art + design

The Chicago Architecture Biennial Returns

Almost everything you could learn about architecture in Chicago


SEPTEMBER 2017 – Chicago has long been a leader in the world’s architecture. Some of the most important and iconic buildings and builders helped develop this city and scholars and architecture lovers have long come to Chicago to learn. Names like Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, John Wellborn Root, Daniel Burnham and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe have gone down in history as some of the most important people to develop Chicago and influence design the world over. Modern architects — whether local or international — like Jeanne Gang, Stanley Tigerman, Renzo Piano, Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas continue to take Chicago to new heights, literally and figuratively, when it comes to residential and commercial design.

And while much of Chicago’s architectural spotlight had been on older structures and foundations, it’s times to celebrate all things new. For its second Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB), running from Sept. 16 through Jan. 18, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events will host “Make New History.” The city will welcome more than 140 participants from 20-plus countries to showcase, discuss, explore, interact and so much more around all things architecture.

While the Chicago Cultural Center will serve as the home base for the CAB, events, talks, demonstrations and more will occur throughout the city over the next few months — and even up to Wisconsin at the S.C. Johnson Headquarters, which Wright designed decades ago. Even the Chicago Athletic Association hotel, just down Michigan Avenue from the Cultural Center, will get involved. The hotel will host the Unsolicited Sideshow, a pop-up series that will celebrate the architecture world’s oddballs and explore how the contemporary condition of “otherness” informs architectural expression. The pop-up will feature an array of sandwich boards on the property’s first floor from Sept. 16 to Oct. 15. Stay tuned to hear about some events we’ll announce for November.

Looking for even more insight into how best to navigate the Biennial? The CAB wrote up a great post that highlights some of the best programming that will take place. You can read all about it and plan your visits.

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