The Available City

The 2021 edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial titled The Available City considers the impact of collective space in cities today. Through a reinvented and responsive global platform, this edition created opportunities for conversations about the intersection of architecture and design and such critical issues as health, sustainability, equity, and racial justice leading up to and throughout the run of the edition. 

"Since I became Mayor, I made it my mission to uplift our historically underserved communities with resources and programs that help them thrive. That is why I am especially thrilled that the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial will be focused and grounded in our neighborhoods that can benefit from it the most. I look forward to seeing how the Biennial enriches our entire City by amplifying and showcasing innovative ideas in design, community building and creative placemaking.” —Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot

Exhibition Sites

Bell Park 

Projects by: Studio Barnes, in collaboration with Shawhin Roudbari and MAS Contextand Outpost Office

About Bell Park: Bell Park is owned and operated by the Westside Association for Community Action (WACA). Bell Park, also known as IBT play lot, was the site of WACA’s first workforce program, creating local employment for North Lawndale residents. WACA’s motto “Give a man a fish; he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime,” is a reflection philosophy, by providing a safe, confidential and non-judgmental environment, as well as one-on-one and group activities for the youth and young adults, we remove barriers and create opportunity.

Bronzeville Artist Lofts 

Projects by: Plan Común, SHAU, RIFF Studio LLC, and Urban American City

About the Bronzeville Artist Lofts: Built in 1906, the Bronzeville Artist Lofts is the adaptive reuse of a vacant and severely distressed century-old building, originally built as a Borden’s Dairy. The building was restored in 2014 and converted to 16 affordable artists' live/workspaces on the second and third floors. Each floor includes gallery spaces for resident use and reclaimed timber seating in the elevator lobbies. The commercial first floor houses a shared artist workshop for residents, a commercial art gallery, as well as and additional tenant space.

CCA Academy PermaPark

Project by: The Bittertang Farm

About the PermaPark:

In 2003, CCA Academy began a Wellness Program to increase the awareness of the impact of unhealthy eating, the lack of physical activity, and obesity. This evolved into the CCA urban agriculture/ecology theme that integrates learning with real world experiences utilizing two urban gardens, a greenhouse, a bioswale, four beehives, and a 1200 gallon aquaponics system. These unique, personalized learning opportunities allow students to develop the skills needed to earn their high school diploma, create lifelong learning opportunities, and pathways for careers. 

For the past three years, CCA has been developing a permaculture food forest, PermaPark, on six vacant lots at 1320 -1332 South Pulaski Road. PermaPark brings fruit and produce to the community, provides a safe green space, and brings people together – allowing us to nourish one another as we take care of the earth.

Central Park Theater 

Project by: Manuel Herz Architects

About the Central Park Theater:

The Central Park Theater was one of the most important social and cultural hubs of Chicago: The place where Benny Goodman played his first concerts in the 1920s, and where gospel and blues musicians invented new styles in the 1950s and 60s. One of the most historically significant movie palaces in the United States, the theater is one of the first of its kind and became a model for buildings of its type which followed. In 1971, it became home to the House of Prayer Church of God in Christ under the leadership of Pastor Lincoln Scott and his successor, Pastor Robert Marshal. 

El Paseo Community Garden

Projects by: Studio Ossidianaand Outpost Office

About the El Paseo Community Garden:

Since 2009, El Paseo Community Garden (founded as Growing Station) has been fostering community and wellness for Pilsen residents through stewardship, conservation, placemaking, partnerships, programming, and community gardening. The garden is one of many NeighborSpace protected and community managed spaces in Chicago, with over an acre of equitable greenspace maintained by volunteers and donations. The garden is a converted brownfield site and sits along a path with a native prairie and permaculture food forest on one side and raised beds and an apiary on the other. Gardening is offered through private allotment beds or collective beds. Collective beds eliminate waiting lists for allotment beds and allow anyone to get involved. Free food beds are included on the perimeter of the collective beds for visitors. The garden plans to add a dog run, nature play area for kids, community stage, fitness area, and several more gathering spaces and plants to their half acre expansion within the next few years as funding is secured.

El Paseo’s mission is to strengthen environmental stewardship and civic engagement while protecting equitable green space on behalf of the community. Their governance and leadership structure allows for anyone with a desire to make an impact to do so, growing not only healthy food, but community leaders as well. The outdoor space has become a community center and partner for anyone willing to share accessible community resources. Their goal is to Empower through Nature.

Graham Foundation 

Projects By: Christophe Hutin Architecture, Departamento del Distrito, Drawing Architecture Studio, El Cielo, Enlace Arquitectura + Ciudad Laboratorio, fala, and RIFF Studio LLC

About the Graham Foundation:

Founded in 1956, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts fosters the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society.

