The Chicago Architecture Foundation has announced plans to move from its current home at the Railway Exchange Building on South Michigan Avenue to the modernist Illinois Center complex at 111 East Wacker. According to an announcement from the organization, the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s new 20,000-square-foot Chicago Architecture Center is expected to open next summer. The organization is currently running a capital campaign to raise $10 million in funds for the construction of the new center.
And as a high-profile organization in the world of architecture, it’s no surprise that the group has tapped the equally prestigious Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture for the job. The project won’t be the first cultural job for AS+GG—the firm has collaborated with Steppenwolf Theater and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on recent expansions.
“The design will create a dynamic and elegant space for CAF that promotes patrons to fully engage in the influence Chicago has on global architecture,” architect Gordon Gill states in the official announcement from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. “The large volume of space fronting the Chicago River also creates an inviting and interactive atmosphere for visitors.”
The selection of a location along the riverfront doesn’t appear to be a coincidence either. A rendering of the new Chicago Architecture Center provided by the Chicago Architecture Foundation depicts the organization’s new headquarters and a CAF riverboat architecture tour passing by in the foreground. The new Chicago Architecture Center will face the nearly completed Apple Store located on Michigan Avenue. Designed by Foster + Partners, the new Apple Store not only adds momentum to the southern stretch of the Magnificent Mile, but it has also reshaped a section of the riverfront.
In addition to office space and a gift shop, the upcoming Chicago Architecture Center will feature a number of galleries and exhibition spaces. However, the focus won’t be solely on high-profile downtown skyscrapers. One such space, the City of Neighborhoods Gallery, will highlight the city’s many unique and diverse neighborhoods. The CAF’s popular miniature model of downtown Chicago will also find a new home in the Chicago Architecture Center.