Art Institute presents first solo exhibition of avant-garde architect Douglas Garofalo

The Art Institute of Chicago highlights the career of contemporary architect Douglas Garofalo in his first solo exhibition, on view in the Kisho Kurokawa Gallery of Architecture from June 15 to October 8, 2006. This exhibition showcases his multiple forms of architectural representation including computer animation, diagrams, plans, and models. The scale of Garofalo’s work is as broad as his media, and demonstrates his range as a designer; his portfolio includes single-family residences, institutional buildings, and urban-scale designs. His work has never before been seen so comprehensively.

Born in upstate New York in 1958, Garofalo studied architecture as an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame and received his M.Arch. from Yale University in 1987. He returned to Chicago to establish his own practice and accepted a teaching appointment at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he is currently a full professor. Garofalo established his studio, Garofalo Architects, in 1997 and has since become nationally recognized for his theoretical and built work.In all of his projects, he examines both site specificity and programmatic flexibility, thinking about how spaces might be inhabited and transformed over time. His work emphasizes the importance of virtual and physical interactions between the client and the building, the building and the site, and the site and the larger social context. While some of his designs like the New Loop Ecologies project were never meant to be built, these speculative endeavours allow him to reconceptualize the urban landscape. In the Loop project, the elevated tracks in downtown Chicago were conceived as a continuous band of landscape, punctuated with towers, tourist centres, and public facilities that would bring more life to a part of the city that becomes desolate after evening rush hour.

Beyond his reputation as a practicing architect, Garofalo is currently one of the US’s leading voices in the digital pedagogy and practice of architecture by virtue of his work in designing, fabricating, and altering perceptions of buildings in the 21st century. His use of digital tools impacts not only his own design process but the aesthetics and media of a rapidly expanding architectural field. Garofalo’s work thus reflects his strong interest in artistic practices and methodologies that inform his own architectural production, which has always been very tactile in character.

The exhibition is accompanied by a full-colour 96-page catalogue of the same title. The book features an essay by Joseph Rosa, the John H. Bryan Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago, and curator of the exhibition. Douglas Garofalo is the first in an innovative publication series spotlighting architecture and design initiated by Rosa. It will be available in the Museum Shop and online at beginning June 17, 2006.