The third edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) has opened in Chicago with a range of new exhibitions and installations across the city. Organized under the theme ...And other such stories, the biennial showcases the work of over 80 contributors, including MASS Design Group, Forensic Architecture, Theaster Gates, and more. Taking a first look at the city's exhibitions, we've rounded a list of must-see venues around Chicago.
The intentionally-broad theme of the Chicago Architecture Biennial proposes an investigation of architecture / the built environment not just as a form, but as a culmination of the conditions that shape it. ...and other such stories is a collaborative effort between Artistic Director Yesomi Umolu and co-curators Sepake Angiama (a curator focused on education) and Paulo Tavares (a Brazilian architect and academic). The team announced more than 40 citywide partner sites and organizations for the festival’s 2019 edition. The goal is to create “a citywide exploration of architecture, space, the environment, history, and community.”
Chicago Cultural Center
The main venue space includes a broad range of exhibitions and installations. Of special note is MASS Design Group's memorial to the victims of America’s gun violence epidemic. The team worked in partnership with the artist Hank Willis Thomas and the gun control advocacy groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Purpose Over Pain to developed The Gun Violence Memorial Project (2019) and honor the lives of gun violence victims. Through advocacy and remembrance-object-collection workshops, they invite the public to contribute stories and memories to the ongoing memorial. The objects reside in a collection of glass houses representing the magnitude of gun-related deaths that occur over a single month in the United States.
Address: 78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602
Stereoform Slab Pavilion
Architecture practice Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) have designed a concrete pavilion for the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial. The practice unveiled the work of its interdisciplinary practice with Stereoform Slab, a to-scale prototype of a future building system made using advanced robotic fabrication techniques. The project is simultaneously an activation and an exhibition that illustrates a design method that reduces the carbon footprint of concrete construction.
Address: 1245 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607
Anthony Overton Elementary School
The former Anthony Overton Elementary School, located in the Bronzeville neighborhood, closed controversially in 2013 after more than fifty years of operation, and was bought by a community development organization in 2015. Designed by Perkins and Will in 1963, the school was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016. As this recently vacated site prepares for its redevelopment into an entrepreneurship center, a series of outdoor collaborative design projects—including installations and mapping— reflect upon and celebrate its design legacy, introducing its renewed identity and proposing new program opportunities to connect with the surrounding community.
Address: 4935 South Indiana Ave., Chicago, IL 60615 (Bronzeville)
National Public Housing Museum
The National Public Housing Museum is a place for social reflection, public dialogue, and education; it is the only cultural institution devoted to telling the story of public housing in the US. Its mission is to preserve, promote, and propel the right of all people to a place where they can live and prosper—a place to call home. A live sound installation that reflects on collective memories and contested histories in relation to public housing in Chicago from Johannesburg-based collective Keleketla! Library in collaboration with the Stockyard Institute.
Address: 1322 West Taylor St., Chicago, IL 60607 (Little Italy)
Founded in 1956, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts fosters the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. The Graham realizes this vision through making project-based grants to individuals and organizations and producing exhibitions, events, and publications. Featured work includes Mexico City-based architecture office Tatiana Bilbao Estudio who is creating an immersive installation that transforms a former domestic space to explore new forms of collectivity. The installation is activated by collaborative projects, on-site talks, and workshops throughout the run of the exhibition.