17 conceptional towers form a 'vertical city' at the chicago architecture biennial
 

17 conceptional towers form a 'vertical city' at the chicago architecture biennial

at the chicago architecture biennial, 17 scaled models — each standing at a height of 16 feet (5 meters) — have been erected inside the chicago cultural center. each tower has been designed by a different practice, with contributions from francis kéré, OFFICE kersten geers david van severen, and tatiana bilbao, among others. titled ‘vertical city’, the exhibit revisits the 1922 chicago tribune tower competition, which attracted 263 entries from the united states and around the world.

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
the models each stand at a height of 16 feet (5 meters)
image © designboom (main image by steve hall)

 

 

‘each entry included a rendered perspective from the same vantage point; these were later published as a report alongside a touring exhibition of drawings that stopped at various educational and cultural institutions in the US,’ explains the chicago architecture biennial’s artistic directors, sharon johnston and mark lee. ‘the combination of print media, exhibition, and architecture in this instance effectively sealed the imagery of individual towers shown as a collection.’

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
ensamble studio’s proposal at the center of the exhibit
image © designboom

 

 

the project drove many responses and copies, including an exhibition of late-entry drawings organized in 1980 by the chicago seven, led by stanley tigerman, that gathered a cross section of paper-oriented architectural ideas and influences. conversely, the 2017 chicago architecture biennial eschews drawings for a series of scaled models. establishing the backdrop for the current designs, two replica towers are included from the original competition — viennese architect adolf loos’s overscaled column and german ludwig hilberseimer’s rationalized block. see more on the projects below.

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
‘this revision of the topic brings an opportunity to investigate the contemporary role of the skyscraper and the office building at once, building upon architectural legacy,’ ensamble studio tells designboom. ‘our particular proposal is a prototype we call big bang tower that transposes the monumentality of the built form to the interior of the tower, bringing urban scale into the stacked spaces and creating a framework that welcomes flexibility of use.’
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
‘vertical city’ revisits the 1922 chicago tribune tower competition
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
francis kéré’s reimagined tribune tower references the tower of babel as a driving force for its design. by embracing communication and community, the scheme anticipates multiple aspects of modern life existing within the same building footprint. as opposed to a conventional skyscraper design, all structural and technical aspects of kéré’s design exist in three separate cores pushed to the exterior, freeing up the interior for a variety of different uses.
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
‘to make new history, we must look at other histories,’ says serie architects, whose proposal is derived from a ‘non-western historical tradition’. consequently, its scheme for the chciago tribune’s ‘far east asian headquarters’ draws from ancient chinese architecture.
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
floorplates are populated with colorful furnishings
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
the stacked pavilions form a pagoda-like structure
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
in total, 17 scaled models have been erected
image by kendall mccaugherty

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
‘whatever this is, it is on the verge of nothing-in-particular,’ says MOS, describing its towering stack of glass cubes. ‘it is an average,’ the new york-based studio continues. ‘it is a technical marvel. maybe it is a knowing wink and nod toward quote-unquote history. maybe not. it couldn’t care less or more.’
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
tatiana bilbao’s ‘(not) another tower’ proposal seeks to ‘reconcile vertical urbanization within a tower typology capable of fostering a city’s civic character’. ‘since cities are not the product of a singular vision, but patchworks of historical layers, the project attempts to emulate the urbanization process by subdividing the tower into 192 plots and working with 14 collaborative neighbors,’ explains bilbao.
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
15 architecture studios participated in the project
image © designboom


OFFICE kersten geers david van severen’s tower (left) is conceived as ‘the incremental multiplication working against perspective in height’. ‘in our complex dance with peter wachtler and michael van den abeele’s art, we merely achieve an approximation: an upside down obelisk,’ say the architects.
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
large scale models tower over visitors to the exhibition space
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
barozzi/veiga’s all-black tower is a pure cubic form, which is characterized by a static structural geometric grid that becomes a continuous ornament. ‘the repetitive nature of the structure creates a clear modular organization in order to maintain the integrity of all parts of the project, thereby underlining their individuality and unified whole,’ explain the architects.
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
titled ‘returning’, 6a architects’ proposal resembles a totem pole of stacked artifacts
image © designboom

chicago architecture biennial vertical city
the chicago architecture biennial is open to the public until january 7, 2018
image by steve hall

 

 

chicago architecture biennial metropolitana milan

 

the second edition of the chicago architecture biennial (CAB) is the largest architecture and design exhibition in north america, showcasing the transformative global impact of creativity and innovation in these fields. this year’s biennial features over 141 practitioners from more than 20 countries addressing the 2017 theme ‘make new history.’ artistic directors sharon johnston and mark lee have selected architects and artists whose eye-opening creations will invite the public to explore how the latest architecture can and will make new history in places around the world.

 

CAB is hosted by the chicago department of cultural affairs and special events at the historic chicago cultural center. the ‘make new history’ exhibition extends to off-site locations and is amplified through six community anchor exhibitions in the neighborhoods and two special project sites — plus installations, performances, talks, films, and more hosted by over 100 local and global cultural partners.

 

the main exhibition is free and open to the public from september 16, 2017 through january 7, 2018.

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