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MAS Context 2021 Year in Review

December 6, 2021

As we get close to the end of the year, we want to look back at the work we we have done and shared throughout 2021.

Mas news 2021 year in review

Below you will find a recap of the issues, articles, books, events, and exhibitions we have published and organized this year. As was the case in 2020, the work continued to be impacted by the global pandemic. We worked hard to share remarkable work and bring people together within that complicated context. We are extremely thankful for the support, camaraderie, and conversations that have kept us moving forward.

This year we collaborated with many people and organizations, including Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), Chicago Architecture Center, Clear Channel, Concéntrico, Docomomo Chicago, Exhibit Columbus, Gene Siskel Film Center, and the Goethe-Institut Chicago. We were also part of the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial, as program partners as well as contributors working with Germane Barnes and Shawhin Roudbari. We were invited to participate in the inaugural Architecture Book Fair, the first transnational virtual book fair dedicated to architecture. We shared our work at Concéntrico in Logroño, Spain, and the Centre régional de la photographie Hauts-de-France acquired our publication Nocturnal Landscapes. Just a sample of the many remarkable initiatives that took place this year.

We look forward to engaging with all of you in 2022 with new initiatives and publications, all shared publicly and free of charge. Since our founding in 2009, we have believed in an open exchange of knowledge, so all of our work, future and past, is and will be available online.

If you are in a position to support nonprofit organizations at the end of year, we ask that you keep MAS Context, a 501c3 organization, in mind. Your support will make a big difference to our small but committed organization. If you decide to support our work, whether with an economic donation, in-kind, or by sharing our work with friends and colleagues, our most sincere thank you.

-Iker Gil, Founder and Editor in Chief

Mas issue vigilantism cover opening


This year we published our Vigilantism issue, guest edited by Germane Barnes and Shawhin Roudbari, and designed by Bobby Joe Smith III. You can purchase one of the last remaining copies here.

The issue features contributions by Emanuel Admassu, Laida Aguirre, Joseph Altshuler, Atelier Mey, Germane Barnes, Ashley Bigham, Jennifer Bonner, Galo Canizares, Sean Canty, Sekou Cooke, Krystina François, Jia Yi Gu, A.L. Hu, Demar Matthews, Katherine McKittrick, Zack Morrison, Jennifer Newsom, Cyrus Peñarroyo, Gary Riichirō Fox, Shawhin Roudbari, Andrew Santa Lucia, and Chat Travieso.

You can find all of our previous issues here.


In 2021, MAS Context published its first book, Radical Logic: On the Work of Ensamble Studio, documenting the first twenty years of the Boston- and Madrid-based office at a key moment in their career. The book was edited by Iker Gil with photography by James Florio and design by Anna Mort and Rick Valicenti.

After having designed and built a series of remarkable structures, such as the Hemeroscopium House in Madrid, the SGAE Central Office in Santiago de Compostela, The Truffle in Costa da Morte, and Structures of Landscape for Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana, their Ca’n Terra House and Ensamble Fabrica projects mark the next phase of the office. Through specially commissioned interviews with the architects, essays, and photographic documentation of their work by photographer James Florio, the book provides unique insight into the ideas that drive the studio, the ambitions behind their key projects, and their ongoing explorations.

The book includes contributions by Antonio Basanta, Domenica Bona, Cathy Halstead, Peter Halstead, K. Michael Hays, Sharon Johnston, Christian Kerez, Mark Lee, Rafael Moneo, and Nader Tehrani.

This book has been generously supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Additional support is provided by Chuck Thurow.

While the Standard edition is sold out, you can purchase one of the last copies of the Deluxe edition here.

Our next book, titled Social Landscapes, will showcase the work of David Schalliol and will include essays by photographer Dawoud Bey, Muriel Enjalran, and Saskia Sassen. The book will be designed by Renata Graw of Normal and has received the support of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

This year, thanks to the support of the Barcelona City Council–Institut de Cultura de Barcelona, we released Nocturnal Landscapes: Urban Flows of Global Metropolises. The publication documents and expands upon the exhibition organized in 2019 that featured cartography by 300.000 Km/s and photography by David Schalliol. Designed by Jason Pickleman/ the JNL Graphic Design, the publication includes texts by Kota Abe, Iker Gil, Ann Lui, Pablo Martínez, Ciro Miguel, Noora Niasari, Craig Reschke, Mar Santamaria, David Schalliol, Olga Subirós, and Sumayya Vally.

Individual articles

In 2021 we continued our MAS Context Observations series featuring individual articles focused on multiple aspects of the built environment. The articles initiate or expand upon themes explored by MAS Context.

Below are the 16 articles published in 2021.

SGN: On the Utility Poles of Ho Chi Minh City
Essay and photographs by Noritaka Minami

A Dialog of Difference: Reflections on Bruce Goff’s Ford House
Texts by Petra Bachmaier, Leo Berk, Assaf Evron, Grant Gibson, Sidney K. Robinson, David Skidmore, and Mary Woolever, with introduction and photographs by Iker Gil

An Industrial Legacy Worth Saving
Text by Iker Gil

A Total Work of Art: The Salime Hydroelectric Power Plant
Text by Patxi Eguiluz and Carlos Copertone, with photographs by Carlos Copertone and translation by Iker Gil

Cooperative Housing as a Means More Than an End
Essay by Ethel Baraona Pohl

Goodbye to the Amber Glow
Essay by Ann Lui and Craig Reschke, with photographs by David Schalliol