Overton Incubator 

Projects by: Borderless Studio and The Open Workshop

About the (former) Overton Elementary School and the Overton Incubator:

Anthony Overton Elementary School, built in 1963 and designed by Perkins and Will was one of 50 schools that were closed in 2013 citing budget cuts, under-enrollment, and low performance. Washington Park Development Group has since purchased the school, and through collaborations with artists, designers, and small businesses, has transformed the school grounds into an experimental hub, referred to as the Overton Incubator that is intended to serve the community to support creative entrepreneurship in business, technology and design.

Project H.O.O.D 

Project by: Project H.O.O.D.


About Project H.O.O.D:

Project H.O.O.D. (Helping Others Obtain Destiny), an organization based in the Woodlawn and Englewood communities, offers job training, essential resources, and tools to empower community members to become peacemakers, problem solvers, leaders, and entrepreneurs. 

Norman Teague Design Studios and BNMO Design joined Project H.O.O.D. and New Beginnings Church to construct an installation on a vacant lot along the commercial corridor at 6600 South King Drive. New Beginnings Church purchased the vacant lot from the city after Pastor Corey Brooks lobbied to obtain the site following the demolition of a long-abandoned building. 

Soil Lab 

Project by: Soil Lab

About the Soil Lab Site:

The Soil Lab project is located on a city-owned vacant lot on South Pulaski Road near 13th Street. The site was identified by CAB Artistic Director David Brown for an open call hosted with the Danish Arts Foundation in 2020. Soil Lab is built on the remaining foundation of a former building and sits amongst six other vacant lots. The site is located between two other Biennial partner sites, the CCA Academy PermaPark and a site being developed by the Young Men’s Employment Network (YMEN) and Working Bikes.

The Englewood Village Plaza 

Project by: Atelier Bow-Wow

About the Englewood Plaza:

The Englewood Village Plaza at 58th Street and Halsted serves as the entry point to the Englewood Nature Trail for Environmental Sustainability (ENTES). As a 2-mile-long green infrastructure reuse project, ENTES builds on the foundational values of anti-displacement, fostering career pathways, and community stewardship. The plaza will serve as a gathering space for the Englewood community with a range of uses, including a weekly community market, a learning garden, and a site for cultural discussions and film screenings, all rooted in Black culinary and land traditions.

YMEN North Lawndale Bike Box

Project by: sekou cooke STUDIO

About the YMEN Bike Box site:

The North Lawndale Bike Box is a community space and place where residents can borrow bikes (free of charge), fix bikes, and even purchase bikes to help mobilize the village toward healthy lifestyles and community transportation access. The NL Bike Box is a partnership of many community organizations and managed by both the Young Men's Educational Network and Working Bikes.

Southbank Park 

Project by: PORT

About Southbank Park:

The site begins at the Southeast side of where Harrison meets the River. There is a gravel walkway that runs South from Harrison Street along the river on the East side. The “River Frames” installation reveals the historical layers of “availability” on the Southbank site. A gravel walkway traces the footprint of the Chicago Great Western Freight warehouse, leading visitors to the radial cluster of River Frames.

The Available City Contributors

(Listed alphabetically by last name)

Paola Aguirre, Borderless Studio (Chicago, USA)

James Albert Martin, Soil Lab (Dublin, Ireland)

Dio Aldridge, Central Park Restoration Committee (Chicago, USA)

Gabriela Alvarez, Enlace Arquitectura + Ciudad Laboratorio (Caracas, Venezuela)

Carol Arellano, Enlace Arquitectura + Ciudad Laboratorio (Caracas, Venezuela)

Rekha Auguste-Nelson, RIFF Studio (New York, USA)

Germane Barnes, Studio Barnes with Shawhin Roudbari and MAS Context (Miami, USA)

Ahmed Belkhodja, fala (Porto, Portugal)

Giovanni Bellotti, Studio Ossidiana (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Neeraj Bhatia, The Open Workshop (Toronto, Canada and San Francisco, USA)

Ashley Bigham, Outpost Office (Columbus, USA)

Maite Borjabad (Chicago, USA)

Andre Brumfield, Gensler (Chicago, USA)

Maria Bruun, Soil Lab (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Cheo Carvajal, Enlace Arquitectura + Ciudad Laboratorio (Caracas, Venezuela)

Jane Charney, Central Park Restoration Committee (Chicago , USA)

Max Chavez, Central Park Restoration Committee (Chicago, USA)

Sekou Cooke, sekou cooke STUDIO (Charlotte, USA)

Alessandra Covini, Studio Ossidiana (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Haman Cross, Freedom House (Chicago, USA)

Felipe De Ferrari, Plan ComúnPlan (Paris, France)

Valeria De Jongh, Enlace Arquitectura + Ciudad Laboratorio (Caracas, Venezuela)

