“The Chicago Architecture Biennial recently announced a theme for its inaugural year. The theme, “The State of the Art of Architecture,” pays homage to a landmark 1977 conference organized by architect Stanley Tigerman at the Graham Foundation for the Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

That conference was a polemical firestorm, with high stakes: as modernist strictures were losing hold, and as social upheavals refigured urban life, the design profession struggled to remain internally coherent and culturally relevant. When it’s launched next October, the Biennial will have to respond to similarly existential concerns. In a statement, the Biennial suggests an intimidating list of “registers” that architecture works across, “from housing to education, from environmental awareness to economic growth, from local communities to global networks.”

For a preview of what the state of the art of architecture might be indeed, Newcity checked in with its most distinguished statesman.

The Chicago Architecture Biennial is borrowing a title from you. Does that feel like a homecoming? Or like we’re running out of ideas? 
I don’t think either. This Biennial is the beginning of something. Picking up on the phrase “the State of the Art of Architecture” is, to me, an obvious way to begin.”

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