Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects at the Art Institute of Chicago

Running from September 24, 2012 to February 24, 2013, Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects is the first exhibition devoted to the Chicago-based group headed by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang. This innovative presentation of the work of Studio Gang Architects (SGA) allows visitors to see how buildings and projects are created, what issues they resolve, and how solutions are shaped. Rightly recognized for such landmark buildings as Chicago’s Aqua Tower, SGA is as much a laboratory for ideas and problem-solving as it is an architectural firm. Building brings visitors into that laboratory by examining SGA’s built and unbuilt works in an engaging studio-like space.

Though best known for Aqua Tower, the undulating 82-storey mixed-use high-rise that is the tallest building in the world designed by a woman, Gang is also distinguished by the great diversity of her work, which includes the Hyderabad O2, a high-rise community in Hyderabad, India; the Zhong Bang Village residential towers in Shanghai; an ecological revitalization project for Lincoln Park Zoo’s South Pond; and Oculus, a concert venue and public park in Taipei. All of these projects – which reflect the wide range of today’s built environment – are marked by an open-minded practice committed to research and experimentation with materials and technologies. Visitors will be able to see beyond the buildings and into the creative process that brought them into being. 

The exhibition, a custom-made installation designed by SGA in collaboration with curators from the museum’s Department of Architecture and Design, echoes the firm’s studio-like environment, allowing visitors to see material samples, full-scale project mock-ups, research materials, digital media, and films. The exhibition also includes a workshop space that will host programs and roundtable discussions, or Archi-Salons, throughout the run of the exhibition. Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects truly brings contemporary architecture to life, showing the full lifespan of the creative architectural process – how an idea becomes a building.

Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects is organized by the Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibition is curated by Zoë Ryan, Chair and John H. Bryan Curator of Architecture and Design; and Karen Kice, Neville Bryan Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design, both at the Art Institute.