Home and Away: The Filipino Diaspora and the Built Environment
Text and photographs by Jason Reblando

Nocturnal Landscapes in Photography: Greg Girard
David Schalliol interviews Greg Girard

Only Girl Architect Lonely
Essay by Susan F. King

Studio: Architecture’s Offering to Academe
Essay by Denise Scott Brown

Helmut Jahn (1940-2021)
Remembering architect Helmut Jahn and his work with contributions by Lynn Becker, Stuart Cohen, Rachel Cole, Nathan Eddy, Peter Exley, Iker Gil, Francisco Gonzalez Pulido, Tom Harris, Tom Lee, Margaret McCurry, Bonnie McDonald, Tom Rossiter, Zoë Ryan, and Rick Valicenti

Cartographic Evidence of Invisible Cities
Essay by Olga Subirós

2021 Chicago Women in Architecture Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award: Nancy A. Abshire
Presentation by Nancy A. Abshire during the ceremony where she was awarded the Chicago Women in Architecture Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, with introduction by architect Carol Ross Barney

A Field Guide to Sprawl Mountain: Modeling Waiting in the Landscape of Dismantled Transit
Essay and project by Joshua G. Stein

Catalog for the Post-Human
Project and text by Parsons & Charlesworth

This is not the Huarte House
Essay by Patxi Eguiluz and Carlos Copertone

Mas event 2021 domestic exploration ardmore columbus 06

Columbus House 1, CAMESgibson, Columbus, Indiana, 2020. © Adam Reynolds.


In 2021 we continued to organize most of our events virtually with participants and attendees joining us from close and afar. When it was possible and safe, we enjoyed bringing people together in person.

Below you will find the video and photographic documentation of each of the 18 events.

Domestic Explorations: Ardmore House + Columbus House 1
Lecture by Kwong Von Glinow and CAMESgibson
January 28, 2021

Pioneering Black Architects in Los Angeles and Chicago
Lecture by Janna Ireland and Lee Bey
February 11, 2021

Cooperative Ecosystems
Lecture by Cristina Gamboa with a response by Gabriel Cira and Quilian Riano
February 25, 2021

Nighttime as a Unique Territory
Lecture by Lucía Jalón Oyarzun, Will Straw, and Pablo Martínez
March 11, 2021

Sancho-Madridejos: The Space Within the Fold
Lecture by Juan Carlos Sancho and Sol Madridejos
March 25, 2021

Natalie de Blois at 100
Lecture by Gabrielle Esperdy, Carol Ross Barney, Margaret McCurry, and Jana McCann
April 2, 2021

Living Modern: Surveying Influential Houses and their Inhabitants
Lecture by Julia Jamrozik, Coryn Kempster, and Michelangelo Sabatino
April 22, 2021

Ensamble Studio: Radical Logic
Lecture by Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa
May 6, 2021

A Renewed Experimentalism: Exploring Late Modernism
Lecture by Emily Bills, Mimi Zeiger, and Chris Grimley
May 19, 2021

Charles Colbert at 100
Lecture by Francine Judd Stock, John P. Klingman, and Evan Mather
June 23, 2021

Vigilantism issue launch
Presentations by Germane Barnes, Shawhin Roudbari, Bobby Joe Smith III, Could Be Architecture, Ashley Bigham, Jennifer Bonner, and Sekou Cooke
September 18, 2021

Architecture’s Social, Ecological, and Political Agency
Lecture by Germane Barnes, Shawhin Roudbari, Future Firm, and VAPAA Collective
September 21, 2021

Medium Matters: Architectural Representation After Construction
Lecture by Tami Banh, Galen Pardee, Lydia Kallipoliti, and Joshua G. Stein
October 4, 2021

Battleship Berlin
Film screening
November 5-14, 2021

Future Landmarks: Strategies for Cultural and Architectural Preservation
Lecture by Elizabeth Blasius, Nathan Eddy, and Mark Pasnik
November 9, 2021

Tracing / Traces: Architecture and the Archive 2021
Presentations by Maya Bird-Murphy, Greg Delaney, Antonio Petrov, Fred Scharmen, and Rula Zuhour
November 13, 2021

Modernism as Character: Nathan Eddy
Film screening
December 1, 2021

Helmut Jahn: In a Flash
Film screening
December 3-19, 2021

Mas events 2021 territories of territory extraction 01

Territories of Territory Extraction, MAS Context Reading Room, Chicago, 2021. © Dan Kelleghan Photography. Courtesy of MAS Context.


Another first this year was the organization of an exhibition at our Reading Room in Chicago. Territories of Territory Extraction, on display from September 17 until October 30, showcased the work by Galen Pardee.

The work in this exhibition is drawn from the ongoing research project “Territories of Territory Extraction,” which uses Singapore’s physical growth since 1989 as a register of the international sand supply chain in Southeast Asia. Across multiple interlinked publications and a field study in Singapore, Territories of Territory Extraction explores the multiple vectors of forensic architectural analysis used to expose Singapore’s relationship with its supply chains.

Drawing together work published in Faktur Journal, PLAT, Thresholds, and others, this Reading Room is an immersive environment for investigating the material and political ties that link architecture, construction, and geopolitical maneuvering in Singapore. Projects on display investigate the history and logics of Singapore’s sand stockpiles, locate the international fleet of vessels at work dredging and transporting sand, and construct a chronological index of the origins of Singapore’s coastline reclamation megaprojects.

Territories of Territory Extraction was a partner program of the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial.