More than 120 years ago, Chicago’s World Columbia Exhibition made Beaux-Art the gold standard of American architecture. The 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial, newly titled “The State of the Art of Architecture,” will walk a more delicate balance—taking stock of today’s architecture while simultaneously challenging the public’s vision for its future.

The city of Chicago itself will play a central role in the exhibition. The biennial committee also announced that it had commissioned world-renowned architectural photographer Iwan Baan to document the Windy City from the air, capturing its daily life and its cache of new and historic architecture. Accompanying Baan’s work will be a series of events, exhibitions, and installations, all aiming to explore the diversity of architectural practice. It will examine design through a number of mediums, such as film and performance, while also emphasizing architecture’s role civic, economic, and environmental roles. However, as the organizers have made explicit, the biennial at large will argue specifically for Chicago’s relevancy in the future of architecture and urbanism.

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