Johnston Marklee has rapidly become one of the US’ most exciting practices. After years of completing sensitive and complex domestic-scaled works in Los Angeles, the office vaulted to prominence after being selected to curate Chicago’s 2017 architecture biennial. Since then they’ve completed and embarked on numerous significant projects - none more so than the Menil Drawing Institute.
The Harvard Graduate School of Design has announced the appointment of Mark Lee as Chair of the university’s Department of Architecture. Having taught at Harvard GSD since 2013, Lee is also a principal and founding partner at Johnston Marklee Architects. He will succeed K. Michael Hays, who has taught at Harvard GSD since 1998.
Lee has previously held the position of Frank Gehry Chair at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, as well as Cullinan Guest Professor at Rice University School of Architecture. He has also been a design critic at Harvard GSD since 2013, where he himself earned a Masters in Architecture in 1995.
This article was originally published on the blog of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the largest platform for contemporary architecture in North America. The 2017 Biennial, entitled Make New History, will be free and open to the public between September 16, 2017 and January 6, 2018.
The Tribune Tower has stood at the heart of Chicago’s cultural heritage for almost a hundred years. Like the spire of a secular cathedral, it still symbolizes the rise of the “city of big shoulders” and its defining role in the American Century. But the building is more than a Chicago icon. The story of its origin has proved to be one of the most enduringly influential narratives in 20th Century architecture, key to understanding the skylines of cities all over the world.
"We are at a moment of great cultural transition," Jorge Otero-Pailos argues. "The kinds of objects that we look to to provide some sort of continuity in that transformation is often times architecture, [...] one of the most stable objects in culture." This short film, in which an number of participants of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial reflect on their work and those of others, tackles the theme conceived by artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee: Make New History.
While architecture exhibitions have a tendency to be drab affairs with poorly displayed poster boards and reams of intellectualized text spouting pseudo-complex ideas, the Chicago Architecture Biennial stands out for its undeniable sense of playfulness. From its central HQ to the fringe performance events, this exhibition is bright, fun and Instagram-ready.
Chicago, like Venice, is blessed when it comes to architecture, making the city an ideal home for a recurring architecture show. The importance of this year’s iteration, the second after its inaugural event in 2015 (thus confirming its status as an actual “Biennial”), is clear. And the curators, Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee from LA-based practice Johnston Marklee, seem determined to grab people’s attention.
With the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial in full swing and open to the public until January 7, 2017, we've scoured the galleries, halls and corridors of the Chicago Cultural Center to bring you our favorite fifteen installations. Documented through the lens of Laurian Ghinitoiu and assembled by our Editorial Team on location, this selection intends to shed light on the breadth, scope and preoccupations of Make New History – the largest architecture event in North America.
As the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial prepares to open its doors, curators Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee (Johnston Marklee) introduce Make New History – the theme of the second edition of North America's largest architecture and design exhibition.
Understanding the trace of history is more important than ever. Maybe now it's a good time to take stock and reevaluate to see what architecture could do better, and there are certain issues that other disciplines address better than architecture itself.
Ahead of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, Co-Curator Mark Lee Discusses Its Contemporary Relevance
In this episode of GSAPP Conversations, ahead of the opening of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, co-curator Mark Lee (of Johnston Marklee) and Dean Amale Andraos discuss the theme of the show—"Make New History"—and it's relevance to the field today.
The Chicago Architecture Biennial and it's artistic directors, Johnston Marklee, have revealed a collection of Special Projects designed to harness the curatorial vision of the event—entitled Make New History—and bring it to a number of significant landmarks in the city and in it's surrounding area. Featuring a SO-IL and Ana Prvački collaboration, a Francois Perrin installation, a new performance artwork by Gerard & Kelly at the Farnsworth House, photographs by James Welling, and films by Gerard & Kelly, the projects will inhabit some Chicago's greatest "architectural gems."
