Celebrating Chicago’s architectural heritage

A landmark exhibition on the new buildings and urban planning projects that continue Chicago’s rich tradition of leading contemporary design opens on 12 November

by Nick Myall 29 October 2015
  • New Chicago Architecture Click image to expand

    New Chicago Architecture

  • New Chicago Architecture Click image to expand

    New Chicago Architecture

  • New Chicago Architecture Click image to expand

    New Chicago Architecture

  • New Chicago Architecture Click image to expand

    New Chicago Architecture

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    New skyscrapers, corporate headquarters, hospitals, museums, schools, airports, institutional buildings, interiors, single-family homes, multi-family high-rises, renovations and restorations, parks and urban revitalization projects—many destined for the shores of Lake Michigan, as well as cities around the world—are the subject of a landmark exhibition and book organized by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

    Curated by Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, New Chicago Architecture opens November 12 at 332 South Michigan Avenue with a Benefit Reception for the reopening of The Chicago Athenaeum's new Daniel H. Burnham Center and continues on view for the general public through November 17.

    The exhibition contains buildings and urban planning projects by over 100 architecture offices in Chicago and around the world. Chicago is the third-largest city in the United States and home to headquarters of more than 400 corporations—29 on the Fortune 500 list.

    The Chicago exhibition is sponsored by DXV by American Standard, Hines, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Lightology, and Otis Elevator Corporation.

    After Chicago, the exhibition travels to Milan, Athens, Hong Kong, and other cities inside Asia and Europe.

    "The scope of the exhibition," states Narkiewicz-Laine, "is nothing less than remarkable. Some of the world's greatest design visionaries, thinkers and builders are contributing to Chicago's current, but long-standing legacy, as the world's first city of modern architecture. These are, in fact, some of Chicago's best new buildings in decades. The exhibition demonstrates the one-of-a-kind design exuberance and design quality that other cities could only envy, but should also emulate in making our world cities more humane and robust centres of culture and commerce."

    "The checklist of buildings and urban planning projects contained in New Chicago Architecture," continues Narkiewicz-Laine," are drawn from submissions to The Chicago Athenaeum's prestigious annual American Architecture Awards.

    "The result is a greatest-hits mash-up of new city icons, buildings that blend the excesses of 'starchitectural' culture into one, well-seasoned urban potage."

    At the top of the list of Chicago's new grands projects is the avant-garde scheme for the new futuristic Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (LMNA) by the Chinese architect Ma Yansong of MAD Studios in Beijing (main picture). The curved, white stone building with extremities that extend into the landscape creates a platform above the main entrance. At the highest point, a flat top is covered by a "floating" disc, forming a sheltered viewing area that offers visitors vistas of Chicago and Lake Michigan.

    Likewise, the new renovation of Chicago's Navy Pier by the New York office of James Corner Field Operations is transforming the Chicago's Lake Front with an articular flair for urban situations, public spaces and an ecologically smart and culturally significant built work of lasting distinction.

    The 25-acre Maggie Daley Park, part of a "Second Wave" of new park building, by New York landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, is a text book example of what a 21st-Century modern urban park should be with its play garden and its Enchanted Forest of 3,590 square feet of networked pathways. Van Valkenburgh's 606, the city's most ambitious park project and second act for a decaying and dying infrastructure, forges new public spaces off the Lakefront from West Town to Lakeshore East and transforms nearly 100 acres with the excitement of inventive design unlike anything else seen in any world-class city.

    "In an age of accelerated change," states Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, "today's Chicago architects are forging a new direction and developing an extraordinary range of new visionary ideas that test the limits of the realms of everyday life and everyday building with a network of architectural talent infused with new exploration, new objectives, new aspirations, and new experiments to shape the world's environment around us."

    For details of the exhibition which opens on 12 November please Click Here.

    Nick Myall

    News Editor

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