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The Curbed Guide to the Chicago Architecture Biennial

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After months of hype, contests and press conferences (did you see the trailer?), the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial will officially kick off on October 3. While the city's own legacy of architectural innovation, as well as the organizer's inclusion of practitioners and designers from around the globe, means the event will live up to its high-minded theme, State of the Art of Architecture, there are also literally hundreds of events happening throughout the city that are open to the public, accessible and often free (some programming has already begun). We've compiled the events and exhibitions we're most excited about, including off-site events and tours, to give guests and Chicagoans alike a means to sort through the array of events happening over the next few months, and will add more in the run-up to the big event (we've included a map to help guests navigate between venues).

While we're only slightly biased, we'd also suggest any visitors make time for Chicago's incredible food scene: Eater Chicago has suggestions on the best new restaurants, bars and brunch spots for out-of-towners to explore.

LECTURES AND SPECIAL EVENTS:

September 14
Chicago Architecture 101: World War II-Present Series (Chicago Architecture Foundation, 6 p.m.)
If there's an organization that the architecturally minded Chicago tourist may be familiar with, it's the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), known for the exemplary River Cruise of Loop architecture that's become a visitor's staple that even locals (in many cases, especially local) still enjoy. For this Monday lecture series starting on September 14th and running through October 5, the scholarly staff will give attendees a deeper dive into how Chicago became a center for modern architecture, both in terms of projects built and talent in town. The series costs $125 for the public ($125 for CAF member).

October 1
International Perspective: Chicago and the Future of Urban Change (Art Institute: 5 p.m.)
While one of the Biennial's big draws is bringing the globe to Chicago, it also manages to present Chicago and its unique urban landscape in interesting ways. Going beyond the skyscrapers and buildings the city is rightfully known for, this loaded panel, including architects from Snohetta, BIG and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, as well as scholars and curators such as Zoe Ryan of the Art Institute, debate and discuss the future of Chicago.

October 3
Post-Modern Architecture: Presevation's New Frontier (Chicago Cultural Center, 12:30 p.m.)
The curious progression of building trends often means that yesterday's kitsch can often become today's threatened masterpiece. This panel will use Chicago's postmodern legacy as a case study to examine how different cities are approaching the challenge of preservation, and how shifting viewpoints have caused many to reappraise these unique structures.

Night of Illumination Opening Night (Stony Island Art Bank: 5:00 p.m.)
Theaster Gates has become an international art star for his creative vision for community building, but his Chicago roots are still central to his work. The opening of the 17,000-square-foot Stony Island Arts Bank, one of his largest projects to date, shows him working on an ever-larger canvas. The extensive art space and media center features an array of renovated spaces as well as artifacts unique to the city, including the record collection of DJ Frankie Knuckles.

October 4
Architecture Is Art... Is Architecture Art? Atelier Bow-Wow
This experimental Japanese architecture duo has a name, and playful body of work, that suggests this lecture will be anything but stuffy and self involved. Many designers aim for a light touch and natural aesthetic, but it says quite a bit about the way this group things that they once told an interviewer they aspire to create "architecture without the architect."


October 5
Kunle Adeyemi Lecture (The Art Institute: October 5)
The principal of NLE, Nigerian architect Kunle Adeyemi has already produced one of the more impressive designs of the Biennial, a cantilevered entry for the Lakefront Kiosk competition that would add a striking site to the shoreline. But it's no surprise based on his previous inventive work, especially the floating Makoko School concept for Lagos. Look for a discussion of rapid growth and urbanism, along with thoughtful insights into modifying how we think about designing cities.

October 6
Precise Poetry: Lina Bo Bardi's Architecture (35 East Wacker Drive, 5:30 p.m.)
In its North American debut, this documentary examines the work of the Italian-Brazilian architect via her designs in Sao Paulo and Salvador de Bahia.

October 14
Pritzker Laureate Lecture: Thom Mayne (Art Instiute of Chicago, 6 p.m.)
The Los Angeles-based architect, teacher and principal of Morphosis discusses his career and the state of modern architecture.

November 12
Art + Architecture: Inspiration Amplified (Farnwsworth House, 3 p.m.)
Nothing says refined contemplation like a glass home. Take the aesthetic appreciation one step further with a concert at the Farnsworth Home in suburban Plano, featuring contemporary classical performer Mary Ellen Childs. Additional performances take place November 15 and December 12.

