Chicago Architecture Biennial at the Chicago Cultural Center

September 16, 2017January 7, 2018

The 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial showcased the work of more than 140 participants, who were invited by the curators to Make New History. Whether drawings, installations, environments, or performances, the projects on view reflected the ongoing significance of the past and the myriad ways that history is invoked in the production of new forms of architectural thought.

Studio Gang’s contribution highlighted how the history and life cycle of building materials can inform architectural form making. Wood, for instance, played a generative role in the Studio’s Writers Theatre project in Glencoe, Illinois, with the structure reflecting the local area’s history of timber production and resonating with Glencoe’s many Tudor style buildings, which recall a golden age of English drama. Experimentation with the material led to the development of an innovative structural system that uses wood in tension to hang the structure’s second-floor canopy walk from roof beams without mechanical fastening. Used in place of fastening is a wood “cat’s paw” detail, developed in collaboration with a team of timber specialists and engineers, that utilizes connection techniques akin to traditional Chinese and Japanese joinery methods. The full-scale mock-up used to test the structural and expressive capabilities of this innovative wood system was on view in the Cultural Center throughout the run of the Biennial.

More information about the Biennial

Photo: Tom Harris Photography