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Chicago artist Theaster Gates, who turned a decrepit neo-classical bank building into a cultural hub called the Stony Island Arts Bank, will be among the participants of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial that opens in September.

Joined by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, leaders of the biennial, which bills itself as North America’s largest exhibition of architecture and design, on Thursday announced the initial list of 51 participants for this year’s event. The contributors hail from five continents. Unlike Gates, whose arts bank was a highlight of the first biennial in 2015, many are little known to the broader public. But like him, they focus on socially conscious design.

Among them are the MASS Design Group, which has offices in Boston and Rwanda; Wolff Architects of Cape Town, South Africa; and London’s Forensic Architecture, which is collaborating with Chicago’s Invisible Institute, a South Side journalism production company.