November 16
Mies Crown Hall America Prize Lecture by Jacques Herzog (IIT College of Architecture: 6:00 p.m.)
One of the principal's of Herzog & de Meuron, the prize-winning Swiss firm behind the design of many renowned stadiums and museums, will discuss public architecture in one of Chicago's most iconic academic spaces, Crown Hall.

ONGOING SHOWS AND EXHIBITIONS:



Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye (Art Institute: Through January 13)
While rumors swirl around whether or not this talented Tanzanian-English architect will be the first foreign architect chosen to design a presidential library, Chicago can at least get a little more comfortable with his style via this career-spanning exhibition. Designed by Adjaye himself, the installation provides the first major retrospective of the now-established international talent.

Solarise: A Sea of All Colors (Garfield Park Conservatory: Through January 3)
Last fall, Chicago artistic duo Luftwerk turned the iconic Farnsworth House into a thrilling light show that explored ideas of space and shadow. Their latest work, which coincides with the Biennial, transforms the sprawling Garfield Park Conservatory, a cold-weather refuge for Chicagoans, into a light-filled playground.



Richard Meier: Process and Vision (2223 South Thropp Street: Through January 30)
The Pritzker winner has made a career out of designing stunning white structures, such as the Smith House and Getty Center, but this retrospective collection offers a look at Meier's stylistic evolution.

Lessons From Modernism: Environmental Design Strategies in Architecture 1925-1970 (Elmhurst College: Through November 29)
While seeing this exhibit at the suburban college is a bit of a drive, it's worth it. The celebrated show, first staged at Cooper Union, examines how nature and the environment influence architecture, using the work of exemplary architects such as Le Corbusier, Jean Prouvé and Oscar Niemeyer as case studies.

TOURS:


September 26
A Historic Architecture Tour of the University of Chicago Campus ( University of Chicago Bookstore: Noon)
While the White City and museum campus often get all the attention when it comes discussing the city's more classical architecture, the University of Chicago in Hyde Park offers an incredible display of Gothic design on the South Side. Fall is a particularly apt time to tour the tree-strewn quad.

September 30
Chicago School Skyscrapers on South Dearborn Street (Monadnock Building, 5:30 p.m.)
Sometimes, all you want is the classics. Beginning at the iron-and-brick structure many consider the first skyscraper, this short tour explores some of the creations of Burnham, Root, Holabird and Roche that kickstarted the modern craze for bigger and better buildings.


October 3
Wright Now: Tour SC Johnson's Campus (Chicago Cultural Center, 10 a.m.)
Frank Lloyd Wright made his name with daring residential commissions, but this opportunity to tour the SC Johnson Office in nearby Racine, Wisconsin, offers attendees a chance to see him work on a large scale. The round-trip bus ride and tour, which returns at 6:30 p.m., includes stops at Wingspread, one of Wright's largest homes. The tours are available every Saturday and Sunday through January 3.

October 17-18
Open House Chicago (Various locations and times)
The Chicago Architectural Foundation's massive citywide weekend of open house tours insider access, offering unique insights about homes and buildings normally hidden behind closed doors.



·Chicago Architecture Biennial's Lineup Looks Stellar [Curbed]
· The Latest Issue of Chicago Architect Will Pumped for the Chicago Architecture Biennial [Curbed Chicago]

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1. Chicago Cultural Center

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78 E Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602

The main venue for the Biennial, this municipal cultural center, the nation's first, was built on land donated by the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of Union Civil War vets. Finished in 1897 for $2 million, the building by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge features an array of Neoclassical and Italian Renaissance features and the largest Tiffany Dome in the world. During the Biennial, guests can tour the main exhibition here, view a showcase of special homes designed by an array of international firms (Tatiana Bilbao, MOS, and VTN) as well as an installation by SO-IL, and see an exhibition of speculative Chicago urban designs called BOLD: Alternative Scenarios for Chicago.

2. Art Institute of Chicago

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111 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603

This Beaux-Arts centerpiece of Michigan Avenue designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge of Boston was the third location for the institute, and was initially built for the World's Columbian Exposition. The iconic lion statues by Edward Kemeys located at the main entrance, known as "stands in an attitude of defiance," and "on the prowl," are dressed in the uniforms of any Chicago pro team in the playoffs.

