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The Chicago Architecture Biennial

The Biggest Contemporary Architecture Event in the Country.
Posted on September 2, 2015 | By: Mandave Saini

For those of you who are planning on visiting the city of Chicago during the later part of this year, you might be interested to know that the city is proudly hosting the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial. If you are a fan of architecture, this is definitely an event you will not want to miss, and don’t worry, you’ve got some time. The event will open on October 3rd 2015 and will continue until January 3rd 2016.

This event promises not to be just another average event, or just an evening at a gallery opening. The Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) has been created as something much bigger and considers itself an institution. It boasts to be “North America’s largest international survey of contemporary architecture”. (image credit below -  Jimmy Cohrssen)

The CAB has drawn in over one hundred sponsors in support of the over one hundred participants and exhibitors that will be displaying their projects at half a dozen Chicago locations.

What does this mean for City of Chicago and the world of contemporary architecture/design? The fact that Chicago is hosting a three-month architecture event is a good sign for the economy. Interest in this event could potentially lead to an increase in new building construction, not just in Chicago, but globally.

Many of the designs for these new contemporary structures, incorporate specialty material, often times recycled building supplies. The uniqueness of these materials creates the sense “character” a lot of these architects and designers strive to add to their structures and spaces. An example of this can be seen with CAB participant/ international design firm SOM. They were credited with the new design of the new Hyatt headquarters in Chicago. The new design utilizes strong earth tones by use of natural wood flooring and tree stump chairs and tables in the waiting areas as well as the conference rooms. The space also features a “grand glass staircase” which only further brings out the natural elements of the surrounding wood. The uniqueness of these building materials creates a strong need for trustworthy and versatile surface protection during the redesign of the space.

The need for quality surface protection increases with most contemporary designs and structures. From the seemingly perfect surfaces found in Tigerman McCurry’s Four Seasons Residence to the naturally wore surfaces of Smout Allen’s Dalston House. The value of many of these surfaces can exceed any monetary value. Some of these surfaces provide an artistic purpose, and have a back-story or features that specific to them. Others hold sentimental value with the architect, designer, or project commissioner. Surfaces of this type of value require more than an average amount of protection from potential jobsite damage.  (image credit below - Ultramoderne)

The impact of The Chicago Architecture Biennial has started early. Months before the event was scheduled to open, CAB hosted a design competition for Chicago lake front kiosks. The winning design by the company Ultramoderne received a budget $75,000 to create their design.   It is expected that we will see small events and competitions like this throughout the duration of CAB. The winning designs will likely impact your Chicago experience for years to come.
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