Chicago Architecture Biennial Announces Over 100 Civic, Educational, and Cultural Programs Throughout the City

The Chicago Architecture Biennial announced that more than 100 programs will take place at upwards of 50 venues over the course of the Biennial from September 19, 2019 through January 5, 2020, with a press and professional preview on September 17 & 18. These range from events, lectures, panels, workshops, and performances organized by the Biennial to partner programs that respond to the Biennial’s themes at cultural organizations around the city bringing the Biennial’s exploration of space, community, and architecture to Chicagoans of all ages, interests, and backgrounds, as well as visitors from around the world. The 2019 edition, titled …and other such stories, will form an expansive and multi-faceted exploration of the field of architecture and the built environment globally — as such, programming is central to ensuring that the conversation is inclusive, diverse, and ever-changing through the course of the Biennial.

“Chicago is at its best when a diverse range of communities, organizations, and individuals come together to learn from one another, collaborate, and explore our shared histories and hopes for the future. The comprehensive range of programing taking place during the Biennial is an exciting example of the exchange that makes our city so dynamic,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot.

Throughout the biennial, there will be a series of dedicated curatorial weekends that bring conversations, performances, and workshops with Biennial contributors and invited guests to the Chicago Cultural Center and various offsite venues. Within the Chicago Cultural Center, these will largely be hosted in the purpose-built gathering space designed by Biennial contributor ConstructLab. Highlight programs include:

September 19-21: Opening weekend programs include performances by CAMP, Alexandra Pirici and Jimmy Robert alongside conversations on architecture and advocacy with Forensic Architecture & Invisible Institute, Maurice Cox, and Maria Gaspar, among others at the Chicago Cultural Center. Offsite curatorial projects will be animated through public workshops and community events.

● October 17-19: Focusing on themes of architecture, memory and representation, this weekend features A Charette for Chicago–-a program of collaborative workshops that consider the ways we think about and design the city. Also featured are conversations developed by the American Indian Center and Settler Colonial City Project addressing indigenous knowledge and heritage, as well as the settler colonial histories in the built environment.

● November 14-16: Highlighting architecture’s relationship to the natural world, conversations developed with Wolff Architects, Oscar Tuazon and Territorial Agency focus respectively on land and water rights, and the social, cultural and environmental impact of the oil economy.

● December 12-14: Alongside performances developed by Tanya Lukin Linklater and Tiffany Shaw-Collinge, programs by The Funambulist and FICA focus on ideas of collective action by respectively addressing diversifying perspectives on the built environment in publishing, and alternative models of affordable housing and real estate investment in urban centers.

  • “Foregrounding the idea of Common Ground, the curatorial team has devised spaces and programs that ensure that this edition of the biennial supports inclusive and diverse explorations of the built environment today,” noted Yesomi Umolu, Graham Foundation Artistic Director, Chicago Architecture Biennial. “By deeply engaging the public and various communities in our contributor projects and curatorial ideas, we are excited to extend the exchange we have fostered during our research phase into the biennial experience at the Chicago Cultural Center and at our various offsite venues.” In addition, the Biennial will host regular programs at the Chicago Cultural Center in coordination with partners and collaborators to further explore the works on view and related concerns:

Tuesday series: Each Tuesday, the Biennial will host a lecture at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater (or, occasionally, at a partner venue), bringing together cultural leadership from around the world. Always free and open to the public, these programs are produced in coordination with key partners and supporters of the Biennial, including the Chicago-based Terra Foundation. Highlight programs for this series include:

  • –  An exploration of women of the Bauhaus moderated by Art Institute of Chicago curator Alison Fisher and foregrounding the work of Biennial contributor Wendelien van Oldenborgh;
  • –  A conversation that delves into the continued relevance of W.E.B. Du Bois’s vast canon of writing, research, and data visualization related to African American identity and representation;
  • –  A discussion among architects from firms participating in Chicago Housing Policy Task Force’s seminal Disruptive Design competition which formulated innovative design responses to policy and planning dimensions of the ongoing housing crisis;
  • –  A dialogue on urbanism in partnership with the Chicago Loop Alliance; and
  • –  A conversation which takes the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events’ Year of Chicago Theatre exhibition (mounted by the Chicago Design Museum) as a point of departure for tackling questions of equity and the built environment through performance and public space.

Film series: The biennial will screen a series of films chosen by the curatorial team to expand on emergent issues and concerns across the field of architecture. Also free and open to the public and made possible by a partnership with the Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF), these films will be on view in the Claudia Cassidy Theater, and will be announced in forthcoming Biennial communications.

