Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that 530,551 Chicago residents and visitors from abroad took part in the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB), which closed Jan. 3, 2016. It was the largest international exhibition of contemporary architecture ever to have taken place in North America, featuring the visionary ideas of 120 participating architecture and design offices from more than 30 countries.
The exhibition was free and open to the general public at the Biennial’s hub, the Chicago Cultural Center, and sites across the city and the region. Based on the first edition’s success, the Biennial will return to Chicago in the fall of 2017.
“The first-ever Chicago Architecture Biennial was an unequivocal success, exceeding our expectations for attendance and bolstered Chicago’s reputation as the vanguard of architectural thinking on the national and international stage,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The City of Chicago is synonymous with architectural innovation, from the world’s first modern skyscrapers to the forefront of urban design, which is why Chicago was naturally suited to host an architectural event of this scale.”
Biennial venues included Millennium Park’s Chase Promenade, the BP Prize-winning “Chicago Horizon” Lakefront Kiosk at Museum Campus, the Graham Foundation, Stony Island Arts Bank on the city’s South Side and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed SC Johnson headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin. Many more attended public programs (talks, tours, films and more) presented by 114 partner organizations across the city and the region—including neighborhood parks and libraries, universities and museums. More than 10,000 students experienced the Chicago Architecture Biennial—and the Biennial partnered with the Chicago Architecture Foundation to create a special program for K-12 students that included bilingual tours, a downloadable guide for children and a teen ambassador program.