Taubman College Alumnus among “My Detroit” Postcard Photo Contest Winners for 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale

Derek Chang, M.Arch ’15, is among the winners of the “My Detroit” Postcard Photo Contest, part of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale U.S. Pavilion exhibition. Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon, co-curators of The Architectural Imagination, the U.S. exhibition for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, revealed the winning photographs at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit (MOCAD) during a talk about the exhibition, which presents twelve new speculative projects for Detroit.

Twenty images by 18 individuals were selected as winners. The 463 entries were reviewed by photographer and sociologist Camilo José Vergara, who has photographed Detroit since 1985, and Davidson.They looked for photos that were individually striking but, when grouped with the other winning images, helped tell a larger story about Detroit today.

“Detroit has a rich culture and history to draw from as we work toward creating a vibrant future,” said Robert Fishman, University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning interim dean and professor. “The photos recognized in the postcard contest are a reflection of Detroit over time that we are excited to share with the world.”

Chang’s photo features Belle Isle Aquarium, part of Belle Isle Park in the Detroit River. Designed by architect Albert Kahn, the aquarium opened in 1904 and was the oldest continually operating public aquarium in North America when it closed in 2005. The aquarium reopened to the public in 2012.

“Belle Isle Aquarium, 2013” copyright Derek Chang, New York, N.Y.

The winning photos in the “My Detroit” contest will be printed as postcards and distributed at the 2016 Venice Biennale, May 28 – November 27, 2016.

“The twenty photographs to be printed as postcards will help us tell the exhibition visitor short stories about life in Detroit,” Davidson said. “These views of the city will complement the work of the architects at the U.S. Pavilion in Venice.”

Ten of the 18 winners are Detroit-area residents. Winners will receive a prize of $100 for each winning photo. The postcard photos will also be published in the exhibition catalog and shared and credited on The Architectural Imagination website.

In addition to Chang, one additional winner has a tie to Taubman College: Lecturer Erik Herrmann of Ann Arbor, Michigan.


The Architectural Imagination “My Detroit” Photo Contest Winners:

  • Sara Jane Boyers, Santa Monica, CA
  • Derek Chang, New York, NY
  • Jon DeBoer, Royal Oak, MI
  • DelVillano Family, Detroit, MI
  • Jennifer Garza-Cuen, Reno, NV
  • Geoff George, Detroit, MI
  • Erik Herrmann, Ann Arbor, MI \
  • Julie Huff, Detroit, MI
  • William McGraw, Dearborn, MI
  • Ayana T. Miller, Detroit, MI
  • Ben Nowak, Oak Park, MI
  • Kevin Robishaw, Detroit, MI
  • Salvador Rodriguez, Saint Clair Shores, MI
  • Harrell Scarcello, Southfield, MI
  • Sue Shoemaker, Brown City, MI
  • John Sobczak, Bloomfield, MI
  • Cigdem Talu, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Corine Vermeulen, Hamtramck, MI

The Architectural Imagination is an exhibition of new speculative architectural projects designed for specific sites in Detroit but with far-reaching applications for cities around the world. It will open to the public in the U.S. Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. The U.S. Department of State has selected the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan to organize the exhibition of the United States Pavilion in the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.  Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon are Co-Curators of the U.S. Pavilion.

For more information about the postcard selection process:

For more information about The Architectural Imagination: