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Eric Ellingsen

Eric Ellingsen aims to develop collective and individual imaginations through process-oriented work, perception, and action-based research across the fields of landscape architecture, architecture, and art. He founded Species of Space (SOS) in 2009, implementing tools from many different bodies of knowledge to create spatial narratives entangling experimentation and pedagogy as art forms. Through the design of site- and institution-specific works, he advocates for a living-learning agency, which involves growing spatial languages and the ability to translate meanings and values across disciplines. Through the design and choreography of situations, encounters, public art installations, curation, poetry, walks, and performances, Ellingsen seeks to construct alternative ways of perceiving and using public spaces that empower communities and citizens as agents in the design and self-determination of their own spaces, stories, and lives.

From 2009-2014, Ellingsen co-directed and taught at the Institute for Spatial Experiments, a five-year education project started by artist Olafur Eliasson, affiliated with the Berlin University of the Arts. During his time there, Ellingsen worked to cultivate new critical spatial modes, methods, and models for teaching and practice. He has served as the assistant director of the Master of Landscape Architecture program and visiting assistant professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Previous teaching appointments include the Mitchell Visiting Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, visiting critic at Cornell University, and lecturer at the University of Toronto.

Ellingsen earned master’s degrees in landscape architecture and architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a master’s degree in classical philosophy from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. Recent and forthcoming publications include Twisted (Broken Dimanche Press, 2017), GAM. 13: Spatial Expeditions (Graz Architecture Press, 2016), Some Pigeons Are More Equal Than Others (Lars Muller Publishers, 2015), MODELS, 306090 (Princeton Architecture Press, 2008), BOMB online, World Literature Today, and Forty-Five, a journal of outside research.

Ellingsen works and exhibits internationally, including at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and the Sullivan Galleries in Chicago, and has been involved in a long-term collaboration with Ethiopian poets, musicians, and artists. He received an ARTECITYA artist residency (Thessaloniki, Greece) in 2016, a Library of Water residency in Iceland in 2014, and two Graham Foundation grants to individuals in 2012 and 2014. In 2017, Ellingsen and his partner, Lynn Peemoeller, cofounded LEEPWORKS, an experiential education design practice for urban connections therapy.

Work by Eric Ellingsen

Group of people wearing cylindrical sound pieces as headwear approaching a pink colored house installation at the Contemporary Art Museum

"Toolshed” and Public “Walkshops"

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, summer 2019; Phase 1 of the “Sound of Segregation”; Divided Cities grant, Mellon Foundation. 
Aerial view of three-leveled tiered seating in a cylindrical pattern made of wood

Caring is Acting

Design-build of social infrastructure as parliament of reality; 2013, Institute For Spatial Experimentation; Temporary school in Templehof Airfield part of “The World in not Fair worlds fair”.
A drawing using symbols related to sound stretched over a set distance

Perceving Academy, Cyprus edition, 2018

Two-week long commissioned academy directed by Eric Ellingsen; image of group produced, 3km sound map through the UN Buffer Zone, Nicosia; E.K.E.T.E. and EU.
A series of four pictures taken from a public performance

Perceving Academy, Iceland edition, 2016

Two-week long commissioned academy comprised of graduate students from 9 departments including engineering, art, architecture and humanities. Image from final public performance.
Public art piece making constructions with red tubes on a public plaza.

Perceiving Academy, Thessaloniki edition, 2017

Two-week long public academy in partnership with mayor, municipality, Resilient Cities initiative, ArtBox, Goethe Institute, and Artecitya. Image from final public performance and installation.
Wooden perforated structures arranged around a long rectangular planter in a spherical formation with a pathway through and open overhead

Perceiving Academy, Chicago edition, 2015

Three-month long commissioned installation and public programming. Image of the social infrastructure designed for the academy. 
A collaged drawing of various sketches involving topics of adventure and play in Chicago

Adventure Playground, May-Sep 2016

Design commissioned for the exhibition: 50 Ideas, 50 designers, 50 wards – Chicago Architecture Foundation.


(Community partner) The Griot Museum of Black History
(Monument design team) Lois D. Conley, Eric Ellingsen, Precious Musa, Erika D. Neal, De Nichols, Tracy Williams, Alana Marie Woodson.
(Supported by) Monument Lab | Mellon Foundation RE:GENERATION grant

Image credits
(left) Graphic narrative by Eric Ellingsen, with assistance from Wei Hui (2022)
(center) Rendering by Eric Ellingsen, with assistants from Chinh Pham and Wei Hui (2022).
(right) Interpretive Center rendering by Eric Ellingsen, with assistance from Chinh Pham (2021).


TOOL SHED (Sound of Segregation),, 2019

(Community partners) Samaritan United Methodist Church, Third Baptist Church, and other CAM neighbors.
(Organized for the) Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator; Alex Elmestad, Director of Learning and Engagement; and Misa Jeffereis, Assistant Curator.
(Supported by) The Divided City, an urban humanities initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a joint project of the Center for the Humanities and the Sam Fox School, College of Architecture and Urban Design at Washington University in St. Louis.
(Project partners) Dr John Baugh, Neo Muyanga, & Dr Casey O’Callaghan.
(Special thanks to) KDHX & National Blues Museum.

