Make New History

The 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial showcased the work of over 140 participants, gathered together around the invitation to ‘Make New History’. The Biennial united a main exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center with a selection of off-site projects, a broad range of aligned exhibitions, and an extensive series of public programming.

The Artistic Directors developed a series of topics that highlighted different modes of architectural production ranging from the book to the city and provided structure for the shared interests and practices between participants: Image, Material, Building, and Civic Histories. Whether taking the form of drawings, installations, environments, or performances, Biennial projects reflected on the ongoing significance of the past and the many ways that history is invoked in the production of new forms of architectural thought.

Visit the 2017 edition website.

Here Hear, Nick Cave and Jeanne Gang | James Richards IV, 2017
Finite Format 04, Pezo Von Ellrichshausen | Tom Harris, 2017
Participants in a youth design workshop | Paola Aguirre, 2017
Between Futility and Desire, Scott Fortino | Tom Harris, 2017

Exhibition Sites

Chicago Cultural Center

Artistic Directors Johnston Marklee transformed the Chicago Cultural Center by introducing a series of unique viewing experiences; from arcades and salons to labyrinthine galleries and lounges. The building’s rooms, galleries, and even hallways were transformed into spaces where visitors experienced both the Biennial and the historic building in new ways. Lounges throughout the building took inspiration from the Cultural Center’s long-standing role as a public gathering space in the heart of the city.

The City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower

The Historic Water Tower arts space in downtown Chicago hosted a video installation of Gerard & Kelly's two previous chapters of Modern Living. The gallery also featured an exhibition of James Welling’s psychedelic, colorized images of the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive Apartments, both also designed by Mies van der Rohe.

Community Anchor Sites

Six neighborhood institutions—Beverly Arts Center, DePaul Art Museum, DuSable Museum of African American History, Hyde Park Art Center, National Museum of Mexican Art, and National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture—mounted exhibitions curated around each institution’s mission and connecting to the global ideas of the Biennial.

Farnsworth House

Multidisciplinary performance artists Gerard & Kelly presented a new chapter of their site-specific project, Modern Living, at the iconic Farnsworth House in Plano, IL, designed in 1945 by Mies van der Rohe for the patron Edith Farnsworth. Gerard & Kelly created a choreographic score deploying three dancers in temporary constellations of solos, duos, and trios, spread throughout the interior and exterior spaces.

Navy Pier

The Biennial partnered with Navy Pier and EXPO CHICAGO to bring a collaborative, site-specific performance created by artist Nick Cave and architect Jeanne Gang to the lakefront during the opening of the 2015 edition. Performers wearing Cave's iconic "soundsuits" interacted with audience members and incorporated objects custom-designed by Studio Gang in a festive salute to Chicago's creative spirit.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Francois Perrin installed an architectural experiment in the Palm House at the Garfield Park Conservatory entitled Air Houses: Design for a New Climate. The Conservatory was also the site of L’air pour l’air by architects SO–IL and artist Ana Prvački called. The team created an ensemble of air-filtering mesh enclosures, designed to be worn by musicians playing a composition for wind instruments.


Make New History, the catalogue for the 2017 edition, was published by Lars Müller Publishers and edited by Mark Lee, Sharon Johnston, Sarah Hearne and Letizia Garzoli. The catalogue may be purchased through Lars Müller.


51N4E (Brussels, Belgium; Tirana, Albania)

6a architects (London, UK)

Ábalos+Sentkiewicz (Madrid, Spain; Cambridge, USA; Shanghai, China)

Adamo-Faiden (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

AGENdA agencia de arquitectura (Medellin, Colombia)

Aires Mateus (Lisbon, Portugal)

Ana Prvački and SO-IL (Los Angeles, USA; New York, USA)

Andrew Kovacs (Los Angeles, USA)

Angela Deuber Architect (Chur, Switzerland)

Ania Jaworska (Chicago, USA)

Aranda\Lasch and Terrol Dew Johnson (New York, USA; Tucson, USA)

Archi-Union (Shanghai, China)

Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu (Ghent, Belgium)

Arno Brandlhuber and Christopher Roth (Berlin, Germany)

Atelier Manferdini (Venice, USA)

AWP office for territorial reconfiguration (Paris, France; London, UK)

Bak Gordon Arquitectos (Lisbon, Portugal)

Barbas Lopes (Lisbon, Portugal)

Barkow Leibinger (Berlin, Germany)

baukuh and Stefano Graziani (Milan, Italy; Genoa, Italy)

Besler & Sons LLC (Los Angeles, USA)

