Chicago Architecture Biennale unveils 2021 sites and partner organizations
Following the unveiling of the initial global list of contributors to the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennale (CAB) (Studio Barnes, Bow-Wow Workshop, Hood Design Studio and Soil Lab among them) at the end of April, more details on the upcoming exhibition continue to flow at a steady pace. Yesterday, a preliminary list of sites and community partner organizations was announced and further details will be released in the coming weeks. Opening on September 17, the 2021 edition, directed by artistic director David Brown, is titled The city available and will focus on the creative and community-beneficial reuse of the thousands of vacant lots that dot Chicago’s west and south sides.
Below is a shortlist of the newly announced participating sites and organizations that will work with previously announced CAB contributors to turn disused city-owned plots into thriving community assets. This is in addition to a range of other neighborhood-focused facilities, exhibition initiatives and programs. As stated in a press release, Brown selected partner organizations to “highlight a range of innovative approaches and ideas that can turn a vacant space into a community resource.”
“The world is looking to Chicago for innovative approaches to architecture, town planning and the arts, and the contributors and partners united for The Available City are continuing this legacy,” said Michelle T. Boone, founding board member administration of the CAB. “Chicago’s neighborhood and cultural leaders look forward to welcoming the world back to Chicago in September 2021.”
- As announced in the April Contributor Announcement, Under the grid and contributor Chicago Open Architecture will come together to complete a 15-block greenway project tucked under the Chicago Transit Authority’s Pink Line that aims to “provide a safe, fun and engaging route through the community, bringing much needed vibrancy to the area.” For the project, Miami-based design Studio Barnes will develop a facility on hard land managed by the Westside Association for Community Action (WACA) which will “promote play and social gatherings and serve as a space for performances and programming”, by CAB.
- Tokyo-based 2021 contributor Bow-Wow Workshop will be joined by a cohort of architects, artists and local community leaders—Anton Sceaux, Bweza Itaagi, Andres Hernandez, and Eric Hotchkiss among them – to create an iconic 58th Street entrance plaza for a 2 mile-long nature trail running along an old elevated railway line on the south side. Led by a community development organization Great Englewood, the nature trail project “encourages coming together, connectivity and commerce, and can be a safe, welcoming and peaceful space for community residents,” according to CAB.
- HOOD project, a Woodlawn-based community organization led by Pastor Corey Brooks Sr. that provides “professional training, essential resources and tools to empower community members to become peacemakers, problem solvers, leaders and entrepreneurs, ”will partner with Chicago-based Norman Teague. and Ebere Agwuncha from Norman Teague Design Studios and architect Negin Moayer from BNMO design, to erect a facility on vacant land located in the 6600 block of South Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. Per Cab, the installation “will showcase local artists and provide space for performances as part of a long-term project to raise funds to complete the construction of a permanent ProjectHOOD community center.”
- The elder of Bronzeville Overton Elementary School with the Washington Park Development Group will team up with a Chicago-based contributor Borderless studio to “build on previous work as a biennial site for the 2021 edition,” according to the CAB. Overton Elementary, a mid-century modern landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, completed in 1963, was reactivated as part of the Creative patterns initiative, in which closed public school buildings are reused through “inclusive and community-led processes”. By CAB, Community Activation Days will be held in the Perkins & Will designed building throughout the summer before the Biennale opens in September.
- 2021 CAB partner of Christian Alternative Community Academy (CCA) will team up with Chicago and Bainbridge Island, Washington-based contributor Bittertang Farm to build on a four-part CAB Youth Studio 2019 workshop in which education-focused green space ideas were generated by Brown and Bittertang Farm in collaboration with CCA Academy students. As the CAB noted, CCA Academy’s PermaPark, a permaculture food forest in North Lawndale, currently serves as a learning site about food production and the environment as part of its Holistic Wellness program. .
- Sponsored by Lendlease from The South Loop South Shore Park in the South Loop, will partner with companies based in Chicago and Philadelphia HARBOR for a site-specific installation that responds to the history of the Chicago River.
As mentioned, more information on these contributor / community organization partnerships, as well as details on the CAB 2021 programming, including workshops, talks and performances, will be announced in the coming weeks.