Chicago’s First Architecture Biennial to Debut in 2015

Chicago architecture and skyline
The Chicago skyline.

The Chicago skyline.

Chicago looks to be the new Venice with its very own architecture biennial, announced yesterday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, reports Arch Daily. Scheduled for late 2015 and with an as yet undecided theme, the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial will be co-curated by Sarah Herda, director of the Graham Foundation, and former Domus Magazine editor-in-chief Joseph Grima, who co-curated the 2012 Istanbul Design Biennial.

The biennial organizers hope to draw on the city’s rich architectural history—Chicago is home to buildings from such luminaries as Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe. A slew of big names have signed on to help develop the related event programming, including Frank Gehry and Pritzker Prize jury chair Peter Palumbo. Gas company BP will act as a sponsor, contributing $2.5 million to the start-up biennial, which estimates it needs an additional $1.5 million to get off the ground.

Unlike the Venice Architecture Biennale, the new Chicago event will eschew national pavilions in favor of hosting exhibitions and programming across the city to complement the main showcase at the Chicago Cultural Center. It will also be held in the fall of odd years, to avoid scheduling conflicts with both the Venice Biennale and the city’s existing summer cultural events.


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