Chicago's inaugural Architecture Biennial won't be it's last. The city-wide celebration of contemporary architecture, the largest ever in North America, will be returning in 2017 after achieving "unequivocal success" during its first outing, according to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Dates, leaders and themes for the next iteration will be announced in the coming months.
Led by co-artistic directors Sarah Herda and Joseph Grima, the event, which was free and open to the public, ran from October 1 to January 3 and attracted more than half a million visitors to an array of displays and public events, including the main exhibition at the City's Cultural Center as well as satellite events such as tours of Theater Gates's renovated Stone Island Arts Bank and Frank Lloyd Wright's SC Johnson campus in nearby Racine, Wisconsin. The event, which asked more than 120 architecture and design firms from 30-plus countries to showcase their definition of the current state of architecture, received mixed reviews, with both supporters and detractors tending to focus on the eclectic nature of the event's offerings.
"The first-ever Chicago Architecture Biennial was an unequivocal success, exceeding our expectations for attendance and bolstered Chicago's reputation as the vanguard of architectural thinking on the national and international stage," said Mayor Emanuel in a statement. "The City of Chicago is synonymous with architectural innovation, from the world's first modern skyscrapers to the forefront of urban design, which is why Chicago was naturally suited to host an architectural event of this scale.
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