Chicago Architecture Biennial

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Chicago Architecture Biennial
Neoclassical cultural center exterior
Chicago Cultural Center during the first Chicago Architecture Biennial
Status Active
Genre Architecture exhibition
Dates September – January
Frequency Biennially
Venue Chicago Cultural Center
Location(s) Chicago
Years active 4
Founded June, 2014
Next event 2019 − 2020
Participants International, invited architects
Attendance 500,000 – 550,000
Patron(s) American Institute of Architects; Chicago Architecture Foundation; various public and private corporations and foundations
Organised by Chicago Architecture Biennial, Inc.
Sponsor City of Chicago; Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

The Chicago Architecture Biennial is an international exhibition of architectural ideas, projects and displays. It seeks "to provide[] a platform for groundbreaking architectural projects and spatial experiments that demonstrate how creativity and innovation can radically transform our lived experience."[1][2] Founded in 2014, the biennial is managed by a charitable corporation under the auspices of the city's Cultural Affairs department, and sponsored by public and private organizations and individuals.


The first of its kind in North America, the first iteration of the biennale took place in Chicago between October, 2015 and January, 2016, and was headquartered at the Chicago Cultural Center.[3] Its first directors were Sarah Herda and Joseph Grima. The 2015-16 biennial had entries from 104 architects or practices. The exhibitors were invitees, many from North America and Europe, but also from Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Israel, Japan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, South Africa, and South Korea. The theme of this biennial was The State of the Art of Architecture.[4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11][12] [13] [14] The title of the first biennial originates from a 1977 conference organized by Chicago architect Stanley Tigerman, which invited leading American designers to Chicago to discuss the current state of the field.[15] The first biennial announced it had more than 500,000 visitors, and plans for its return in 2017.[16][17]

The second iteration was in 2017 with the theme Make New History, and ran from September 16, 2017, through January 7, 2018 [18][19] The lead curators were Mark Lee and Sharon Johnson of Johnson Marklee. Associate curators include Sarah Hearne and Letizia Garzoli. The opening coincided with EXPO Chicago, the international contemporary art fair.[20][21] More than 100 architectural practices from the Americas, Asia and Europe were selected to participate.[22] In addition to the main site at the Cultural Center, the biennial partnered with the Chicago Community Trust to hold 2017 events at six satellite locations in other parts of Chicago: The Beverly Arts Center, DePaul Art Museum, DuSable Museum of African American History, Hyde Park Art Center, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.[23] The second biennial drew a crowd of 550,000 and dates for a third biennial beginning in September 2019 were announced.[24]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Bagnato, Andrea, et al., eds. (2015). State of the Art of Architecture. Lars Muller Publishers. ISBN 9783037784754. 
  • Johnston, Sharon, et al., eds. (2017). Make New History. Lars Muller Publishers. ISBN 9783037785355. 

External links[edit]

Official website


  1. ^ "About". 
  2. ^ Iovine, Julie V. (October 19, 2015). "Chicago Architecture Biennial Review". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  3. ^ Mortice, Zach (September 21, 2015). "Chicago Architecture Biennial Preview". Architectural Record. 
  4. ^ Hruska, Jordan (October 6, 2015). "Four Picks From the Chicago Architecture Biennial". New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2015. 
  5. ^ Balch, Nicola (October 19, 2015). "Signs for the times: Chicago Architecture Biennial 2015". ArchitectureAU. 
  6. ^ Kamin, Blair (October 6, 2015). "Chicago Architectural Biennial draws crowds, mixed reviews". Chicago Tribune. 
  7. ^ Wainwright, Oliver (October 5, 2015). "Chicago Architecture Biennial secures the city's place as a mecca for building buffs". The Guardian. 
  8. ^ AD Editorial Team (October 8, 2015). "15 Must-See Installations at the Chicago Architecture Biennial". ArchDaily. 
  9. ^ Lynch, Patrick (October 9, 2015). "Critics Take On "The State of the Art of Architecture" in Chicago". ArchDaily. 
  10. ^ Bozikovic, Alex (October 29, 2015). "Chicago Architecture Biennial plays host to a sprawling exhibition of ideas". The Globe and Mail. 
  11. ^ Hawthorne, Christopher (October 9, 2015). "In Chicago, an ambitious biennial for architecture banishes the stars and anoints a new generation". Los Angeles Times. 
  12. ^ Beanland, Christopher (October 5, 2015). "Chicago: City of skyscrapers, Mies Van Der Rohe, and now an Architectural Biennial". The Independent. 
  13. ^ Mortice, Zach (October 6, 2015). "10 Highlights from the Chicago Architecture Biennial". 
  14. ^ Heathcote, Edwin (October 29, 2015). "Chicago broadens its horizons with architecture biennial". Financial Times. Retrieved October 30, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial attracts over half a million visitors in 2015". 
  16. ^ Kamin, Blair (January 6, 2016). "Chicago architecture biennial attendance figures released". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 8, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Chicago launches its first Architecture Biennial". January 3, 2016. Retrieved January 8, 2016. 
  18. ^ Moore, Rowan (2017-09-24). "Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017: how to improve on history". The Guardian. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2017-10-01. 
  19. ^ "15 Must-See Installations at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial". ArchDaily. 2017-09-22. Retrieved 2017-12-11. 
  20. ^ "Chicago Architecture Biennial announces 2017 artistic directors". Architects Newspaper. Retrieved 2016-12-11. 
  21. ^ "Johnston Marklee tackle the "tyranny of newness" in 2017's Chicago Architecture Biennial". Archinect. 
  22. ^ "Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017 participants announced". The Architect's Newspaper. Retrieved 2017-04-17. 
  23. ^ "The Chicago Architecture Biennial to partner with six museums and institutions to get visitors to explore beyond downtown Chicago". Archinect. Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  24. ^ "Chicago says architecture event drew 550K participants". WLS-AM 890. Associated Press. 2018-01-16. Retrieved 2018-01-16.