Chicago Architecture: Ten Visions

This Art Institute of Chicago exhibition runs from November 26 – April 03, in which it has invited 10 internationally renowned Chicago architects to present diverse visions of Chicago’s future. One of the Institute’s most visually daring exhibitions ever, the participants include: Jeanne Gang, Douglas Garofalo, Ralph Johnson, Ronald Krueck, Margaret McCurry, Eva Maddox, Elva Rubio, Katerina Redi Ray, Joe Valerio and Xavier Vendrell. These architects were selected from an invitational competition juried by architects Stanley Tigerman and Harry Cobb, in collaboration with curators John Zukowsky and Martha Thorne from the Art Institute’s Department of Architecture. The 10 professionals reflect a cross-section of Chicago’s vibrant architectural scene from large and small firms as well as the academic community bringing to this exhibition their diverse experiences and insight. Each architect has been asked to define an issue important for the future of Chicago and create a “spatial commentary” on that particular theme.

Within a lively master plan designed by Tigerman, each of the participants is curating and designing his or her own mini-exhibition in a space of approximately 21 by 21 feet square. Tigerman’s setting creates a linear sequence in which visitors pass through the architects’ spaces and an interactive area where the architects’ commentaries can be heard by picking up a telephone. Visitors are encouraged to record their comments on any and all of the “ten visions.”

The wide variety of themes developed by the architects illustrates a broad range of ideas concerning the future of Chicago architecture. Each pavilion is unique and the thought-provoking presentations touch on such timely issues as affordable housing, education, immigration, and regional planning. Other architects have developed more abstract ideas such as the impact of the information age on the city, multiple interpretations and perspectives of the city, and the shifting definitions of real and virtual space.

The exhibition includes not only the traditional plans, models, and projected images but also highlights the spaces themselves as artifacts. These spaces are more akin to installation art, creating complete environments for the visitor. This major exhibition, set in the museum’s Regenstein Hall, encourages fruitful speculation about Chicago’s future and demonstrates the powerful design ideas currently fueling imaginations in the city’s architectural community.

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