The Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB), the largest architecture and design exhibition in North America, has announced the appointment of David Brown as the Artistic Director of the fourth edition. Brown is a designer, researcher, and educator based at the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He investigates non-hierarchical, flexible, and variable approaches to urban design. The concept and title for the 2021 edition, The Available City, asks us to consider the impact collective space can have in cities today. Through a reinvented and responsive global platform, the Biennial will create opportunities for conversations about the intersection of architecture and design and such critical issues as health, sustainability, equity, and racial justice leading up to and throughout the run of the edition. The fourth edition of the Biennial will open in September of 2021 featuring free, public programming at sites in neighborhoods across Chicago and on digital platforms.
David Brown. © Chicago Architecture Biennial / Nathan Keay, 2020.
A concept that was incubated during the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2015, Brown’s long-term body of research forming the basis for The Available City began with an inventory of vacant city-owned lots across Chicago—currently numbering more than 10,000 sites concentrated on the city’s South and West Sides. Over more than a decade of work, Brown developed this research into an ongoing urban design proposal that connects community residents, architects, and designers to work together to create spaces reflecting the needs of local neighborhoods. For the 2021 edition, Brown will explore the framework of The Available City on a global platform, engaging both local and international projects and practices that reflect new concepts for shared space and collective agency in the city.
“Platforms such as the Biennial offer a unique space for exploring and experimenting with new ideas and projects. Since 2015, collaborations with CAB have helped shape The Available City and I look forward to how this next phase of the project will bring new perspectives to my work with community organizations and residents while also broadening the conversation—as amplified by current issues—about the role that collective space can have in cities around the world today.”– David Brown
Over the course of the first three editions, CAB has supported projects created by more than 350 architects, designers, and artists from over 40 countries considering critical topics through the lens of architecture and design. As a platform designed to highlight and explore innovation in the field, CAB is poised to present a global event that responds to changes in the way we gather, engage, and learn. The fourth edition will imagine new and exciting possibilities for activating spaces throughout the city, expanding access to architecture and design, and engaging new voices.
Speaking for the leadership of the independent, non-profit organization that produces the Biennial, Chairman Jack Guthman stated “The Biennial board recognizes the challenges inherent in planning an event of this scale for a year as unpredictable as 2021. We are nevertheless confident that the support of the Biennial by the global architecture community and by the city’s civic, cultural and philanthropic communities will foster and sustain our efforts notwithstanding these uncertain times.”
Biennial programs will kick-off on October 27 with a virtual talk featuring MacArthur Fellow and 2019 Biennial contributor landscape and public artist Walter Hood in conversation with David Brown. A schedule of in-person and virtual programming—youth workshops, conversations, and community events—will continue throughout the coming year. Through a new programming model, CAB seeks to engage audiences throughout the process of project development leading up to the opening of the 2021 edition and beyond. Over the coming months, CAB will continue to announce collaborations and initiatives being developed by local and global architects, artists, and designers.
© Chicago Architecture Biennial / Nathan Keay, 2020.
DATES: September – April 2021 / LOCATION: Chicago, IL & Online / PHOTOS: © Chicago Architecture Biennial / Nathan Keay, 2020. / TEXT: Edited from the press release by NESS