Titled "The Available City", the fourth edition of the Chicago Architecture Bienniale will be open to the public on September 17th, 2021. This year, the event presents an unprecedented biennale model that experiments with an array of site-specific projects and programs displayed across the Chicago, "reframing what a biennial can do, be, and explore for a city". Over 80 projects from 18 different countries will respond to an urban design framework and bring ideas for community-centered, collective spaces through architectural elements, engaging programming, and enhanced community experiences.
This year's Biennale is curated by artistic director, designer, researcher, and educator David Brown, and answers the question of "who gets to participate in the design of the city by exploring new perspectives and approaches to policies". Some of this year's unique explorations include: 15 site-specific installations on Chicago's private and public lots, designed by Atelier Bow-Wow, Studio Barnes, and Hood Design Studio, among others, two exhibition-based explorations located at the Graham Foundation and in an unused storefront space at the Bronzeville Artist Lofts, as well as Biennial-commissioned essays, programs, and workshops.
The Biennial always represents a remarkable time for our city, when residents, visitors, cultural organizations, and businesses come together to explore new ideas and potential for Chicago and cities worldwide. It is inspiring to see the projects and ideas developed by Chicago residents and the contributors highlighting the potential for vacant spaces. We’re thrilled to be able to bring that conversation to a global platform. -- Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot
The Available City's new approach presents new ideas that highlight the potential of collective spaces responding to the 10,000-plus city-owned vacant lots scattered across the south and west Sides of Chicago. The event bridges the exhibition format with a deeper engagement with the local community and expands their experimentation and engagement potential.
Exploring the potential of The Available City has been a central focus for me for over a decade, and it is a fantastic opportunity to explore its ideas with global and local architects, designers, thinkers, and community leaders within the Biennial’s platform. When the Biennial opens, our work is really just beginning -- the Biennial is an open conversation on possibility, and I am excited to see what ideas, collaborations, and partnerships emerge from this forum. -- David Brown, Artistic Director
For the 15 site-specific installations, artistic Director David Brown paired mission-driven community organizations with architects whose practices were aligned with the organization’s spatial and urban planning. Examples of these site-specific projects include a transformation of a vacant 15-block plot under the Chicago Transit Authority Pink Line train, an architectural installation that mimics the look and feel of the city's staple blow-up bounce houses, and outdoor meeting space with canopies and seating areas.
The Graham Foundation exhibition includes projects by Christophe Hutin Architecture, Drawing Architecture Studio, Departamento del Distrito, El Cielo, Enlace Arquitectura + Ciudad Laboratorio, and fala to name a few. Plan Comun, RIFF Studio, SHAU, and Urban American City will be exhibited at the Bronzeville Artist Lofts. Essay contributors include students and artists from Harvard University, Yale University, Carnegie Mellon University, and MIT.
The event is free of charge and will be open to the public as of Friday, September 17 through December 18, 2021, and will be on view at site throughout the city, giving the possibilities of in-person visits and online programming.