Earlier this month, Chicago took in its last glimpses of the city’s first architecture biennial. An outgrowth of the City’s Cultural Plan and drawing more than half a million visitors over three months, the biennial enabled a vast network of spaces where different approaches and roles of architecture and design in communities were brought to multiple audiences. The programming offering was intense and amplified by the multiple partnering institutions that offered their spaces across the city.
Among the exhibitions that came down was one I spent the last half-year working on with my colleagues at the University of Chicago’s Place Lab and Arts + Public Life Initiative headed by artist Theaster Gates. The exhibition, “Forms of Imagination,” explored the role of public design and architecture projects in fostering creative communities and gave visitors the opportunity to experience the spaces and programs that our team has pioneered on Chicago’s mid-South Side.