2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial Overview.
The Chicago Architecture Biennial is a three month long event offering many free events, lectures, tours, exhibits and more city-wide.
The 2017 Chicago Biennial will run from Sept. 16, 2016-Jan. 7, 2018.
The website is a little hard to navigate. You have to keep clicking through to find info and then to look at another event you have to start all over again. There’s also no way to search for free events.
To keep it manageable check out these separate posts and links for the different event categories.
- Overview: This is probably the best place to start to get anidea of what’s out there.
- Lectures: THis post includes all the lectures held at downtown venues.
- Films: Films running through December 6.
- SC Johnson Tours: Free tour including transportation
- Exhibitions: There are dozens of exhibitions. Go to “Public Programs”, “Exhibition Venues”.
Here’s what Blair Kamin had to say about the Biennial in 2015:
The inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial added a new jewel to the city’s architectural crown and articulated a vision for the future that pointed the field beyond “look-at-me,” icon-wannabe design.
From its splendid Beaux-Arts headquarters at the Chicago Cultural Center, which showcased work by more than 100 designers from around the world, to its South Side outpost, where artist Theaster Gates turned a once-decrepit, neo-classical bank into an arts and cultural center, the biennial provoked thought and controversy with its declaration that design has a role to play in addressing such pressing contemporary issues as housing shortages, climate change and racial polarization.
Whether or not one agreed with that overarching idea (I did) or found the show to be of consistently high quality (I didn’t), there was no denying the biennial’s seriousness of purpose and intellectual heft. It simultaneously drew global attention to Chicago’s trove of architectural riches and underscored how the city remains a key ideological battlefield in the development of the modern city. The show even promised to leave a tangible legacy — a string of eye-popping concession stands along the lakefront.
The biennial’s co-artistic directors, Sarah Herda and Joseph Grima, performed heroically to identify the participating architects and organize the material, which included lectures, performances and other public events.
Along with Michelle Boone, commissioner of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who enthusiastically promoted the biennial, the pair deserve great credit for laying a foundation that could lead to even better biennials (and more recognition for Chicago) in the future. (If you haven’t seen the biennial yet, there’s still time; it runs through Jan. 3.)