FREE Chicago Architecture Biennial Celebration – Oct-Dec

Come out with friends to enjoy the FREE Chicago Architecture Biennial, a three month long free event taking a many-faceted look at The State of the Art of Architecture with many free events city-wide.   The inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial will officially kick off on October 3. While the city’s own legacy of architectural innovation, as well as the organizer’s inclusion of practitioners and designers from around the globe, means the event will live up to its high-minded theme, State of the Art of Architecture, there are also literally hundreds of events happening throughout the city that are open to the public, accessible and often free (some programming has already begun)While other exhibitions have tended to attract government money and marquee talent aimed at addressing esoteric curatorial themes, the Chicago biennial (through Jan. 3, 2016) has staked out more straightforward territory, inviting a wider array of names simply to explore architecture that matters. Funding has come entirely from private sources, with BP, which gave $2.5 million, identified as the major sponsor.

The result is a pulse-taking of contemporary architecture as it could be—creative responses that suggest solutions to some of the intractable, quotidian challenges of our times, from housing the needy to harnessing baffling new technologies. The work of over 100 participants from 30 countries, the installations are largely free from the academic navel-gazing and Freudian rematches with postmodernism that have marred many recent architecture exhibitions. “The city of Chicago has left an indelible mark on the field of architecture, from the world’s first modern skyscraper to revolutionary urban designs,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “That’s why there’s no better host city than Chicago for this rare global event. The Chicago Architecture Biennial offers an unprecedented chance to celebrate the architectural, cultural, and design advancements that have collectively shaped our world.”

The Chicago Biennial runs October 3-January 3, 2016.  The website is a little hard to navigate. You have to keep clicking through to find info and then to look at another event you have to start all over again.  There’s also no way to search for free events.  The best way to use it go to “Public Programs” then “Calendar”.


Two great events we like:

  • November 12 – Art + Architecture: Inspiration Amplified (Farnwsworth House, 3 p.m.)
    Nothing says refined contemplation like a glass home. Take the aesthetic appreciation one step further with a concert at the Farnsworth Home in suburban Plano, featuring contemporary classical performer Mary Ellen Childs. Additional performances take place November 15 and December 12.
  • November 16 – Mies Crown Hall America Prize Lecture by Jacques Herzog (IIT College of Architecture: 6:00 p.m.)
    One of the principal’s of Herzog & de Meuron, the prize-winning Swiss firm behind the design of many renowned stadiums and museums, will discuss public architecture in one of Chicago’s most iconic academic spaces, Crown Hall.


Ongoing Exhibitions:

  • Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye (Art Institute: Through January 13)
    While rumors swirl around whether or not this talented Tanzanian-English architect will be the first foreign architect chosen to design a presidential library, Chicago can at least get a little more comfortable with his style via this career-spanning exhibition. Designed by Adjaye himself, the installation provides the first major retrospective of the now-established international talent.
  • Solarise: A Sea of All Colors (Garfield Park Conservatory: Through January 3)
    Last fall, Chicago artistic duo Luftwerk turned the iconic Farnsworth House into a thrilling light show that explored ideas of space and shadow. Their latest work, which coincides with the Biennial, transforms the sprawling Garfield Park Conservatory, a cold-weather refuge for Chicagoans, into a light-filled playground.
  • Richard Meier: Process and Vision (2223 South Thropp Street: Through January 30)
    The Pritzker winner has made a career out of designing stunning white structures, such as the Smith House and Getty Center, but this retrospective collection offers a look at Meier’s stylistic evolution.
  • Lessons From Modernism: Environmental Design Strategies in Architecture 1925-1970 (Elmhurst College: Through November 29)
    While seeing this exhibit at the suburban college is a bit of a drive, it’s worth it. The celebrated show, first staged at Cooper Union, examines how nature and the environment influence architecture, using the work of exemplary architects such as Le Corbusier, Jean Prouvé and Oscar Niemeyer as case studies.


Inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial Participants: 