BLESS (Berlin, Germany)


Caruso St John and Thomas Demand (London, UK; Zurich, Switzerland; Berlin, Germany)

Charlap Hyman & Herrero (Los Angeles, USA; New York, USA)

Charles Waldheim (Cambridge, USA)

Christ & Gantenbein (Basel, Switzerland)

Daniel Everett (Chicago, USA; Salt Lake City, USA)

David Schalliol (Chicago, USA)

Dellekamp Arquitectos (Mexico City, Mexico)

Design With Company (Chicago, USA)

Diego Arraigada Arquitectos (Rosario, Argentina)

DOGMA (Brussels, Belgium)

DRDH (London, UK)

ENSAMBLE STUDIO (Madrid, Spain; Boston, USA)

Éric Lapierre Architecture (Paris, France)

Estudio Barozzi Veiga (Barcelona, Spain)

fala atelier (Porto, Portugal)

Filip Dujardin (Ghent, Belgium)

Fiona Connor and Erin Besler (Los Angeles, USA; Auckland, New Zealand)

First Office (Los Angeles, USA)

formlessfinder (New York, USA)

Frida Escobedo (Mexico City, Mexico)

Gerard & Kelly (Los Angeles, USA; New York, USA)

Go Hasegawa (Tokyo, Japan)

HHF Architects (Basel, Switzerland)

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (Chicago, USA)

MAYER H. und Partner, Architekten and Philip Ursprung (Berlin, Germany)

James Welling (New York, USA)

Jesús Vassallo (Houston, USA)

Jorge Otero-Pailos (New York, USA)

June14 Meyer-Grohbrügge & Chermayeff (New York, USA; Berlin, Germany)

Karamuk * Kuo Architects (New York, USA; Zurich, Switzerland)

Keith Krumwiede (New York, USA)

Kéré Architecture (Berlin, Germany)

Kuehn Malvezzi (Berlin, Germany)

Luisa Lambri (Milan, Italy)

Lütjens Padmanabhan Architekten (Zurich, Switzerland)

Made In (Geneva, Switzerland; Zurich, Switzerland)

MAIO (Barcelona, Spain)

Marianne Mueller (Zurich, Switzerland)

Marshall Brown (Chicago, USA)

MG&Co. (Houston, USA)

MONADNOCK (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

MOS (New York, USA)

Norman Kelley (Chicago, USA; New York, USA)

Nuno brandåo costa arquitectos Ida (Porto, Portugal)

OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen (Brussels, Belgium)

PASCAL FLAMMER (Zurich, Switzerland)

Patrick Braouezec (Paris, France)

Paul Andersen and Paul Preissner (Chicago, USA; Denver, USA)

Pezo Von Ellrichshausen (Concepción, Chile)

Philipp Schaerer (Zurich, Switzerland)

PRODUCTORA (Mexico City, Mexico)

REAL Foundation (London, UK)

Robert Somol (Chicago, USA)

SADAR+VUGA (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Sam Jacob Studio (London, UK)

SAMI-arquitectos (Setubal, Portugal)

SANAA (Tokyo, Japan)

Sauter von Moos (Basel, Switzerland)

Sergison Bates (London, UK; Zurich, Switzerland)

Serie Architects (London, UK; Zurich, Switzerland)


Stan Allen Architect (New York, USA)

Studio Anne Holtrop (Muharraq, Bahrain; Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Studiomumbai (Mumbai, India)

Sylvia Lavin (Los Angeles, USA)

T+E+A+M (Ann Arbor, USA)

Tatiana Bilbao Estudio (Mexico City, Mexico)

Tham & Videgård Arkitekter (Stockholm, Sweden)

The Empire (Verona, Italy)

The Living (New York, USA)

The Los Angeles Design Group (Los Angeles, USA)

Thomas Baecker Bettina Kraus (Berlin, Germany)

Tigerman McCurry Architects (Chicago, USA)

Toshiko Mori Architect (New York, USA)

UrbanLab (Chicago, USA; Los Angeles, USA)

Urbanus (Shenzhen, China; Beijing, China)

Veronika Kellndorfer (Berlin, Germany)


WORKac (New York, USA)

Zago Architecture (Los Angeles, USA)

ZAO/standardarchitecture (Shanghai, China)


Johnston Marklee, Artistic Directors
Letizia Garzoli, Associate Curator
Sarah Hearne, Associate Curator 

Graphic Design and Art Direction
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Jan Kostner, Director of Marketing
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Ashley Galloway, Special Events and Engagement Manager
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