The international exhibition has returned with more than 100 civic, educational, and cultural events—and the entire program is free to the public.
From now until January 5, the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial is offering a series of weekends stacked with workshops, films, and lectures geared towards a collective exploration of the city’s urbanism and architecture. This year's biennial is titled ...and other such stories, and the programming focuses upon Chicago’s diverse population. To encourage turnout, the biennial has its doors propped wide: all events are free and open to the public.
"The initiatives are meant to reach the whole public across the city, and to make architecture more accessible, and to start making Chicagoans think much more about their immediate environments," says artistic director Yesomi Umolu, who’s curating this year's program. (Learn more about Umolu—and check out her top Windy City picks—in our 2019 Chicago city guide.)
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Highlights include a lecture series on Tuesdays that explore topics ranging from the women of Bauhaus to W.E.B. Du Bois’s work as it relates to African American identity and representation. A film series—made possible by the Chicago International Film Festival—addresses emergent issues and concerns across the fields of architecture and design. A dialogue series, lead in part by biennial co-curator Sepaka Angiama, discusses the evolving idea of utopia as shaped by architecture and politics.
Fifty different venues are playing host with the Chicago Cultural Center as home base, per usual. As a promoter of thousands of different artistic and cultural works each year, the center is hallowed turf, and a point of pride for the city. "The comprehensive range of programming taking place during the biennial is an exciting example of the exchange that makes our city so dynamic," says Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot.
Adrian BlackwellAnarchitectural Library (against the neoliberalerasure of Chicago’s common spaces), 2019
The Biennial is the largest architecture and design exhibition in North America, and it owes that accolade, in part, to support from a wealth of partners. The Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Architecture Center, and the Chicago Loop Alliance all add immense value to the citywide affair. Biennial Board Chairman Jack Guthman views these collaborations as a way to "ensure that the Biennial’s presence and its focus—the intersection between architecture and the complex issues faced by municipalities worldwide—will engage audiences across our city."