Image credits
(left) Tool Shed north side (photo by Dusty Kessler)
(center) Walkshop #1, south side of tool shed (photo by Lauren McDaniel and Eric Ellingsen)
(right) Walkshop #1 (photo by Lauren McDaniel and Eric Ellingsen)


TWISTED, 2010/2023

(left) Christina Twist 2010, by Eric Ellingsen. Discarded plastic bindings found on the ground of the Mercato, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and twisted into a landscape pavilion proposal.
(right) I stand here turning still (with “Z” and “S” twist diagram), photo by Eric Ellingsen and Lynn Peemoeller; photo-diagram
Book  02


Published by Twisted Press, St Louis, 2017.
Softback: 128 pages; 11 x 4.25 in
Graphic Design: FUK (Form and Concept)
Limited art edition 125 (+25AP)
Book  03


Co-edited by Julius von Bismarck, Julian Charrière, Eric Ellingsen
Published by Lars Müller Publishers, Zürich, Switzerland, 2015.
Graphic Design: Heimann und Schwantes
Hardback: 176 pages, 78 illustrations; 21 x 24,7 cm, 8 ¼ x 9 ¾ in
ISBN: 978-3-03778-465-5
Book  04

MODELS, 306090 , 2008

Princeton Architectural Press; First Edition (January 30, 2008)
Co-edited by Emily Abruzzo, Eric Ellingsen, Johnathan D. Solomon
Graphic Design: Thumb, Luke Bulman and Jessica Young
Paperback: ‎ 248 pages with illustrations; 7.75 x 0.75 x 10.25 inches
English. ISBN-10: ‎ 156898734X
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1568987347


(left) The Wall, Urban Score, translation of Ai Qing in Paris (2014), 30’x 18”; paper, pencil, thread.
(middle) Paysage, Urban Score translated into island landscape (2023), with assistance from Wei Hui.
(bottom) Its not saying what it says it says and that too (walking translation). Photo in Little Havana, Miami, FL. (Photo by Lynn Peemoeller and Eric Ellingsen, 2012).
Its not saying what it says it says and that too translation first published in Puerto del Sol, (2013)


(top) Omnivorously Open (the Block & pseudo public paths), drawing by Eric Ellingsen (2023), with assistance from Wei Hui.
(middle) Poem Path Halliday, by Eric Ellingsen (2021), drawing with assistance from Wei Hui.
(bottom) Bird on the “S” stone, photo by Eric Ellingsen (2023).
Book  01edit


Co-editor (with Institut für Raumexperimente e.V., Berlin)
Published by Koenig Books, London, 2019.
Hardback: 256 pages; 22.0 cm x 33.0 cm
Amharic, English, and German
Graphic Design: BASICS09
ISBN: 978-3-86335-713-9.


(top image) PERCEIVING ACADEMY, CYPRUS, Urban Sound Score, composed and directed by Eric Ellingsen, 2018-2021. Eleven Perceiving Academy participants of the participant selected at least three urban elements that repeat in a 3km loop in Nicosia, and were asked to map the frequency and intervals of those urban elements as systems. Together, the map is a loop moving through both the North and the sound side of the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus. The path starts and ends at the UN Buffer Zone, Famagusta Gate. To determine the route, each person is asked to stay as close to the UN Buffer Zone as possible while walking along public streets and spaces. Along the way, landscape urbanism rhythms emerge as each person assigns notation marks for each of the urban elements. Notations are compiled and collectively transferred into one Urban Sound Score by Eric Ellingsen. This score guided individually designed performances for the closing walk and public choir. For the record, each participant made audio recordings in a professional sound studio. The individual tracks were layered and looped into a sound path, and lathed into limited edition vinyl records.

(curators/creative directors) Katerina Neophytidou, Katina Kosta
(collaborators/partners) E.K.A.T.E. CYPRUS CHAMBER OF FINE ARTS
(EΠIMEΛHTHPIO KAΛΩN TEXNΩN KYΠPOY); European Mediterranean Art Association – EMAA; The Cultural Services of the Cyprus Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports
(Production team) Marcus Papageorgiou & AV Playroom Sound Recording Studios

(bottom image) PERCEIVING ACADEMY, THESSALONIKI (2016-2018). The Perceiving Academy curriculum included walks led by experts on various knowledge fields, centered around the way in which we see and perceive the city as space, as well as on how we co-develop structures and relations within it. As a reaction to their walks, the participants designed, constructed and publicly presented a series of temporary sculptures-interventions-structures that functioned as a point of convergence within public space, a place for meetings and debates, a starting point for renegotiating the interpretation and use of urban landscape.

(curators/creative directors) Christos Savvidis, Lydia Chatziiakovou
(scientific expert) Dr. Sotirios Bahtsetzis
(collaborators/partners) Mayor and Municipality of Thessaloniki, Greece; Goethe-Institut, Thessaloniki; ArtBOX (creative arts management); Thessaloniki International Fair – Helexpo SA