Venice Biennale 2012: Team Chicago City Works

  • 14 Sep 2012
  • by
  • Architecture News
Alexander Eisensmith´s Phantom Panorama © Nico Saieh

With Alexander Eisenschmidt as curator, five chicago-based practices presented together “Team Chicago: City Works”. In our age of extreme urbanization, says Eisenschmidt, “architects have been placed in the critical predicament that calls for a new attitude towards the city that highlights its potentials, engages  with its problems, and understands itself as a catalyst”.

Team Chicago believes that Chicago has been particularly receptive to this new attitude. In the exhibition, the five practices pursued the concept through the presentation of projects -both real and imagined.

Eisenschmidt itself presents Phantom Chicago Panorama, “where the city is recreated through unbuilt visionary projects across the twentieth century -from Adolf Loos’s Tribune Tower to Griffin’s Plan for a Better Chicago to Greg Lynn’s Stranded Sears Tower.

See more pictures of Team Chicago: City Works exhibition after the break.

© Nico Saieh

David Brown Available City maps Chicago disused, underused, or disregarded areas that are ripe for possible transformation. Studio Gang’s Reclaiming the Edge proposes a series of freshwater inland lagoons for the city, which provide new recreational waterfronts and spur urban revitalization.

© Nico Saieh

UrbanLab´s Free Water District project also imagines a future in which landscape and natural resources become central to Chicago´s development -creating new ater infrastructure that exploits the Rust Belt region´s abundance od fresh water, turning the crisis of industrial decline into a springboard of ideas.

There is also built projects in the exhibition. Tigerman McCurry Architects and Studio Gang demonstrate how architectural elements, shapes and components -such as the prefabricated, bent-wood members and interconnected fiberglass pods of Studio Gang´s Lincoln Park Zoo Natural Boardwalk Education Pavillion- can relate to a specific local history and strive towards universal recognition.

© Nico Saieh

“Throughout these projects, what unites the historical and the current scene in Chicago is an attitude towards the city, one that understands it as a catalyst and is determined to find the within it potentials for spatial, material, programmatic, and organizational invention”, says Eisenschmidt.

Cite: Saieh, Nico. "Venice Biennale 2012: Team Chicago City Works" 14 Sep 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • Anon

    Meh…just looks like another UIC student project, a lot of cartoon-ish imagery with limited discourse on any serious matter. The entire exhibition layout looks like an absolute mess.