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Speculative Chicago: A Compendium of Architectural Innovation

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Tuesday, February 25, 2003–Saturday, March 29, 2003
Location:
Gallery 400
400 South Peoria Street, Chicago, IL 60607

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Architects: 37500, Borum, Daubmann, Hyde, and Roddier, Tom Brock, Joseph Burns, Thornton-Thomasetti Engineers, Kristin Randall Burrello, Rita Grendze, Odile Compagnon, David A. Cintron, Jr. AIA, McLain Clutter, DAC Studios, Ltd., Davis Brody Bond Architects + Planners, Digital-DOA, Dirk Denison Architects, EHDD Architecture, Ammar Eloueini, Digit-all Studio, Michael Everts, Farr Associates, Laurie Farr, Julia Fish, Julie Flohr and Jason Sachs, Christopher Frye, Phillips Swager Associates, Meton Gadelha, Garofalo Architects, Frank Gehry Architects, Gensler with Urbanlab and Christine Tarkowski, G. Goldberg and Associates, Ellen Grimes, Sharon Haar with Cecilia Benites, Hartray Danker Kagan McKay Architects Planners, Ltd., Anthony Hurtig, IAA: Phillip Taylor, Lars Fischer, Doug Ischar, Helmut Jahn, K2 Architects, Richard Kasemsarn, Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Krueck & Sexton Architects, Landon Bone Baker Architects, David Leary, Frank Christopher Lee, Lohan Caprile Goettsch Architects, Clare Lyster, Mhairi McVicar, Andrew Metter, Carl Ray Miller, Jonathan Miller, Miller/Hull Partnership, Brian Court, Keith Mitnick with Mireille Roddier, Stewart Hicks, Muller + Muller: David Steele, Museum of Contemporary Phenomena, Helen Slade Curator, Anders Nereim, Ben Nicholson, Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Douglas Pancoast, Pappageorge Haymes, Ltd., Frederick Phillips and Assoc., John Podmajersky III, PPKS Architects. Ltd., PS Studio: Paula Palombo and Eric Schall with Michael Landau, Joshua Roberts, Robertson + McAnulty Architects, John Ronan Architect, Ann Schroeder and Ken Temple, Simparch, SLO, Swift Lee Office, Studio Gang, Christine Tarkowski, Lisa Tilder, Urbanlab: Sarah Dunn + Martin Felsen with Stefan Grasso, Joe Valerio with Valerio DeWalt Train, Xavier Vendrell Studio – Borum, Daubmann, Hyde and Roddier, Rafael Viñoly, Brian Vitale + Robert Benson for Von Weise Associates, Charles Waldheim and Marili Santos-Munné, Tim Wilkin, Wilkinson Blender Architecture, Wood + Zapata Architects

In order to bring together the very latest speculative work from in and around Chicago, a group of sixteen Chicagoan co-curators (architects, designers, teachers, writers) pooled their knowledge and worked collaboratively with Gallery 400 Director, Lorelei Stewart, which results in the assemblage of Speculative ChicagoSpeculative Chicago seeks nothing less than a wholesale transformation of public awareness (both local and national) of Chicago’s architectural scene by drawing attention to on-going projects. By revealing and asserting the collective inventiveness of Chicago’s architects and architectural speculators, the show pointedly intends to catalyze a much-needed discussion of the spirit of innovation buried within Chicago’s (often under-recognized) emerging architectural practices.

These speculations appear in a variety of scales, types, and degrees of complexity. Included in the exhibition are models, drawings, demonstrations, publications, films, videos, and samples from forty-nine designers working in Chicago or creating works for the city. These multifarious works set out to interrogate contemporary cultural contexts, technological developments, and methods of production through a variety of media. For all their differences, each of the projects shares a vested interest in “speculation.” Speculating appears in multiple guises: that of assuming risk in the hope of gain; meditating on or pondering a subject; suggesting, testing, and examining; curiosity and questioning; and theorizing versus demonstrating.