“For the curatorial team, making sure that the Biennial is an inclusive and diverse exploration of the built environment today has been paramount. Through lectures, workshops, performances, and partner programs, we are thrilled to see the conversation that we have started in the main exhibition expand outwards beginning on the opening day, and embracing an even wider group of perspectives, experiences, and communities,” noted Graham Foundation Artistic Director, Chicago Architecture Biennial Yesomi Umolu. “We are excited to present this programming and to continue to build the Biennial throughout its run, both with the communities and organizations here in Chicago and with visitors and contributors from around the world.”

Many of the Biennial’s partners across the city are independently producing programs that expand on the Biennial’s key inquiries into how architecture builds community and experiences of history and memory through landscape and the built environment. Some key highlights include:

EXPO Chicago’s /Dialogue series of talks and events has a number of programs addressing the intersections between contemporary artistic practice and the forefront of architecture and community. These include a lecture by Biennial co-curator Sepaka Angiama; a symposium on the evolving idea of utopia within the fields of politics, art, architecture, and culture; and a panel discussion that will explore the practices of Eduardo Terrazas, whose work includes the iconic pavilions designed for the Olympic games in Mexico City in 1968, and Chicago-based artist Edra Soto, whose installations explore how patterns arise from aesthetic structures of colonialism within her native Puerto Rico.

The Night Gallery — a nocturnal exhibition space in Bridgeport, open from sunset to sunrise — will screen Failure a new work by Emma Mendel and Brad Cantrell.

In coordination with Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Park District, the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago will present an evening of stories and performance at Calumet Park that will bring together an exchange of ideas and the sharing of food beginning at dusk and continuing after sunrise.

● Chicago Architectural Club will present a conversation on the centenary of the 1919 Chicago Race Riot, bringing together leaders from the architecture community reflecting on the power relations between the city’s spaces, its people, and how we use these spaces and the cultural partnerships that have redrawn the city in previously unthinkable ways.

● University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts will present a talk and film screening with architect Liam Young, whose work moves among the realms of architecture, film, and fiction.

● Court Theatre and the Chicago Humanities Festival will team up to preset a conversation between Liz Ogbu and Biennial contributor Maria Gaspar on how each of their practices address systemic problems through art and design.

● Art Institute of Chicago will host a lecture with esteemed Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao, hosted in coordination with the Graham Foundation to coincide with their exhibition of her practice.

“The Biennial greatly values its partnerships with these highly regarded cultural institutions. In combination with the architects, designers, and planners engaged in the exhibition, our partners’ programs promise to be enlightening and entertaining,” remarked Biennial Board Chairman Jack Guthman. “These collaborations ensure that the Biennial’s presence and its focus—the intersection between architecture and the complex issues faced by municipalities world-wide—will engage audiences across our city.”

A full calendar of programming will be accessible on the Biennial’s website later this month.

  • The Chicago Architecture Biennial is the largest exhibition of contemporary architecture, art, and design in North America. The Biennial, which is free and open to the public, opens the central exhibition in the Chicago Cultural Center on September 19, 2019 and runs through January 5, 2020. Press and professional previews take place September 17–18, 2019. Support for the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial is provided through Founding Sponsor BP America and Presenting Sponsor Exelon, with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events serving as Presenting Partner. The opening of the 2019 edition will align with EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art.

    2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial Programming Partners:


Alliance Française de Chicago

American Indian Center Chicago

American Institute of Architects Chicago (AIA Chicago)



Art Architecture and Design School of Tec de Monterrey, Campus Querétaro

Art Institute of Chicago

Art on theMART

Arts + Public Life

Arts Club of Chicago

Arts, Science + Culture Initiative, Film Study Center, Department of Cinema and Media

Association of Architecture Organizations

Axis Lab

Benjamin Marshall Society

Beverly Arts Center

Bridgeport Art Center

BUILD, Inc. with LBBA Labs

Canopy / architecture + design

Carrie Secrist Gallery

Chicago Architectural Club

Chicago Architecture Center

Chicago Arts Partnership in Education

Chicago Collections Consortium with the Newberry

Chicago Cultural Alliance

Chicago Detours

Chicago Eco River Cruise

Chicago History Museum with 150 Media Stream

Chicago Housing Policy Task Force (AIA Chicago, Neighborhood Housing Services, CNI, LISC, Northern


