During the course of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, panels, speakers, films and tour will spend hours extolling the wonders of the built environment. In the midst of this design celebration, it would be a shame if those attending weren't able to make the relatively short trip to the Garfield Park Conservatory on the city's west side to see one of the more bucolic, beautiful arguments advancing the artistry of architecture. Solarise, an installation by the local art duo Luftwerk, literally and figuratively shines a light on one of Chicago's unique public buildings. Designed and built from 1906-1907 via a unique collaboration between Jens Jensen, the city's chief landscape architect, and a team of Prairie School architects, the 4.5-acres site, which Jensen called "landscape gardening under glass," was built to recall the great haystacks of the Midwest, not the palaces of Europe. Inspired by Jensen's vision, Luftwerk transformed this rolling glass exterior, and the numerous gardens inside, with a series of five works that will be up through next September.
"It has always been one of our favorite sites in the city, and while working in it, the appreciation only got deeper," says Petra Bachmaier, one half of the Luftwerk duo alongside partner Sean Gallero. "With the conservatory, you have a structure that houses nature. It's a nice continuation of the process in that sense, creating a dialogue with nature and geometry."
· Previous Luftwerk Coverage [Curbed Chicago]
· The Curbed Guide to the Chicago Architecture Biennial [Curbed]
· 18 Hotels to Stay at During the Chicago Architecture Biennial [Curbed Chicago]
· 26 Iconic Downtown Buildings That Every Chicagoan Must Know [Curbed]