by Conor O'Shea

The Graham Foundation has awarded Conor O'Shea a grant for the book Dialogues on Urbanization: Emerging Landscapes. The forthcoming book is co-edited with Martin Felsen through Actar Publishers.

"Since the turn of the century, the design disciplines have increasingly adapted their research and design methods to tackle the complexity and speed of twenty-first century urbanization. Among architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, and planning, landscape has emerged as a common framework for understanding and designing urban processes. Dialogues on Urbanization: Emerging Landscapes takes stock of recent advancements in landscape architectural research methods, design strategies, and representational modes by featuring eleven pairs of built and speculative projects, accompanied by interviews between their designers and the editors. By providing an overview of the recent past, the book serves as a foundation for new lines of inquiry from the design disciplines into twenty-first century urbanization. The collection underscores landscape architecture's considerable contribution towards reimagining urban systems, such as mobility networks, agricultural production, and waste flows, at multiple scales, from the planetary to the local."

The Logistical City Workshop by Conor O'Shea

On Tuesday, February 7th, Conor O'Shea presented at The Logistical City Workshop at the UIC Institute of Humanities as part of a day-long workshop organized by Clare Lyster, Associate Professor, UIC Architecture.

"We live in an era where logistical systems have become central to how we work and live. We now think nothing of dropping a priority package in a drop box in Chicago at 9:30pm knowing it will arrive in L.A. by 7:30am the next morning. Talking in real time with a friend in a remote location via video-telephony is taken for granted, using nanosecond transmission signals is fundamental in the financial industry, while ordering groceries with an app and having them delivered later the same day is the norm rather than the exception. Given there is so much material and information flow in and around the spaces we inhabit, one could argue that infrastructural systems and their associated procedures are now the primary shapers of the urban environment. Yet, there are few, if any, intellectual models in place for architecture to contemplate the city from this perspective.

The one-day workshop, featuring national and local scholars as well as faculty from the UIC School of Architecture will review the social, political, material and cultural implications of logistical procedures for architecture and urbanism and debate ways in which logistical intelligence could be deployed, or re-routed toward the future design of the city. Speakers will be asked to present a definition of the Logistical City through the lens of their own unique research.

The workshop is sponsored by the UIC Institute for the Humanities as part of the initiative, Cutting Edge Issues in the Humanities and run in conjunction with a year-long graduate research seminar and design studio, titled, The Logistical City, currently being conducted by Associate Professor, Clare Lyster, at the school of architecture in 2016/2017." 

Hinterlands Team in Chicago Architecture Foundation Exhibition by Conor O'Shea

Hinterlands Urbanism and Landscape was invited to participate in  50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards, an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The Hinterlands Urbanism and Landscape team's entry, titled Wasteland and currently on display at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, proposes aligning Chicago's political boundaries with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District's sewer basins and creating a new biosolid driven economy.

The team consisted of:

Conor O'Shea, Chris Bennett (architectural advisor), Aneesha Dharwadker (editorial advisor), and Michael O'Shea (community outreach advisor) 

From the press release:

"50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards is a visual conversation on the role design can play in solving community challenges at both the local and citywide levels. Around the world, architects and designers are implementing ideas that address critical urban issues on everything from transit to affordable housing, environmental stewardship to job creation.

Along with CAF, the exhibition was curated by Martin Felsen and Sarah Dunn, co-founders of the Chicago-based office UrbanLab, and Reed Kroloff, CAF’s Senior Advisor for Programs and Industry Collaboration, a design educator and noted architecture commentator. The 50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards exhibition will be on display May 26 through December 2016 in the Atrium Gallery at CAF headquarters. Tailored programming will also be developed that brings industry experts and thinkers to CAF for evening lectures, tours, teen, family, educator and adult studio events throughout the year. For more information, visit"

Click here to see the online gallery.

Conor O'Shea and Collaborators in MAS Context Journal by Conor O'Shea

Conor O'Shea collaborated with Luke Hegeman / MODUS Collective and Chris Bennett to author "Logistical Ecologies of the North American Operational Landscape." The essay, photo essay, and video document the transformation of North America's hinterlands into operational landscapes using Rochelle, Illinois and Alliance, Texas as case studies.

Click here for the online version of the article.

Click here to download a pdf of the print issue.

Click here for the video.

Conor O'Shea, Luke Hegeman, and Chris Bennett. "Logistical Ecologies of the North American Operational Landscape." MAS Context: Hidden. 28 (Winter 2015): 8-35.

Conor O'Shea Reviews Maggie Daley Park and Chicago Riverwalk for Topos by Conor O'Shea

Conor O'Shea reviews Maggie Daley Park and Chicago Riverwalk for Topos.


"In Chicago, the new Maggie Daley Park and Chicago Riverwalk exemplify the trend for cities to build high-profile works of landscape architecture to spur reinvestment in historic urban cores. In this era of decreased federal and municipal funding for such projects, private investment is increasingly called upon. As a result, and as a new range of spaces in Chicago demonstrate, the landscape architect has emerged as a mediator between commercial interests and civic responsibilities." 

