Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017

Reflecting on the past as a means to envision the influence built environments might wield in the future.

Presented for just the second time, the Chicago Architecture Biennial has quickly cemented its position as the leading gathering of its kind in the United States, corralling design thinkers from home and abroad to showcase new perspectives in architecture.

This year, Biennial Artistic Directors, Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee of Johnston Marklee urged over 140 participants to respond to an invitation to ‘Make New History,’ reflecting on the past as a means to envision the influence built environments might wield in the future. Conceived as a means to showcase the transformative power of architecture in contemporary society, the theme’s influence asserts itself both literally and figuratively. The pair’s exhibition design, for instance, promises to redefine the Chicago Cultural Center, with viewing experiences that shift from open arcades to maze-like galleries.

Among its varied program, projects include a contemporary reimagining of the 1922 Chicago Tribune Tower Competition, experimental architectural photography and a feast of installations, performances, and talks that span the city. We also anticipate the inclusion of work from long-term Aesop collaborators, including Johnston and Marklee, who created Aesop Platform; Frida Escobedo, designer of Aesop Wynwood and Aesop Oxford Exchange; and Norman Kelley, our collaborator for Aesop Bucktown.

The Biennial shows from September 16, 2017, to January 7, 2018.

‘All things are engaged in writing their history.'

Ralph Waldo Emerson