The Biennial

The Chicago Architecture Biennial is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to creating an international forum on architecture and urbanism through the production of distinctive exhibitions and public programs. The Biennial creates new opportunities every two years for emerging talent in architecture, design, and the arts to engage a wide public audience.   

Explore how architecture shapes our communities, cities and environment. The third edition of the Biennial, open 19 September 2019 – 5 January 2020, is particularly inspired by Chicago, moving beyond the grand narratives of the city’s architectural heritage to explore the history and conditions that have and continue to shape its urban development. With a broader view on the field of architecture, it embraces practices that span building, design, planning, visual art, policymaking, education, and activism.

Emanating from the central exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center and extending into the city, the 2019 Biennial — titled ... and other such stories — features a series of new commissions, residencies, partner projects, and public programs.

Developed through a research-led approach and led by Artistic Director Yesomi Umolu with curators Sepake Angiama and Paulo Tavares, the biennial addresses the potency of space, architecture, and the natural world as they relate to four areas of inquiry: (1) No Land Beyond, which draws inspiration from indigenous approaches to nature, ecology, and landscape that transcend property ownership; (2) Appearances and Erasures, which explores both shared and contested memories in consideration of monuments, memorials, and social histories; and (3) Rights and Reclamations and (4) Common Ground, which foreground aspects of rights, advocacy, and civic purpose in architectural practice, including affordable and equitable housing.                   

The inaugural 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial — presented in partnership with the City of Chicago and the Graham Foundation — was the manifestation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s vision for a major international architectural event and an outcome of the comprehensive cultural plan developed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events under the leadership of Michelle T. Boone. Curated by Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda (2015) and Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee (2017), the previous editions each welcomed over half a million visitors and collectively engaged over 250 leaders in architecture and art from more than 60 cities spanning 38 nations.


Artistic Directors

  • Yesomi Umolu

  • Johnston Marklee

  • Joseph Grima & Sarah Herda


Board of Directors

  • Jack Guthman

  • Ambassador Louis Susman

    Director Emeritus
  • Michelle T. Boone

  • Robert Clark

  • Keating Crown

  • Valerie Corr Hanserd

  • Sarah Herda

  • Helyn Goldenberg

  • Lynn Lockwood Murphy

  • Robin Loewenberg Tebbe

  • Juan Moreno

  • Mark P. Sexton

  • Thomas Weeks

  • RaMona Westbrook

International Advisory Committee

  • David Adjaye

  • Wiel Arets

  • Elizabeth Diller

    New York
  • Jeanne Gang

  • Frank Gehry

    Los Angeles
  • Joseph Grima

  • Sylvia Lavin

    Los Angeles
  • Lord Peter Palumbo

  • Zoë Ryan

  • Martino Stierli

    New York
  • Stanley Tigerman (*)

  • Hans Ulrich Obrist



  • Todd Palmer

    Executive Director
  • Rachel Kaplan

    Deputy Director
  • Karla Aguiniga

    Public Programs & Engagement Coordinator
  • Cathy Hsiao

    Digital Content Coordinator
  • James Lambrix

    Exhibition Coordinator
  • Tess Landon

    Manager of Learning Initiatives
  • Jennifer Latshaw

    Special Events Coordinator
  • Lauren McPhillips

    Manager of Public Programs & Partnerships
  • Megan Moran

    Learning Initiatives Coordinator
  • Therese Marie Peskowits

    Exhibition Manager
  • Alex Priest

    Assistant Curator
  • Christine Pundavela

    Manager of Communications & Marketing
  • Cecília Resende Santos

    Curatorial Fellow
  • Michael Savona

    Design Coordinator
  • Unyimeabasi Udoh

    Graphic Designer
  • Marguerite Wynter

    Assistant Curator

Contact & Press

Chicago Architecture Biennial 78 E. Washington St. Chicago, IL 60602



For Press and Media Inquiries

US media contacts: Sara Griffin Camron PR sara.griffin@camronpr.com 917.675.4378 Helen Cowdrey Camron PR helen.cowdrey@camronpr.com 917.675.4359 Chicago/regional contact: Kimberly Writt Agency H5 kwritt@agencyH5.com 312.374.8581 International media contacts: Max Tobias Camron PR max.tobias@camronpr.com +44 (0)20 7420 1700 Hannah Perry Camron PR hannah.perry@camronpr.com +44 (0)20 7420 1700


If you are interested in one of the following opportunities please contact: info@chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org

For questions regarding volunteer opportunities please contact: volunteers@chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org


Each edition, the Chicago Architecture Biennial welcomes over 500,000 visitors to the Chicago Cultural Center and community sites across the city from September 19, 2019–January 5, 2020. Volunteers make it possible for diverse local and global audiences to access the topics explored by the exhibition. Biennial volunteers hold the important role of welcoming and interacting with the public. Biennial volunteers will provide essential assistance to our team through greeting visitors, leading tours, and providing program and event support.

Volunteers will be needed between September 16, 2019 and January 5, 2020.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Biennial, please complete a Volunteer Interest Form.