Could Be Design is a Chicago and Urbana-based design practice directed by Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison. We design seriously playful spaces that build solidarity among multiple communities.

We work across scales, including designs for interiors, public art, installations, exhibits, furniture, costumes, and publications. We are practitioners and academics, equally invested in built pragmatics and speculative research. We are also citizens and artists, committed at once to public engagement and aesthetic ambitions. Through our work, we aim to create architecture that tells stories, builds audiences, resonates with people’s emotions, and instigates enthusiasm around the activities and imagery that it stages. Fueled by a collaborative adventure with clients, consultants, colleagues, and civic leaders, we position architecture as an active character in the world, enacting a future full of wonder, humor, color, and delight. Follow our adventures on Instagram.

Could Be Design's work has been exhibited at Art Basel | Miami Art week, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Elmhurst Art Museum. Recent recognition includes Metropolis magazine's 'New Talent' feature and Architect magazine's 'Next Progressives' feature.

Could Be Design is founding artistic director of the Chicago Sukkah Design Festival. Could Be Design also publishes SOILED, a mashup of a literary journal and design magazine that narrates a playfully sincere and seriously humorous exploration of oft-overlooked dimensions of our built environment.


Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison

Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison are architectural designers, educators, curators, and writers. They offer over 20 years of experience working on residential, commercial, cultural, and civic projects. Joseph is an assistant professsor of architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Zack has taught at the University of Kentucky, and he was a masterclass teaching fellow at Lawrence Technological University. Their writing has been published widely in journals including Log, MAS Context, Pidgin, and Plat. Both partners hold Master of Architecture degrees from Rice University.

Current Team Members: Efrain Araujo

Former Team Members: Lily Hernandez

Design Collaborators: Nilay Mistry, Nekita Thomas, Via Chicago, Cosmo Design Factory, Lizi Breit, Myles Emmons, Chelsea Ross, Darrell McKinney, Katanya Raby, Ladi Famodu, Latent Design, Matthew Harlan, Maya Bird-Murphy and Chicago Mobile Makers, Norman Teague. Photo by Steven Koch.

Selected Press & Awards

6.23.2022 — Metropolis: Could Be Architecture Says Friendly Design Makes Us Kinder Humans
3.07.2022 — Newcity: Could Be Architecture named #15 in "Design 50 2022: The Fifty People Who Shape Chicago"
2.09.2022 — Bloomberg CityLab: "Chicago’s Bungalows Are Where the City Comes Together"
2.03.2022 — Architecture with Stewart: "That Time the Sears Tower Had a Face"
10.15.2021 — AIA Chicago 2021 Design Excellence Awards: Roberta Feldman Architecture for Social Justice Award honorable mention
6.04.2021 — Chicago Tribune: "Op-ed: The Thompson Center: a retrospective from the future"
4.21.2021 — Ricker Report: "Could Be Architecture" interview with Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison
9.22.2020 — "IU Northwest debuts pop-up art galleries in local communities"
9.18.2020 — Times of Northwest Indiana: "IUN's Mobile Arts + Action Community Lab to start popping up across Region"
7.03.2020 — Newcity: "Design Top 5: April 2020"
4.02.2020 — AN Interior: "Messing w/ Mies: Could Be Architecture’s installation riffs on Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House"
3.13.2020 — Newcity: "A Party Along the Parti: Could Be Architecture Transforms the McCormick House"
3.04.2020 — Architect magazine: "Next Progressives"
2.14.2020 — WDCB The Arts Section: "Elmhurst Art Museum Welcomes Could Be Architecture"
1.29.2020 — WGN News: "Around Town checks out the Elmhurst Art Museum"
10.09.2019 — Block Club Chicago: "Maxwell Street Market Celebration Marks Both Jewish New Year and the Impending Sukkot"
5.06.2019 — Chicago Architecture Club: "2018 Chicago Prize Winners"
4.21.2019 — Disruptive Design: "ADU: Alternative Domestic Utility" (with Ladipo Famodu, Katanya Raby, and Norman Teague)
3.22.2019 — Suckerpunch Daily: "Twisted Hippo"
11.17.2017 — Pulp #29: "Chicago: Interview with Joseph Altshuler"
8.23.2017 — Architect's Newspaper: "Architectural 'sideshow' to run alongside the Chicago Architecture Biennial"

Things We Design

  • interiors
  • public spaces
  • signage
  • sets and scenography
  • furniture
  • exhibits
  • installations
  • environmental graphics
  • publications
  • happenings

Send us a message to learn more about working with us!