Chicago Preview

We Know How to Order.
Courtesy respective galleries

Starting October 3, over 100 designers convene for a full-on architecture biennial in Chicago that will take over most of the city’s cultural venues with what is the largest survey of contemporary architecture in North America. Architects from around the world will exhibit, examine, and discuss the Biennial’s theme, “The State of the Art of Architecture.” Here are our editor’s picks for the can’t-miss things to see at this year’s Biennial.

Chicago Cultural Center.

Main Exhibition

Chicago Architecture Biennial
Through January 3, 2016
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington Street

The main venue of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Chicago Cultural Center is a five-story Beaux Arts building in the center of downtown Chicago. The Biennial will fill the galleries and public spaces and will be the first time that the entire building has been dedicated to a single curatorial project.

BOLD: Alternative Scenarios for Chicago.

BOLD: Alternative Scenarios for Chicago
Through January 3, 2016
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington Street

The only exhibition in the Chicago Cultural Center will be organized by local architect Iker Gil of MAS Studio. BOLD will bring together Chicago architects to showcase alternative development scenarios for the city using film, photography, and mapping. There will also be studio visits and proposals exhibited by a variety of firms.

James Wines: Drawings.

Solo Shows

James Wines: Drawings
Through October 30, 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
118 N Peoria Street

James Wines—of SITE fame—will show drawings from his collection that features more than 150 architecture, landscape, interior, and exhibition projects.


BMO Harris Bank Chicago Works: Ania Jaworska
Through January 31, 2016 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
220 E Chicago Avenue

In her first solo exhibition, UIC faculty Ania Jaworska creates a site-specific installation of black sculptures that reference quotidian architectural elements such as arches, obelisks, gates, and signs.

Left to right: Barbara Kasten: Stages; Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye; Varieties of Useful Experience by James Hyde.

Barbara Kasten: Stages
Through January 9, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Graham Foundation
4 West Burton Place

Barbara Kasten: Stages is an exhibition of her influential photographic work that manipulated light, and architectural form.

Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye
Through January 3, 2016 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 S Michigan Ave

The first major museum show for David Adjaye, this mid-career retrospective offers a look into his distinct approach and visual language, and features a dynamic installation design by Adjaye Associates.

Varieties of Useful Experience by James Hyde
Through October 17 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
845 W Washington Boulevard, Chicago

This exhibition presents chairs, paintings, tables, handles, frescos, sculptures, and lighting. Hyde uses an array of materials: steel, linen, home brewed paint, industrial enamel, vinyl, styrofoam, hand-blown glass, 2 x 4s, fine mahogany, plexiglass, and photographs.

Cent Pavilion.


School Kiosks

In collaboration with architects, three Chicago architecture schools have each designed a permanent kiosk that will be installed along the lakeshore in Millennium Park through the duration of the Biennial.

Cent Pavilion

Pezo von Ellrichshausen with Illinois Institute of Technology

The Cent Pavilion—a 40-foot tower of silent and convoluted simplicity—was designed by Chilean architecture firm Pezo von Ellrichshausen with the Illinois Institute of Technology.



Kunlé Adeyemi with The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Rock is a pop-up pavilion—a public sculpture—composed from the raw and historic limestone blocks that once protected the city’s shoreline.

Summer Vault

Paul Preissner and Paul Anderson with University of Illinois at Chicago School of Architecture

Summer Vault consists of basic geometric shapes—a 12-foot-diameter barrel vault, a parallelogram, triangles—that create a freestanding hangout.


Lakefront Kiosk Competition—Chicago Horizon


Titled Chicago Horizon, Ultramoderne’s kiosk is a quest to build the biggest possible flat wood roof.

Left to right: It’s Elemental; 2015 Burnham Prize Competition: Currencies of Architecture.

Partner Exhibitions

It’s Elemental

Through January 3, 2016, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
6018 N Kenmore Avenue

Elemental looks at the same elements as Rem Koolhaas’s 2014 Venice Architectural Biennale exhibition The Elements of Architecture: the floor, wall, ceiling, window, facade, corridor, door, stair, etc. through the lens of different artists.

2015 Burnham Prize Competition: Currencies of Architecture
Through January 4, 2016, 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Chicago Architecture Foundation
224 S Michigan Avenue

Chicago Architectural Club’s 2015 Burnham Prize explores the question: What is the state of the art of architecture today?

Left to right: Chicago Interiors; Solarise: A Sea of All Colors; Vacancy: Urban Interruption & (RE)Generation.

Chicago Interiors
October 15 – December 12, 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Averill & Bernard Leviton A+D Gallery
619 S Wabash Avenue

Chicago Interiors addresses extraordinary interior spaces in Chicago as presented through notes, models, and material boards.


Through January 3, 2016 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
150 N Michigan Avenue #200

The project Weltstadt – Who creates the city? asks who really creates the city today and who will shape its future?

Solarise: A Sea of All Colors
Through September 22, 2016, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N Central Park Avenue

Solarise: a sea of all colors is Luftwerk’s site-specific installation in the Garfield Park Conservatory’s historic structure and natural collection.

Vacancy: Urban Interruption & (RE)Generation

September 14 – November 14, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Glass Curtain Gallery
1104 S Wabash Avenue, Chicago

Vacancy is a collection of site-responsive projects around the city led by Andres Hernandez, Emmanuel Pratt, Amanda Williams and their collaborators.

Left to right: Next Up: Chicago Architecture Biennial Participant Presentations; Imaginary Worlds.


Next Up: Chicago Architecture Biennial Participant Presentations
October 3, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington Street Chicago

A variety of Chicago Architecture Biennial participants will discuss their work, which ranges from social activism to technological futurism.

Imaginary Worlds
November 13, 6:00 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington Street

Two cartoonists (Edie Fake and Keiler Roberts) and two architects from the UIC School of Architecture (Ania Jaworska and Sam Jacob) discuss the links between comics and architecture, including imaginary and real worlds.

Left to right: Designed to Eat; International Perspectives on Chicago and the Future of Urban Change.

Designed to Eat

December 4, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington Street

“Designed to Eat” pairs a chef and an architect and challenges them to design a dish. The two arts share common themes like togetherness and nostalgia.

International Perspectives on Chicago and the Future of Urban Change
October 1, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago, the Architecture & Design Society, Van Alen Institute’s International Council and the Chicago Architecture Biennial host this conversation between international architects and urban thinkers on cities.

Superpowers of Ten.


Superpowers of Ten

October 1 – 3, 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Live Performance at the Tank Chicago Athletic Association
12 Michigan Street Avenue, Chicago

Superpowers of Ten is a performance based on the narrative and ideas at the heart of the original Eames film Powers of Ten, a film created by the office of Charles and Ray Eames for IBM in 1977.

We Know How to Order
October 2, 5:30 and 6:00, October 3, 12:30
Federal Plaza 219
S Dearborn Street, Chicago

Conceived by Bryony Roberts, and choreographed by Asher Waldron of the South Shore Drill Team, ”We Know How to Order” is a site-specific performance in Federal Center by Mies van der Rohe. High-energy drill routines respond to the public space and the architecture of Mies by questioning how we order bodies in the city.

Jessica Lang Dance With Steven Holl.

Jessica Lang Dance With Steven Holl
November 6, 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Harris Theatre for Dance and Music
205 E Randolph Street

American choreographer Jessica Lang will create a new dance in collaboration with architect Steven Holl.

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