3. Millennium Park

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McCormick Pl Busway
Chicago, IL 60603

One of the latest addition to Chicago's "front yard," the acres of park stretching out east of the Loop, Millennium Park will play host to the winners of the Lakefront Kiosk competition.

4. Graham Foundation

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4 W Burton Pl
Chicago, IL 60610

This Gold Coast center for architecture and design studies is housed within the Madlener House, a turn-of-the-century Prairie-style home designed for German-American liquor distiller and merchant Albert Fridolin Madlener. The cubic shape created by architect Richard E. Schmidt recalls German neoclassical mixed with the influences of Wright and Sullivan.

5. Expo 72

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72 E Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60601

This small gallery space across the street from the Cultural Center will host an array of special events and programming.

6. Water Tower Gallery

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806 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

This gallery sits inside an especially historic piece of Chicago architecture, the municipal water pumps designed by prolific architect William W. Boyington. They were one of the few downtown structures to survive the 1871 Chicago Fire.

7. Illinois Institute of Technology

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3360 S State St
Chicago, IL 60616

A series of events will take place in one of Mies van der Rohe's most famous designs, the elegant Crown Hall on the IIT campus.

8. Stony Island Art Bank

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6760 S Stony Island Ave
Chicago, IL 60649

Theaster Gates' new Stony Island Arts Bank is part library, part community center, part event space and part study in South Shore architecture and civic history. Originally built in 1923 as the Stony Island Trust & Savings Bank, the building sat vacant for three decades before the Rebuild Foundation took it over in 2012. The organization is working feverishly to complete the final touches on the 17,000-square-foot building to prepare it for its big grand opening on October 3.

1. Chicago Cultural Center

78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602

The main venue for the Biennial, this municipal cultural center, the nation's first, was built on land donated by the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of Union Civil War vets. Finished in 1897 for $2 million, the building by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge features an array of Neoclassical and Italian Renaissance features and the largest Tiffany Dome in the world. During the Biennial, guests can tour the main exhibition here, view a showcase of special homes designed by an array of international firms (Tatiana Bilbao, MOS, and VTN) as well as an installation by SO-IL, and see an exhibition of speculative Chicago urban designs called BOLD: Alternative Scenarios for Chicago.

78 E Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602

2. Art Institute of Chicago

111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

This Beaux-Arts centerpiece of Michigan Avenue designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge of Boston was the third location for the institute, and was initially built for the World's Columbian Exposition. The iconic lion statues by Edward Kemeys located at the main entrance, known as "stands in an attitude of defiance," and "on the prowl," are dressed in the uniforms of any Chicago pro team in the playoffs.

111 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60603

3. Millennium Park

McCormick Pl Busway, Chicago, IL 60603

One of the latest addition to Chicago's "front yard," the acres of park stretching out east of the Loop, Millennium Park will play host to the winners of the Lakefront Kiosk competition.

McCormick Pl Busway
Chicago, IL 60603

4. Graham Foundation

4 W Burton Pl, Chicago, IL 60610

This Gold Coast center for architecture and design studies is housed within the Madlener House, a turn-of-the-century Prairie-style home designed for German-American liquor distiller and merchant Albert Fridolin Madlener. The cubic shape created by architect Richard E. Schmidt recalls German neoclassical mixed with the influences of Wright and Sullivan.

4 W Burton Pl
Chicago, IL 60610

5. Expo 72

72 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601

This small gallery space across the street from the Cultural Center will host an array of special events and programming.

72 E Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60601

6. Water Tower Gallery

806 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

This gallery sits inside an especially historic piece of Chicago architecture, the municipal water pumps designed by prolific architect William W. Boyington. They were one of the few downtown structures to survive the 1871 Chicago Fire.

806 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

7. Illinois Institute of Technology

3360 S State St, Chicago, IL 60616

A series of events will take place in one of Mies van der Rohe's most famous designs, the elegant Crown Hall on the IIT campus.

3360 S State St
Chicago, IL 60616

8. Stony Island Art Bank

6760 S Stony Island Ave, Chicago, IL 60649

Theaster Gates' new Stony Island Arts Bank is part library, part community center, part event space and part study in South Shore architecture and civic history. Originally built in 1923 as the Stony Island Trust & Savings Bank, the building sat vacant for three decades before the Rebuild Foundation took it over in 2012. The organization is working feverishly to complete the final touches on the 17,000-square-foot building to prepare it for its big grand opening on October 3.

6760 S Stony Island Ave
Chicago, IL 60649