Two months before the much-anticipated opening of the Chicago Architecture Biennal, this video collaboration between Berlin-based PLANE–SITE and Chicago-based Spirit of Space offers an insight into what is to come this fall. The first video of the series delves into the core message that curators Mark Lee and Sharon Johnston of Johnston Marklee have established as the groundwork for contributions from over 100 international participants. One of the youngest biennials in the architectural scene, the Chicago Architecture Biennial is only in its second edition and is still defining the unique and independent traits that will help it stand out from other similar events.
The series from PLANE–SITE and Spirit of Space will unravel some of the Biennial's main themes, and delve into its program, reporting on such projects as the reinterpretations for Howells & Hood’s 1925 Tribune Tower; 3D responses to historical images of building interiors; a labyrinth of galleries that will host larger installations; and some of the biennial's anchor sites across the city of Chicago.
The Chicago Architecture Biennial has announced the list of participants invited to contribute to the event’s second edition, which will be held from September 16 to January 7, 2018 in Chicago. More than 100 architecture firms and artists have been selected by 2017 artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, founders of Los Angeles–based Johnston Marklee, to design exhibitions that will be displayed at the Chicago Cultural Center and throughout the city.
“Our goal for the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial is to continue to build on the themes and ideas presented in the first edition,” explained Johnston and Lee. “We hope to examine, through the work of the chosen participants, the continuous engagement with questions of history and architecture as an evolutionary practice.”
The 2016 Lisbon Architecture Triennale, which opened last week, is comprised of a constellation of exhibitions and satellites. One such show—eponymously named The Form of Form—is both an exhibition and a structure in itself – a sequence of rooms designed collaboratively by Mark Lee of Johnston Marklee, Kersten Geers of Office KGDVS, and Nuno Brandão Costa. If "one of architecture’s fundamental legacies is its own form," the curatorial statement declares, "this exhibition [builds] a dialogue that challenges notions of authorship and the limits of form."
The Form of Form (4th Lisbon Architecture Triennale) / Johnston Marklee, Nuno Brandão Costa & Office KGDVS
Location1300-598 Lisbon, Portugal
Design TeamJohnston Marklee, Office KGDVS, Nuno Brandão Costa
CuratorsDiogo Seixas Lopes, André Tavares
The Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) has announced that Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, of the Los Angeles-based firm Johnston Marklee, have been named Artistic Directors for the 2017 event. Following a successful inaugural run in 2015, the second edition of the biennial will take place from September 16 - December 31, 2017.
Speaking exclusively to ArchDaily, Artistic Directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee said:
We are thrilled with the invitation to be the Artistic Directors for the second edition of the largest exhibition of contemporary architecture in North America. To have a global platform to address current ideas and showcase the talent in the field of architecture in a city with such an extraordinary architectural pedigree is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
As we reported last week, The Menil Collection has unveiled details on the Menil Drawing Institute (MDI), designed by Los Angeles-based Johnston Marklee, in Houston, Texas. The building will be the first freestanding facility in the United States created especially for the exhibition, study, storage, and conservation of modern and contemporary drawings.
Situated in an extensive 30-acre masterplan designed by David Chipperfield Architects, the institute will be located amongst Renzo Piano's main museum building, Piano's Cy Twombly Gallery, the Dan Flavin Installation at Richmond Hall, and the Rothko Chapel. More info on the design, and all the renderings, after the break.
The Menil Collection has unveiled details of the long-awaited Menil Drawing Institute, designed by Los Angeles-based Johnston Marklee, in Houston, Texas. The modest, $40 million institute is projected to be the first freestanding facility in America dedicated to modern and contemporary drawing, as well as the Menil’s first major expansion under the ambitious 30-acre master plan designed by David Chipperfield Architects.
Details on the design, after the break...
French developer Christian Bourdais has enlisted eight architects to develop vacation homes on a 50-hectare nature reserve about two hours south of Barcelona. So far, so normal. However, each participant in the "Solo Houses" experiment was given what every architect dreams of (and hardly ever receives): carte blanche. The results, from the likes of Sou Fujimoto, Pezo von Ellrichshausen, and more, are stunning. See them all after the break...
Another interview conducted live at the rooftop of The Standard during Postopolis! LA.