About

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.   

The Chicago Architecture Biennial is committed to providing a platform to unite the global vanguard of architectural thought and practice with the city of Chicago’s unique legacy of architectural innovation. In addition to its biennial constellation of exhibitions, full-scale installations, programming, and educational initiatives, the organization stewards and promotes an ongoing dialogue on architecture in and around the city. Each edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial takes as its core a theme that addresses the most compelling issues in contemporary architectural practice. Designed to deepen and expand the conversation on architecture and the built environment with field leaders and everyday citizens, the Chicago Architecture Biennial is a platform created to further our understanding globally and locally of the way we organize society through the exploration of the built environment. The Biennial seeks to envision a future of architecture that is, first and foremost, shared, inclusive, diverse, sustainable, and equitable.

The inaugural 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial was the manifestation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s vision for a major international architectural event and a product of the comprehensive cultural plan developed by Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Titled The State of the Art of Architecture, the 2015 Biennial was curated by Artistic Directors Sarah Herda of the Graham Foundation and architect, critic, curator, and editor Joseph Grima and centered on a 1977 conference organized by  architect Stanley Tigerman. The inaugural Biennial expanded the spirit and scope of this event, inviting an international and intergenerational architectural network to Chicago to explore  how visionary design can take on the most pressing issues of today. The 2015 Biennial encompassed an array of exhibitions, full-scale installations, and diverse programming. The Biennial provided the public an opportunity to engage with and think about architecture in new and unexpected ways and to take part in a global discussion on the future of the built environment.

For the second edition of the Biennial in 2017, the exhibition and programming was curated under the artistic and curatorial leadership of Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee from the Los Angeles–based firm Johnston Marklee & Associates, which also participated in the inaugural Biennial. The Artistic Directors developed a series of topics for their show titled MAKE NEW HISTORY, including image, material, building, and civic histories and highlighted different modes of architectural production from the book to the city.

Through drawings, installations, environments, and performances, biennial projects from both editions reflected the ongoing significance of contemporary discourse that is founded in the myriad ways that history is invoked in the production of new forms of architectural thought.

The third edition of the Biennial will open September 19, 2019, and will convene the world’s leading practitioners, theorists, and commentators in the field of architecture and urbanism to further explore, debate, and demonstrate the significance of architectural concepts in contemporary society. The 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial is led by Artistic Director Yesomi Umolu with curators Sepake Angiama and Paulo Tavares.  

People

Artistic Directors

  • Yesomi Umolu

    2019
  • Johnston Marklee

    2017
  • Joseph Grima & Sarah Herda

    2015

Board of Directors

  • Jack Guthman

    Chairman
  • 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

    London
  • Wiel Arets

    Chicago
  • Elizabeth Diller

    New York
  • Jeanne Gang

    Chicago
  • Frank Gehry

    Los Angeles
  • Joseph Grima

  • Sylvia Lavin

    Los Angeles
  • Lord Peter Palumbo

    London
  • Zoë Ryan

    Chicago
  • Martino Stierli

    New York
  • Stanley Tigerman (*)

    Chicago
  • Hans Ulrich Obrist

    London

Staff

  • Todd Palmer

    Executive Director
  • Rachel Kaplan

    Deputy Director
  • Christine Pundavela

    Manager of Communications & Marketing
  • Tess Landon

    Manager of Learning Initiatives
  • Lauren McPhillips

    Manager of Public Programs and Partnerships
  • Therese Marie Peskowits

    Exhibition Manager
  • Alex Priest

    Assistant Curator
  • Marguerite Wynter

    Assistant Curator
  • Cecília Resende Santos

    Curatorial Fellow
  • James Lambrix

    Exhibition Coordinator

Contact & Press

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

info@chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org

312.854.8200

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

Opportunities

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

PUBLIC PROGRAMS AND ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR

Public Programs and Engagement Coordinator

The Chicago Architecture Biennial is seeking a part-time Public Programs & Engagement Coordinator to support the Biennial’s public programs, including but not limited to lectures, symposia, performances and tours. Strong candidates must demonstrate outstanding organizational skills and a keen understanding of event production, as well as a passion for architecture, art and design.

The Coordinator is responsible for supporting the Manager of Public Programs and Partnerships with planning, administration and implementation of each program. In addition, a key component of the public program includes the daily public tours. In coordination with the Manager of Programs, the Coordinator is responsible for recruiting, scheduling and managing volunteers for all public tours and public programs.This is an ideal role for a hands-on, creative professional.

The Coordinator of Public Programs & Engagement will work with the Manager of Public Programs and Partnerships to deepen audience connections and position the Biennial as an important catalyst for architectural thinking in the cultural ecosystem of Chicago. The responsibilities of the Coordinator are informed by the Biennial’s values to model a diverse, equitable, and inclusive cultural organization.

About the Chicago Architecture Biennial

The Chicago Architecture Biennial is dedicated to providing a platform to unite the global vanguard of architectural thought and practice with the city of Chicago’s unique legacy of architectural innovation.  In addition to its biennial constellation of exhibitions, full-scale installations, programming, and educational initiatives, the organization stewards and promotes an ongoing conversation on architecture in and around the city.  Each edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial addresses the most compelling issues in contemporary architectural practice. Designed to deepen and expand the conversation on architecture and the built environment with field leaders and everyday citizens. The Chicago Architecture Biennial is a platform created to further our understanding globally and locally of the way we organize society through the exploration of the built environment. The Biennial seeks to envision a future of architecture that is, first and foremost, shared, inclusive, diverse, sustainable, and equitable. 