Speculating appeared in multiple guises: that of assuming risk in the hope of gain; meditating on or pondering a subject; suggesting, testing and examining; curiosity and questioning; and theorizing versus demonstrating.

Speculation can also be understood as research and other theoretical work that mines (and undermines) pre-existing thinking for new strategies, tactics, and techniques; fabrications, or constructed works on various scales that pursue innovation through an appropriation of contemporary technical and productive intelligence; projects, or architectural works that demonstrate contemporary insight and/or make significant contributions to the ongoing debate concerning the built environment; and networks, or urban works that demonstrate contemporary insight and/or make significant contributions to the ongoing debate concerning the public space.

In all cases the work is specific to Chicago and the neighboring area or is the work of Chicago and vicinity individuals or firms. Chicago has a great tradition of speculation. For much of its history the city enjoyed an international reputation for innovation and experimentation, most recently in the form of “Modern” architecture. It was in Chicago where the skyscraper was born, where Sullivan and Wright thrived, to which Mies emigrated. Chicago’s phenomenal growth in the 19th century was fuelled by the fire of 1871, leading to innovation in material, fabrication, and environmental technologies.

Speculative Chicago and its accompanying website contest the idea that the city has lost its architectural edge by exhibiting current ideas and works that once again employ the city as a laboratory for experimentation, and in so doing, they attempt to challenge the status quo. Speculative Chicago brings together architects, designers, theorists and other “speculators,” who demonstrate that innovation continues to thrive in the “city that works.”

Related:

EXHIBITION SUPPORT

Speculative Chicago: A Compendium of Architectural Innovation is supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago; and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

PRESS RELEASE

Speculative Chicago: A Compendium of Architectural Innovation

Gallery 400
Chicago, IL
February 25–March 29, 2003

Opening Reception: Wednesday, February 26, 2003, 4-7 pm
Panel Discussion: Thursday, March 27, 2003, 6 pm

Including works and projects by over 50 architects, designers, theorists, and other “speculators” working in Chicago or building projects in Chicago, the exhibition argues that innovation concerning the built environment continues to thrive in the “city that works.”

Exhibitors:

Borum, Daubmann, Hyde and Roddier
Tom Brock
Jospeh Bums, Thornton·Thomasetti
Engineers
Kristin Randall Burrello, Rita Grendze, Odile
Campagnan
McLain Clutter
Davis Brody Bond Architects + Planners
Dirk Denison Architects
Digital-DOA
EHDD Architecture
Ammar Eloueini, Digit-All Studio
Julia Fish
Julie Flohr and Jason Sachs
Meton Gadehla
Studio Gang
Garofalo Architects
Gensler with UrbanLab and Christine
Tarkowski
Ellen Grimes
Sharon Haar with Cecilia Benites
Kevin Harrington
Doug Ischar
K2 Architects
Krueck & Sexton Architects
Landon Bone Baker Architects
Clare Lyster
Mhairi McVicar
Cart Ray Miller
Jonathan Miller
Keith Mitnik, Mireille Roddier
Museum of Contemporary Phenomena,
Helen Slade, curator
Anders Nereim
Ben Nicholson
Office for Metropolitan Architecture
Douglas Pancoast
Pappageorge Haymes, Ltd.
Frederick Phillips and Assoc.
PPKS Architects, Ltd.
PS Studio
Robertson + McAnulty Architects
John Ronan Architect
SLO, Swift.Lee Office
Joshua Roberts
Schneider + Schumacher
Simparch
Christine Tarkowski
37500
UrbanLab
Joe Valerio of Valerio DeWalt Train
Xavier Vendrell Studio
Brian Vitale + Robert Benson for von Weise
Associates
Charles Waldheim and Marili Santos-Munne
Wilkinson Blender Architecture
Tim Wilkin

As New York and Los Angeles wrangle over the number “ONE,” for the Second City, the number seven has always had a magical aura: Al Capone served only seven years, Mayor Daley (the First) died two years shy of his seventh term. Speculative Chicago brings together 49 (7 x 7) designers working on speculative projects in and around Chicago. The exhibition comes 35 (5 x 7) years after the Chicago Seven took on the Chicago Police Department and 28 years (4 x 7) after the anti-Mies polemic Chicago Architecture. Last but not least, it follows the birth of the ubiquitous Chicago Seven (all male) architects whose first forays into self-promotion appeared in 1977.