Conor O'Shea. "Open City - Open Space." Topos: The International Review of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design. 94 (2016): 16-23.

Please click here for a free excerpt from the article.

Conor O'Shea featured in Architectural Record by Conor O'Shea

Conor O'Shea is featured in this month's issue of Architectural Record as part of the list "Chicago's Next Generation," which showcases a group of young designers participating in the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial.

A description of the list from Architectural Record:

"The inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial (October 3, 2015 through January 3, 2016) is a global event. With over 60 firms or studios featured—representing more than 30 countries across six continents—it is also drawing attendees from all over the world. Titled The State of the Art of Architecture, the exhibition, curated by Sarah Herda and Joseph Grima, reaches beyond the national conversation to generate a larger discussion about the future of the built environment. But, given Chicago’s long tradition of innovation and innovators, from Louis Sullivan to SOM, we decided to look at some of the city’s own emerging practitioners. Here, we highlight a handful of designers in the Biennial who are, with optimism and humor, broadening the definition of the practice of architecture and what it means to be an architect, in both the Midwest and beyond."

Please click here for the article on Conor O'Shea / Hinterlands Urbanism and Landscape.


Conor O'Shea's Work as Urban Theory Lab Researcher Featured in Exhibition by Conor O'Shea

Conor O'Shea's research as a member of the Urban Theory Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Design during was featured as part of the exhibition Operational Landscapes: Towards an Alternative Cartography of World Urbanization from March 17 - 29, 2015 at the Melbourne School of Design.

The Urban Theory Lab is directed by Neil Brenner, professor of Urban Theory at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. 

According to the Urban Theory Lab:

"The exhibition asks: In what sense do we today live in an "urban age"? Frequently invoked by scholars, policy-makers, planners, designers, and architects, usually with reference to the proposition that more than 50 percent of the world's population now lives within cities, such a question provokes further questioning: Can the nature of our urban world be understood and mapped exclusively with reference to the growth of cities and their populations? 

The exhibition turns this proposition upside-down and inside-out by speculating on a radically alternative mapping of contemporary planetary urbanization. What happens to our cognitive map of the global urban condition if we focus not on the global cities or megacities of the world, but on the wide-ranging sociospatial and environmental transformations that are currently unfolding in supposedly "remote" or "wilderness" regions such as the Amazon, the Arctic, the Gobi desert steppe, the Himalayas, the Pacific Ocean, the Sahara desert, and Siberia, and even the earth's atmosphere? To what degree are such zones now being integrated within a worldwide fabric of urbanization? How are they being restructured and enclosed to support the energy, water, material, food and logistics needs of major cities? 

Through speculative cartographies of these emergent "operational landscapes," the exhibition aims to illuminate the radical transformations of land-use, infrastructure, and ecology far beyond the city limits that have made the contemporary formation of planetary urbanization possible.

Curatorial Team: Grga Basic (MDes '15), Chris Bennett (MDes '15), Mariano Gomez Luque (MArch II '13, DDes), Daniel Ibañez (MDes '12, DDes) "


Urban Theory Lab-GSD (directed by Neil Brenner), Operational Landscapes: Towards an Alternative Cartography of World Urbanization.  Contributed research and visual materials to a multi-year collaborative research and mapping project. Displayed at Melbourne School of Design (Spring 2015); Yale School of Architecture (Fall 2015 in conjunction with exhibit on "City of 7 Billion").

Hinterlands to Participate in the Chicago Architecture Biennial by Conor O'Shea

Hinterlands has been selected to participate in the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial as part of the "BOLD: Alternative Scenarios for Chicago" exhibit in the Chicago Cultural Center. The contribution, "Logistical Ecologies," is a collaboration with Chris Bennett and Luke Hegeman of  MODUS Collective

According to the Chicago Architecture Biennial:

"Architect Iker Gil of MAS Studio is organizing the exhibition of Chicago-based architects that showcases new ideas and alternative development scenarios for Chicago. BOLD will feature speculative proposals that re-imagine the design potential of the city’s waterways, roadways, vacant lots and public space, as well as new projects that explore the present conditions of the city through film, photography and mapping."

The Chicago Architecture Biennial runs from October 3, 2015 - January 3, 2016 in Chicago, IL. 

For more information please visit:


Conor O'Shea Delivers Cloud Talk at IIT by Conor O'Shea

Conor O'Shea delivered a lecture titled "Landscape Architecture in the Age of Planetary Urbanization" as part of the Cloud Talks lecture series in the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture.

To view a video of the talk please click here 

For more information please click here 

Conor O'Shea Gardner Museum Fellowship Finalist by Conor O'Shea

Conor O'Shea named as one of five finalists in the 2014 Maeder-York Family Fellowship in Landscape Studies at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. 

"The Maeder-York Family Fellowship in Landscape Studies at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was created in 2012 to recognize emerging design talent across disciplines dealing with landscape and support experimentation, research, and achievement in design through landscape." 

Click here for more information.