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Chicago Architecture Biennial opens for 2021 – Chicago Tribune

Across the city’s neighborhoods, Chicago Architecture Biennial settles in for a few months

Jack Guthman (left), chair of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and artistic director David Brown at Soil Lab in North Lawndale, one of the Biennial activity sites. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)
Jack Guthman (left), chair of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and artistic director David Brown at Soil Lab in North Lawndale, one of the Biennial activity sites. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)
 

One slogan of our city is “urbs in horto,” a Latin phrase meaning “city in a garden.” There it is on the official city seal, created a few months after Chicago became a city on March 4, 1837, when something in the neighborhood of four thousand people lived here.

I doubt if any of the 2,746,388 people who live here now (according to the 2020 census) might warm to that slogan. The city is now too complex, too big and many of its neighborhoods too beleaguered and disenfranchised for such easy and upbeat mottos.

David Brown arrived in Chicago in 2004. Born and raised in Nashville, he came here after teaching for some years at Rice University in Houston. He came here to work at the University of Illinois Chicago where he is now a professor at its School of Architecture.

“I was surprised by the density of the city, how close buildings were to one another,” he told me. “I was also surprised by the number of vacant lots here. I did not expect so many vacancies.”

Those vacancies, vacant lots owned by the city, then numbered some 15,000 (now around 10,000) and inspired Brown to create a project called “The Available City” that has become the guiding force for Brown, who has long been exploring with energy and vision — and a few frustrations — how these vacant lots might be transformed into usable public spaces, might enrich and redefine the city

This year is the fourth time for the Biennial, which runs Sept. 17 to Dec. 18 and takes as its theme “The Available City.” Unlike past years, there’s no single, grand show at the Cultural Center, instead a collection of sites across Chicago.

As the artistic director of this year’s fourth Chicago Architectural Biennial, the global architecture festival, which formally begins Sept. 17 and continues through Dec. 18, Brown is proud that his “The Available City” is the theme of this year’s event.

Read on >>>>> Source: Chicago Architecture Biennial opens for 2021 – Chicago Tribune

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