But enough about the past: for years we’ve heard nothing about Chicago architecture outside of the history of its histories, the paucity of its polemics, the legacy of its landmarks. Speculative Chicago sets out to change all that. Whatever ghosts lie hidden within the closets of Chicago architecture’s storied past, this exhibition enthusiastically directs our attention to the future. It seeks nothing less than a wholesale transformation of public awareness (both local and national) of Chicago’s architectural scene by drawing attention to on-going projects. By revealing and asserting the collective inventiveness of Chicago’s architects and architectural speculators, the show is pointedly intended to catalyze much-needed discussion of the spirit of innovation buried within Chicago’s (often under-recognized) emerging practices. These speculations appear at a variety of scales, types, and degrees of complexity. Included in the exhibition are models, drawings, demonstrations, publications, films, videos, and samples from 49 (7 x 7) designers working in Chicago or creating works for the City.

These multifarious works set out to interrogate contemporary cultural contexts, technological developments, and methods of production through a variety of media. For all their differences, each of the projects shares a vested interest in “speculation.” Speculating appears in multiple guises:

  • Assuming risk in hope of gain
  • Meditating on or pondering a subject
  • Suggesting, testing, and examining
  • Curiosity and questioning
  • Theorizing vs. demonstrating

Speculation is also understood as research and other theoretical work that mines (and undermines) pre-existing thinking for new strategies, tactics, and techniques; fabrications, or constructed works at various scales that pursue innovation through an appropriation of contemporary technical and production intelligence; projects, or architectural works that demonstrate contemporary insight and/or significant contribution to ongoing debate concerning the built environment; and networks, or urban works that demonstrate contemporary insight and/or significant contribution to the ongoing debate concerning public space. In all cases, the work is specific to Chicago and the vicinity or is the work of Chicago and the vicinity’s individuals or firms.

Chicago has a great tradition of speculation. For much of its history the city enjoyed an international reputation for innovation and experimentation, mostly recently in the form of “Modern” architecture. It was in Chicago that the skyscraper was born, where Sullivan and Wright thrived, to which Mies emigrated. Chicago’s phenomenal growth in the 19th century was fuelled by the fire of 1871, leading to innovation in material, fabrication, and environmental technologies.

To concentrate the very latest speculative work in and around Chicago, the process for assembling Speculative Chicago has rested on the knowledge of a group of co-curators working collaboratively with Gallery 400 Director Lorelei Stewart. Sixteen Chicagoans (architects, designers, teachers, writers) selected the work in the exhibition from over one hundred proposals submitted in response to an open call for submissions. The sixteen curator/exhibitors are: Joseph Burns, Sarah Dunn, Deborah Fausch, Martin Felsen, Jeanne Gang, Douglas Garofalo, Ellen Grimes, Sharon Haar, Kevin Harrington, Robert McAnulty, Anders Nereim, Ben Nicholson, Donna Robertson, John Ronan, Mark Schendel, and Xavier Vendrell.

Speculative Chicago: A Compendium of Architectural Innovation and its accompanying catalogue contest the idea that the city has lost its architectural edge by exhibiting current ideas and works that once again employ the city as a laboratory for experimentation, and in so doing, attempt to challenge the status quo. Speculative Chicago brings together architects, designers, theorists and other “speculators” who demonstrate that innovation continues to thrive in the “city that works.”

An accompanying 176 page two-color catalogue designed by Field Study will be available in August 2003.

Speculative Chicago is generously supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and the College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago.

