Tower for Chicago
The Courtyard of the Chicago Cultural Center houses two Chicago Biennial Projects that exist in dialog with one another. In 2015, biennial artistic directors Sarah Herda and Joseph Grima commissioned Japanese architects Atelier Bow Wow, renowned for their research into leftover spaces and microscale architectural inventions, to consider what had become of the former library courtyard. Bow Wow proposed a project after Giovanni Battista Piranesi: an italian draftsman of the 18th century whose famed vedute (views) showed imaginary scenes from touristic sketches of Rome in ruins as well as visions of imaginary prisons which, in their time, served as a critique. Bow Wow recalls this reference as an impetus for their installation filling the inaccessible center of the Cultural Center with a playful stage set of ramps and walkways.
Anne Holtrop was invited to engage with Bow Wow’s courtyard for the 2017 biennial. His tower design emerged from an inkblot drawing: it triggers imagination and associations. Holtrop’s work is often concerned with the monolithic and sculptural, and, here, brings to mind another prominent instance of visionary architectural view: that of Mies van der Rohe’s 1922 Friedrichstrasse tower—a montage of unrealized promise in charcoal, this tower design was one of the earliest visions of what would become the curtain wall-type entirely glass high-rise. Each window looking in to the courtyard frames a different relationship between the monolithic tower amongst the playful rope circus. Both projects remind us of the ways that visionary architectural drawings–even when they are never realised in built form–still have the powerful potential to influence the architect’s imagination in the production of new forms.
Anne Holtrop practices architecture between Amsterdam and Bahrain. His work ranges from models to temporary spaces and buildings. In 2015, the first two major buildings—the Museum Fort Vechten and the National Pavilion of the Kingdom of Bahrain—were completed. In 2016, Anne Holtrop co-curated and designed the Bahrain Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennial: Places of Production, Aluminium. The studio is currently working on the conservation and new additions of fourteen historic buildings in Muharraq and Manama including the redevelopment of the public streets and squares of the Sheikh Ebrahim Center. He is currently guest professor at the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio in Switzerland. For his practice, Anne has been awarded several grants from the Mondrian Fund. For his practice he has been awarded several grants from the Mondrian Fund, as well as receiving the Charlotte Kohler Prize for Architecture from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds in 2007. We won the prestigious Iakov Chernikhov International Prize 2014. The 2G monograph series dedicated its seventy-third issue to Studio Anne Holtrop.