First Look> Inside the Chicago Architecture Biennial

Architecture Art Midwest On View
The Chicago Cultural Center (Mimi Zeiger/AN)

The Chicago Cultural Center with The Cent Pavilion by Pezo von Ellrichshausen and IIT.(Mimi Zeiger/AN)

AN got a firsthand look at some of the projects inside the Chicago Cultural Center, many of which are juxtaposed across media, scale, and intellectual territory.

For example, simple wood models from South African studio Noero Architects’ 180 Square Meters sat quietly next to a wild set of renderings by François Roche that showed digital narratives of buildings as characters in their surroundings. Nearby, an oddly-detailed full-scale mock-up of a light steel stud-framed room welcomed visitors to go inside. Here are some of our favorites from our first glimpse at the sprawling main exhibition in Chicago:

The End of Sitting by RAAAF (Mimi Zeiger/AN)

The End of Sitting by RAAAF (Mimi Zeiger/AN)

“The End of Sitting” questions why we design so much of our environment for sitting, given recent research showing how unhealthy it is to sit all day.

Artistic Director Sarah Herda talks about Environmental Communications: Contact High by GSAPP Exhibitions (Mimi Zeiger/AN)

Artistic Director Sarah Herda talks about Environmental Communications: Contact High by GSAPP Exhibitions (Mimi Zeiger/AN)

This is the first show by the radical architecture and media collective Environmental Communications. It includes a selection from 200,000 images found in a Venice, California, garage.

Rock Print by Gramazio Kohler, ETH Zurich and MIT Self-Assembly Lab (Mimi Zeiger/AN)

Rock Print by Gramazio Kohler, ETH Zurich and MIT Self-Assembly Lab (Mimi Zeiger/AN)

The Rock Print load-bearing column was built using a robot that placed rocks bound by string into a mold, which was then removed to create this curious structure.

Piranesi's Circus by Atelier Bow-Wow (Mimi Zeiger/AN)

Piranesi’s Circus by Atelier Bow-Wow (Mimi Zeiger/AN)

Atelier Bow-Wow occupied the courtyard of the Cultural Center, which is an important place, but is often cut-off from the rest of the building. They animated the courtyard by exploring the idea of a prison as a place of potential.

Color(ed) Theory by Amanda Williams. (Sam Lubell/AN)

Color(ed) Theory by Amanda Williams. (Sam Lubell/AN)

Amanda Williams’s work on the south side of Chicago includes a set of abandoned houses painted with colors derived from pop culture in the surrounding neighborhoods. It is displayed in a hallway.

Sou Fujimoto's small models in front of a Full-scale mock-up by MOS Architects. (Sam Lubell/AN)

Sou Fujimoto’s small models in front of a Full-scale mock-up “Corridor House” by MOS Architects. (Sam Lubell/AN)

MOS Architects built a house made of hallways to critique McMansions, which they see as all foyers and hallways. Its disciplinary deadpan was a great juxtaposition next to “Architecture is Everywhere” by Sou Fujimoto Architects, a series of small everyday objects, like staples and binder clips, arranged into architectural models complete with scale figures.

Makeshift by Studio Albori. (Mimi Zeiger/AN)

Makeshift by Studio Albori. (Mimi Zeiger/AN)

Makeshift is an ad-hoc construction that responds to its specific site with an improvised structure for music performance. It is based on the music legacy of Chicago.

Rahm Emanuel addresses the audience at the Chicago Biennial.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the Chicago Biennial. (Mimi Zeiger/AN)

The Biennial is bustling with people as well, as everyone from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to designers from around the world are in attendance.

Architect Joseph Grima addresses the audience at the Biennial.

Architect Joseph Grima addresses the audience at the Biennial. (Mimi Zeiger/AN)

For ongoing Chicago Biennial coverage, check back with AN over the next few days and weeks.

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