Khensani de Klerk, Matri-Archi(tecture) (Cambridge, UK)

Jill Desimini (Cambridge, USA)

Alexander Eisenschmidt (Chicago, USA)

Nathan Friedman, Departamento del Distrito (Mexico City, Mexico)

Iker Gil,Studio Barnes with Shawhin Roudbari and MAS Context (Chicago, USA)

Toni Griffin, Urban American City (New York, USA)

Stefan Gruber (Pittsburgh, USA)

Li Han, Drawing Architecture Studio (Beijing, China)

Armando Hashimoto, El Cielo (Mexico City, Mexico)

Florian Heinzelmann, SHAU (Bandung, Indonesia)

Andres Hernandez, Englewood Nature Trail (Chicago, USA)

Erik Herrmann, Outpost Office (Columbus, USA)

Manuel Herz, Manuel Herz Architects (Basel, Switzerland)

Walter Hood, Hood Design Studio (Oakland, USA)

Eric Hotchkiss, Englewood Nature Trail (Chicago, USA)

Christophe Hutin, Christophe Hutin Architecture (Bordeaux, France)

Bweza Itaagi, Englewood Nature Trail (Chicago, USA)

Momoyo Kaijima, Atelier Bow-Wow (Tokyo, Japan)

Mariam Kamara, atelier masomi (Niamey, Niger)

Elleza Kelley (New Haven and New York, USA)

Cesar Lopez, The Open Workshop (Toronto, CA and San Francisco, USA)

Michael Loverich, The Bittertang Farm (Bainbridge Island, USA)

Ann Lui, Central Park Restoration Committee (Chicago, USA)

Filipe Magalhães, fala (Porto, Portugal)

Tshego Mako, Matri-Archi(tecture) (Cape Town, South Africa)

Tapiwa Manase, Matri-Archi(tecture) (Cape Town, South Africa)

Christopher Marcinkoski, PORT (Chicago, USA)

Pastor Robert Marshall, Central Park Restoration Committee (Chicago, USA)

Tashona Marshall, Central Park Restoration Committee (Chicago, USA)

Solange Mbanefo, Matri-Archi(tecture) (Cape Town, South Africa)

John McMorrough, studioAPT (Ann Arbor, USA)

Julia McMorrough, studioAPT (Ann Arbor, USA)

Zena Mengesha, RIFF Studio (New York, USA)

Dennis Milam, Borderless Studio (Chicago, USA)

Ana Miljački, (Boston, USA)

Maria Virginia Millán, Enlace Arquitectura + Ciudad Laboratorio (Caracas, Venezuela)

Negin Moayer, ProjectH.O.O.D (Chicago, USA)

Andrew Moddrell, PORT (Chicago, USA

Jaeson Montilla, Enlace Arquitectura + Ciudad Laboratorio (Caracas, Venezuela)

Eibhlín Ní Chathasaigh, Soil Lab (Dublin, Ireland)

Alexander Pérez, Enlace Arquitectura + Ciudad Laboratorio (Caracas, Venezuela)

Francisco Quiñones, Departamento del Distrito (Mexico City, Mexico)

Farnoosh Rafaie, RIFF Studio (New York, USA)

Rayna Razmilic (Santiago, Chile)

Shawhin Roudbari, Studio Barnes with Shawhin Roudbari and MAS Context (Denver, USA)

Anton Seals, Englewood Nature Trail (Chicago, USA)

Surella Segu, El Cielo (Mexico City, Mexico)

Mary Lu Seidel, Central Park Restoration Committee (Chicago, USA)

Roger Sherman, Gensler (Los Angeles, USA)

Elisa Silva, Enlace Arquitectura + Ciudad Laboratorio (Caracas, Venezuela)

Craig Stevenson, Open Architecture Chicago (Chicago, USA)

Isabel Strauss, RIFF Studio (New York, USA)

Blanche Suggs-Killingsworth, Central Park Restoration Committee (Chicago, USA)

Daliana Suryawinata, SHAU (Bandung, Indonesia)

Norman Teague, ProjectH.O.O.D (Chicago, USA)

Antonio Torres, The Bittertang Farm (Chicago, USA)

Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Atelier Bow-Wow (Tokyo, Japan)

Sumayya Vally, Counterspace (Johannesburg, South Africa)

Anne Dorthe Vester, Soil Lab (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Craig Wilkins (Detroit, United States & Ann Arbor, USA)

Michelle Wilkinson (Washington, D.C., USA)

Hu Yan, Drawing Architecture Studio (Beijing, China)

Emily Yanez, Enlace Arquitectura + Ciudad Laboratorio (Caracas, Venezuela)

Gerardo Zavarce, Enlace Arquitectura + Ciudad Laboratorio (Caracas, Venezuela)