Credit: Courtesy Chicago Architecture Biennial


On the eve of the 2014 AIA Convention in Chicago, the city announced its inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, to be held next year. Looking to emulate the success of the Venice Biennale, the Chicago Architecture Biennial aims to bring an international exposition of architecture to North America, in partnership with the City of Chicago and the Graham Foundation.

At the announcement, Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel said, “Architecture defines a city, and no city has been defined by its architecture— or has influenced global architectural design—like Chicago. The Chicago Architecture Biennial will showcase the city’s widely-respected architectural heritage, promote architecture as one of our thriving creative sectors, and deliver a rich cultural experience to our neighborhoods.”

The Chicago Cultural Center (left) will be the hub of activity for the Biennial, to be held in October 2015.

The Chicago Cultural Center (left) will be the hub of activity for the Biennial, to be held in October 2015.

Credit: Courtesy Deane Madsen


With the Beaux-Arts Chicago Cultural Center—sited at the edge of Millenium Park—playing host to an exhibition of contemporary work by leading architects, the Chicago Architecture Biennial will capitalize on a location surrounded by canonical works from several different periods. Co-directors of the Biennial Sarah Herda and Joseph Grima point to the city’s history as the birthplace of modernism as one of the driving factors behind the decision to host an architectural exhibition: “Every architect in the world knows our city’s history of innovation in the field through the work of architects such as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe,” Herda said in a release. “The Biennial will place Chicago, once again, at the forefront of the architectural imagination.”

Watch Chicago Tribune critic Blair Kamin discuss the Biennial.