We were in Chicago last week covering the first ever Chicago Architecture Biennial. Chicago is the first American city to launch an architectural biennial of this size. The event was established in order to provide a public platform for architectural projects and installations, similar to that of theVenice Bienniale (which we covered last year). Chicago definitely made sense as a host city as it is centrally located, has strong ties to the architectural community, and has the public space to facilitate the event.
Despite a strong effort and good intentions, the event as a whole was pretty underwhelming and disorganized. There were definitely some highlights and a few exhibits/installations worth mentioning, but the overall narrative (or lack thereof) didn’t seem to reflect the original mission. There was a lack of clarity surrounding the programming and a general lack of engagement with the public, you could walk right past most of the programming without even knowing it was part of a larger experience. I am sure these are things that can and will be solved in the future of the event. You can see some of our coverage for Architect Magazine here.