Responsibilities:

- Program planning, administration and implementation, including program scheduling, promotion and documentation, and scheduling volunteers.

- Support the management of day to day operations of the on-site public programming.

- Oversee operations of the Volunteer Program including outreach, scheduling and trainings.

Professional Skills: 

- Highly self-motivated, creative and organized; able to work well as part of a team as well as take initiative to anticipate and solve problems under pressure

- Excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills, including ability to communicate with audiences of different backgrounds, levels of knowledge, and types of ability. Must be diplomatic and tactful

Qualifications:

- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent required, preferably in art education, art history, museum education, architecture/design, studio art, or other related education, humanities, or social science field

- Minimum 3-5 years of experience in providing excellent customer service, implementing 

- Strong research and writing skills with experience producing interpretive materials

- Previous experience training and managing a team of docents and volunteers

- Demonstrated experience with conducting evaluation 

- Command of Microsoft Office Suite, Google Suite

 Additional Details: 

- Salary is commensurate with experience 

- Evening and weekend work with be required

- Applicant will be required to lift about 20lbs, transport materials and to travel to offsite venues across the city 

- Contract period: July 2019 – End of January 2020 (with an opportunity to extend)

Application Materials: 

Please submit your cover letter, Resume/CV and references to info@chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org by July 29, 2019 with Public Programs & Engagement Coordinator in the subject.

YOUTH EDUCATION COORDINATOR

Youth Education Coordinator

The Chicago Architecture Biennial is seeking a part-time Youth Education Coordinator to collaboratively support education related projects and programming. Reporting to the Manager of Learning Initiatives, the Youth Education Coordinator will help foster a set of diverse and dynamic learning opportunities and resources including those targeting K-12 students and teachers. Along with the Public Programs & Engagement Coordinator, the Youth Education Coordinator will also lend support to the Biennial’s robust volunteer program, including recruiting volunteers, training, and scheduling. 

This is an ideal role for a hands-on, creative professional with a welcoming and informational presence. Candidates must be highly self-motivated, creative, and organized with 3-5 years of experience including providing excellent customer service, implementing educational programs for all ages, and supervising volunteers. The ideal candidate must be driven, able to multitask, work well as part of a team, and also take initiative and anticipate and solve problems under pressure.  

About the Chicago Architecture Biennial

The Chicago Architecture Biennial is dedicated to providing a platform to unite the global vanguard of architectural thought and practice with the city of Chicago’s unique legacy of architectural innovation.  In addition to its biennial constellation of exhibitions, full-scale installations, programming, and educational initiatives, the organization stewards and promotes an ongoing conversation on architecture in and around the city.  Each edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial addresses the most compelling issues in contemporary architectural practice. Designed to deepen and expand the conversation on architecture and the built environment with field leaders and everyday citizens. The Chicago Architecture Biennial is a platform created to further our understanding globally and locally of the way we organize society through the exploration of the built environment. The Biennial seeks to envision a future of architecture that is, first and foremost, shared, inclusive, diverse, sustainable, and equitable. 

About Learning Initiatives at the Chicago Architecture Biennial

Learning Initiatives at the Chicago Architecture Biennial provide free programming to students of all ages as a way to promote active exploration of the built environment and empower audiences to use architecture and design as tools for change. We aim to: Facilitate meaningful and ongoing engagements with schools, community organizations, universities, museums, and other cultural institutions; Encourage connections between Biennial content and local topics and communities; Reach students from populations historically underrepresented in architecture; provide opportunities for co-learning between professionals and the general public; and engage with learners of all ages and from a diversity of perspectives.

Responsibilities:

- Provide support for the Biennial’s Learning Initiatives in order to maximize the educational value and impact of the exhibitions

- Help coordinate and oversee educational programming both at the Chicago Cultural Center and off site

- Provide support for the Manager of Learning Initiatives in efforts to continue engagement and collaboration with new and existing educational partners (including Chicagoland schools)

- Help recruit and train volunteer docents for K-12 youth tours and general public tours

Professional Skills: 

- Demonstrable leadership skills, including ability to take initiative and exercise excellent judgment, both as part of a team and independently

- Excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills, including ability to communicate with audiences of different backgrounds, levels of knowledge, and types of ability; must be diplomatic and tactful

- Excellent organizational, project, and time management skills

- Exceptional collaboration skills including the ability to work within a framework of shared authority with a range of communities and stakeholders

Qualifications:

- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent required, preferably in art education, art history, museum education, architecture/design, studio art, or other related education, humanities, or social science field

- Minimum 3-5 years of experience working with K-12 audiences and/or in creative spaces

- Strong research and writing skills with experience of producing interpretive materials

- Previous experience teaching in art, architecture, and/or design

- Previous experience training and managing a team of docents and volunteers

- Demonstrated experience with conducting visitor and volunteer evaluations 

- Command of Microsoft Office Suite, Google Suite

Additional Details: 

- Salary is commensurate with experience 

- Evening and weekend work will be required

- Applicant will be required to lift about 20lbs, transport materials and to travel to offsite venues across the city 

- Contract period: July 2019 – End of January 2020 (with an opportunity to extend)

Application Materials: 

Please submit your cover letter, Resume/CV and references to education@chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org by July 29, 2019 with Youth Education Coordinator in the subject. 

BIENNIAL VOLUNTEERS

Each edition, the Biennial welcomes over 500,000 visitors to the Chicago Cultural Center and partner sites. Biennial volunteers hold the important role of greeting and interacting with our diverse local and global audiences.

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