Chicago Humanities Festival

Chicago International Film Festival

Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago Mobile Makers

Chicago Pattern Project

Chicago Public Art Group

Chicago Public Library

Chicago Women in Architecture

City of Chicago, Department of Planning and Development

Conservation Architecture Team

Could Be Architecture

Court Theatre

Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago with DCASE and the Chicago Park District

Danish Arts Foundation in partnership with Garfield Park Conservatory and the Chicago Park District

Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE)

DePaul Art Museum

Design Museum of Chicago

Designed Awareness | True Skool | Abacus Architects

DuSable Museum of African American History

Edgar Miller Legacy

Elmhurst Art Museum


Farnsworth House and MAS Context

Farr Associates

Frank Lloyd Wright Community Trust

Gallery 400

Glessner House

Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

Harris School of Public Policy

Hyde Park Art Center

Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture

Instituto Cervantes of Chicago and MAS Context

Jane Addams Hull House Museum

Jane’s Walk Chicago

Jurassic Studio


Landon Bone Baker Architects with Holsten Development

Legat Architects

MAS Context

Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority

Metropolitan Planning Council

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

National Museum of Mexican Art

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture

National Public Housing Museum

Navy Pier, Inc. Designopedia

Noble Art Tours

Northwestern University Department of Art History

Obama Foundation

Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

Piuarch architecture studio in partnership with Italian Chamber of Commerce in Chicago

Plant Chicago

Preservation Chicago

Princeton University School of Architecture with the Arts Club of Chicago

Range Mobile Lab

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts

Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

Roman Susan Art Foundation

School of the Art Institute of Chicago


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, McHugh Construction, Odico Formwork Robotics and Chicago Athletic


Smart Museum of Art

Society of Architectural Historians


Space Lab with DLR Group

Space p11

Stockyard Institute


Swedish American Museum

Sweet Water Foundation

Tender House Project at the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

Terrain Exhibitions

Territory Urban Design Team

The Available City with the North Lawndale Greening Committee, Homan Grown, Permaculture Chicago

Teaching Institute, and North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council

The Chicago Park District, The Trust for Public Land and the High Line Network

The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University

The Italian National Council of Architects, Planners, Landscape Architects and Conservationists

(NCAPPC), with the Italian American Chamber of Commerce Midwest

The Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society

The Night Gallery

The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago

The Richard H. Driehaus Museum

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville College of Architecture and Design

University of Chicago

University of Illinois at Chicago School of Architecture

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Architecture

University of Pécs, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Volume Gallery

Wrightwood 659

Zephyr Dance

About the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial

The Chicago Architecture Biennial’s 2019 edition, titled …and other such stories, will form an expansive and multi-faceted exploration of the field of architecture and the built environment globally. Developed through a research-led approach, the biennial addresses the potency of space, architecture, and the natural world as they relate to four areas of inquiry: (1) No Land Beyond, which draws inspiration from indigenous approaches to nature, ecology, and landscape that transcend property ownership; (2) Appearances and Erasures, which explores both shared and contested memories in consideration of monuments, memorials, and social histories; and (3) Rights and Reclamations and (4) Common Ground,

which foreground aspects of rights, advocacy, and civic purpose in architectural practice, including affordable and equitable housing.

The third edition of the biennial is particularly inspired by Chicago, moving beyond the grand narratives of the city’s architectural heritage to explore the history and conditions that have and continue to shape its urban development. This approach has inspired a broader view on the field of architecture to embrace practices that span building, design, planning, visual art, policymaking, education, and activism. …and other such stories will create a program that addresses the four areas of inquiry from these varied frames of reference — together exploring the changing and challenging conditions of our societies and environments. Emanating from the central exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center and extending into the city, the 2019 Biennial will feature a series of new commissions, residencies, partner projects, and public programs.

About Chicago Architecture Biennial

The Chicago Architecture Biennial provides a platform for groundbreaking architectural projects and spatial experiments that demonstrate how creativity and innovation can radically transform our lived experience. Through its constellation of exhibitions, full-scale installations, and programming, the Biennial invites the public to engage with and think about architecture in new and unexpected ways, and to take part in a global discussion on the future of the field.

The Biennial is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to creating an international forum on architecture and urbanism. The inaugural 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial — presented in partnership with the City of Chicago and the Graham Foundation, and through the support of BP America — was the manifestation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s vision for a major international architectural event and an outcome of the comprehensive cultural plan developed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events under the leadership of Michelle T. Boone.

The 2015 and 2017 editions of the biennial, curated by Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda (2015) and Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee (2017), collectively engaged over 250 leaders in architecture and art from more than 60 cities spanning 38 nations. For more information, visit

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