What Chicago architecture can teach the world

Submitted by digital on Fri, 05/29/2015 - 15:01
{"version":"0.3.0","atoms":[],"cards":[],"markups":[["a",["href","http:\/\/chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org\/"]],["a"],["a",["href","http:\/\/studiogang.com\/projects\/2004\/aqua-tower?v=work\/2004\/aqua-tower"]],["a",["href","http:\/\/www.the606.org\/#heroAnchor\/2"]],["a",["href","http:\/\/www.mas-studio.com\/splash\/"]],["a",["href","http:\/\/www.mascontext.com\/"]],["b"],["i"]],"sections":[[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"Chicago Architecture Biennial\u0027s co-artistic\ndirector discusses the city\u0027s legacy"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Go to the Venice Architecture Biennale. Stroll the\nkaleidoscopic diversity of pavilions in the Giardini. Explore the wood-beamed\nbrawn of the Arsenale pavilions, universally consistent and excellent. Check\nout the incredible wealth of design innovation that stops immediately at the\nBiennale\u2019s door. What you won\u2019t see: Cars, or any urbanism post-1850. It\u2019s a\ntheme park atmosphere, and not just because of the performance art\ninstallations and hordes of tourists dropping their gelato in Piazza San Marco.\nThe city is entombed in the amber of historical protections."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Go to the "],[0,[0],1,"Chicago Architecture Biennial"],[0,[1],1," "],[0,[],0,"\nthis October. Gaze up at Daniel Burnham\u2019s grandest Beaux Arts confections;\nthere\u2019s "],[0,[2],1,"Aqua"],[0,[],0,",\nJeanne Gang\u2019s, FAIA, definitive statement on the 21st century mixed-use tower;\nand the nation\u2019s second elevated adaptively reused rail park,"],[0,[2],1," "],[0,[3],1,"The 606"],[0,[],0,".\nChicago won\u2019t stop growing for history. It\u2019s a different story entirely; one\nthat will be told both outside the gates of the exhibition, and told inside,\nwith a dedicated exhibition featuring Chicago\u2019s brightest young architects\u2019\ndesigns for their city."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"As such, artistic directors Sarah Herda and Joseph\nGrima tapped Iker Gil, founder of "],[0,[4],1,"MAS Studio"],[0,[],0," \nand the influential design journal "],[0,[5],1,"MAS Context"],[0,[],0,",\nto bring together a group of 10 or so local designers to ponder the city\u2019s\nlegacies and futures."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"From the late 19th century to middle of 20th century,\nall architecture roads let through Chicago. The litany: the proto-Modern\nskyscrapers of Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright\u2019s Prairie Style, and Mies van\nder Rohe\u2019s perch over the plains at IIT, from where he sowed I-beams and\npuritanical minimalism across a continent. It\u2019s not just a historical legacy.\nToday, Chicago still believes in architecture as a force for defining the\nfuture. Architects native to the city and beyond are coming there to grapple with\npost-industrial decline, gentrification, and, commonly hailed as the most\n\u201cAmerican of all American cities,\u201d the most American of problems: how to soften\nthe degradations of bone-crushing inequality. Herda sat down with AIA Architect\nto explain how any international exhibition of architecture must, at some\nlevel, start with Chicago."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[6],1,"AIA Architect:"],[0,[],0,"\nWhy dedicate such a significant amount of real estate at this international\nbiennial just to Chicago architecture?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[6],1,"Sarah Herda:"],[0,[],0,"\nWe very much want the biennial to be a launching pad for all of the work being\ndone here. On one hand, it is a global survey, but then [we want] to carve out\nspace to have a specific conversation about Chicago, and give a platform for\nideas that are brewing in the city."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[6],1,"AIA Architect:"],[0,[],0,"\nThe Venice Architecture Biennale takes place in an exceptionally beautiful city\nthat also happens to be frozen in time. Compared to this, Chicago is a\nfree-for-all. How interested are you in using the city to demonstrate\ncontemporary design and urbanism, and going where the Venice biennale can\u2019t go?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[6],1,"Herda:"],[0,[],0," That\none of the fundamental differences. We have from the beginning talked about the\nbiennial as taking the city as the site. Not only the architectural legacy and\nthose historical gems littered throughout the city, but also the urban context."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"There\u2019s also the opportunity to have different\npublics [visit] the biennial. The biennial will be free, open to the public,\nand happening in neighborhoods throughout the city. That takes on a different\nsort of scale and a way of being in the city."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[6],1,"AIA Architect:"],[0,[],0,"\nWhat can Chicago teach the wider world of architecture through its own\nurbanism?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[6],1,"Herda:"],[0,[],0,"\nChicago is grappling with its own legacy, and a lot of people that we\u2019re\ntalking to are taking that on; taking on the reality of what the\n[post-industrial] city is today, as opposed to what it was when it was created."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"[We\u2019re looking] at the opportunity inherent in parts\nof the city that people might not necessarily think of as being a fertile\nground for new ideas. Even the spaces available because of empty lots; [they]\ncreate an opportunity to intervene in the street grid in a completely new way,\nways that were inconceivable when it was built out. In the tradition of\nChicago, people are working on really big speculative ideas\u2014bold visions for\nthe city."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[6],1,"AIA Architect:"],[0,[],0,"\nOne of Chicago\u2019s favorite pastimes of the last 30-40 years is hand-wringing\nabout its precarious status as a \u201cglobal city,\u201d especially considering the\nlong-simmering erosion of its industrial economy. Does the biennial address\nthis identity, or offer a platform to comment on it?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[6],1,"Herda:"],[0,[],0," I\nthink Chicago is a global city, as this is one part of enacting that. It\u2019s a\nvery different thing to do a major event like this and have it be focused on\nthe world\u2014our peers."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"This history of Chicago architecture is a kind of\nshared knowledge. It\u2019s part of the canon wherever you are in the world, you\nhave a piece of Chicago with you, or you study Chicago architecture as part of\nyour education. So it creates and interesting context to have a global\nconversation about the future of the field."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[6],1,"AIA Architect:"],[0,[],0,"\nWhat qualities were you looking for while you gathered participants for this\npart of the biennial?"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[6],1,"Herda:"],[0,[],0," We\nwere looking for projects that are parallel to ones we were selecting from\naround the world. They tend to be on the younger side, but they\u2019re also really\nworking to redefine the boundaries of the field in very different ways. In no\nway is it an exhaustive survey. There are a lot of people to choose from in\nChicago."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[7],1,"Zach Mortice is a freelance architectural journalist who lives in Chicago."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\n\n"]]]]}
The co-artistic director of Chicago's Architecture Biennial discusses the city's legacy
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