  • Al Borde (Quito, Ecuador)
  • all(zone) (Bangkok, Thailand)
  • Andreas Angelidakis (Athens, Greece)
  • Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation (Madrid, Spain; New York, United States)
  • Aranda\Lasch (Tucson and New York, United States)
  • Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu (Gent, Belgium)
  • Assemble (London, United Kingdom)
  • Atelier Bow-Wow (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Iwan Baan (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Baukuh (Milan, Italy)
  • Besler & Sons + ATLV (Los Angeles, United States)
  • Tatiana Bilbao S.C. (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group (Copenhagen, Denmark; New York, United States)
  • Santiago Borja (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • David Brown with 3D Design Studio, Central Standard Office of Design, Ania Jaworska, Krueck+Sexton, Landon Bone Baker, Stanley Tigerman, Margaret McCurry, JGMA, JAHN (Chicago, United States)
  • Carlos Bunga (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Bureau Spectacular (Los Angeles, United States)
  • SOM + CAMESgibson (Chicago, United States)
  • Counterspace (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • Csutoras & Liando (Jakarta, Indonesia; London, United Kingdom)
  • DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency) (Beit Sahour, Palestinian Territories)
  • Design With Company (Chicago, United States)
  • Environmental Communications (Los Angeles, United States); Mark Wasiuta, Marcos Sanchez, Adam Bandler + GSAPP Exhibitions (New York, United States)
  • El Equipo de Mazzanti + Nicolas París (Bogota, Colombia)
  • Assaf Evron (Chicago, United States; Tel Aviv, Israel)
  • Fake Industries Architectural Agonism + University of Technology, Sydney (New York, United States; Sydney, Australia)
  • Fala Atelier (Porto, Portugal)
  • Ramak Fazel (Los Angeles, United States)
  • Frida Escobedo Taller de Arquitectura (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Didier Faustino (Paris, France)
  • Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zürich (Zürich, Switzerland) + Self Assembly Lab, MIT (Cambridge, United States)
  • Nikolaus Hirsch/Michel Müller (Frankfurt, Germany) with David Adjaye (London, United Kingdom), Markus Binder (Stuttgart, Germany), Bollinger + Grohmann Ingenieure (Frankfurt, Germany), Aroon Puritat & Chayanon Hansapinyo & Sumeth Klahan (Chiang Mai, Thailand), Tobias Rehberger (Frankfurt, Germany), Tomás Saraceno (Berlin, Germany), Superflex (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Hinterlands Urbanism and Landscape (Chicago, United States)
  • Moon Hoon (Seoul, Korea)
  • Independent Architecture (Denver, United States)+ Paul Preissner Architects (Chicago, United States) John Ronan Architects (Chicago, United States)
  • Johnston Marklee (Los Angeles, United States)
  • junya.ishigami+associates (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Barbara Kasten (Chicago, United States)
  • Kéré Architecture (Berlin, Germany)
  • Kuehn Malvezzi (Berlin, Germany) + Armin Linke (Milan, Italy; Berlin, Germany) + Marko Lulić (Vienna, Austria)
  • Anne Lacaton & Jean-Philippe Vassal + Frédéric Druot (Paris, France)
  • Yasmeen Lari + Heritage Foundation Pakistan (Karachi, Pakistan)
  • Lateral Office (Toronto, Canada)
  • LCLA Office (Cambridge, United States; Medellín, Colombia)
  • LIST (Paris, France)
  • MAIO (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Makeka Design Lab (Cape Town, South Africa)
  • Mass Studies (Seoul, Korea)
  • MOS Architects (New York, United States)
  • New-Territories / M4 (Paris, France; Bangkok, Thailand)
  • NLÉ (Lagos, Nigeria; Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Noero Architects (Cape Town, South Africa)
  • Norman Kelley (Chicago and New York, United States)
  • OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen (Brussels, Belgium) + Bas Princen (Rotterdam, Netherlands) onishimaki + hyakudayuki architects (Tokyo, Japan)
  • OPEN Architecture (Beijing, China) + Spirit of Space (Chicago, United States)
  • otherothers (Sydney, Australia)
  • P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S (Los Angeles, United States)
  • Michael Pecirno (London, United Kingdom)
  • Pedro&Juana (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Concepción, Chile)
  • PIOVENEFABI (Milan, Italy)
  • Plan:b Arquitectos (Medellín, Colombia)
  • Point Supreme (Athens, Greece)
  • PORT Urbanism (Chicago, United States)
  • PRODUCTORA (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • RAAAF [Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances] (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Pedro Reyes (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • Bryony Roberts (Los Angeles, United States) + South Shore Drill Team (Chicago, United States)
  • RUA Arquitetos (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Rural Urban Framework (Hong Kong)
  • Tomás Saraceno (Berlin, Germany)
  • David Schalliol (Chicago, United States)
  • selgascano + helloeverything (Madrid, Spain)
  • Deane Simpson (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Sio2arch (Chicago, United States; Barcelona, Spain)
  • Smout Allen (London, United Kingdom) + Geoff Manaugh (New York, United States)
  • SO-IL (New York, United States)
  • Sou Fujimoto Architects (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Stefano Boeri Architetti (Milan, Italy)
  • Studio Albori (Milan, Italy)
  • Studio [D] Tale (Harare, Zimbabwe; Cape Town, South Africa; London, United Kingdom)
  • Studio Gang (Chicago, United States)
  • TOMA (Santiago, Chile)
  • UrbanLab (Chicago, United States)
  • URBZ (Mumbai, India)
  • Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
  • WAI Architecture Think Tank (Beijing, China)
  • WEATHERS with AECOM (Chicago, United States)
  • Amanda Williams (Chicago, United States)
  • Wolff Architects (Cape Town, South Africa)
  • WORKac + Ant Farm (New York, United States)
  • Liam Young (London, United Kingdom)

All participants will present their architectural work as part of the Biennial exhibition, which will occupy the Chicago Cultural Center, as well as additional sites across the city: Millennium Park, City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower, 72 E. Randolph, and the Stony Island Arts Bank, the latest initiative of acclaimed Chicago social practice artist Theaster Gates.

You can learn more about the event on its official website, here

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