PRINT COLLATERAL

Postcard: Speculative Chicago: A Compendium of Architectural Innovation, Rubén Ortiz-Torres

EXHIBITION CHECKLIST

37500

Walls Optional, Batteries Not Included, 2003

Wilkinson Blender Architecture

Street Festival Entry Pavilion, 2003

Borum, Daubmann, Hyde, and Roddier

School Grounds, 2003

Davis Brody Bond Architects + Planners

Muntu Dance Theater of Chicago, 2003

Tom Brock

Experimental Station, 2003

Joseph Burns, Thornton-Thomasetti Engineers

3D Modeling of Structural Steel, 2003

Kristin Randall Burrello, Rita Grendze, Odile Compagnon

Station Earth, 2003

McLain Clutter

Bucktown House, 2003

Digital-DOA

www.digital-doa.com, 2003

Dirk Denison Architects

Untitled, 2003

EHDD Architecture

Habitat Africa, The Forest!, 2003

Ammar Eloueini, Digit-all Studio

Concept of a New Space for Issey Miyake, 2003

Julia Fish

[shadow drawings for] Living Rooms, 2003

Julie Flohr and Jason Sachs

Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, 2003

Meton Gadelha

The Space of Design, 2003

Garofalo Architects

Animation + Fabrication, 2003

Manilow Residence, 2003
architectural rendering

Gensler with Urbanlab and Christine Tarkowski

35th St. CTA Station on the Dan Ryan, 2003

Ellen Grimes

West on Western, 2003

Sharon Haar with Cecilia Benites

The Heart of Chicago, 2003

Doug Ischar

Jeffrey Dahmer’s Living Room, 2003

K2 Architects

Little Black Pearl Workshop, 2003

Landon Bone Baker Architects

Archer Courts, 2003

Clare Lyster

P.U.S.H. (Prototypical Units for new Suburban Housing), 2003

Mhairi McVicar

Progress and Memory: Contemporary Vernacular, 2003

Carl Ray Miller

Phase-Terrain.01, 2003

Jonathan Miller

Building Film, 2003

Keith Roddier Mitnick, Mireille Roddier, Stewart Hicks

Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, 2003

Museum of Contemporary Phenomena, Helen Slade, Curator

Competition for the Design of a New Voting Booth, 2003

Anders Nereim

Nervous Wall System, 2003

Ben Nicholson

The World: Who Gets It and Who Wants It?, 2003

Office for Metropolitan Architecture

IIT McCormick-Tribune Campus Center, 2003

Douglas Pancoast

Farm, 2003

Pappageorge Haymes, Ltd.

Willow Court, 2003

Frederick Phillips and Assoc.

Tower House, 2003

PPKS Architects, Ltd.

Luxor Tower, 2003

PS Studio: Paula Palombo and Eric Schall with Michael Landau

Flemington Jewish Community Center Competition, 2003

Joshua Roberts

Veintiseis, 2003

Robertson + McAnulty Architects

A Skatebowl named DuSable, 2003

John Ronan Architect

Material Investigations, 2003

Schneider + Schumacher

Chicago p3, 2003

Simparch

Clean Livin’, 2003

SLO, Swift Lee Office

59th Street House, 2003

Studio Gang

Eco-Casino-Chicago, 2003

Christine Tarkowski

Uses for foam from the uses for series, 2000

Urbanlab: Sarah Dunn + Martin Felsen with Stefan Grasso

Re-figured Landscape (MCA Chicago), 2003

Joe Valerio with Valerio DeWalt Train

Doblin Residence, 2003

Xavier Vendrell Studio

Miró Plaza, 2003

Brian Vitale + Robert Benson for Von Weise Associates

Our Lady of Guadalupe, 2003

Charles Waldheim and Marili Santos-Munné

Decamping Detroit, 2003

Tim Wilkin

A Zoning Ordinance for the City of Chicago with Appendix, 2003

Wood + Zapata Architects, Lohan Caprile Goettsch Architects

The Adaptive Reuse of Soldier Field, 2003