Learning Initiatives

About Learning Initiatives

Learning Initiatives at the Chicago Architecture Biennial provide free, educational programming to learners of all ages as a way to promote active exploration of the built environment and empower audiences to see architecture and design as tools for change.

CAB's Learning Initiatives aim to: Facilitate meaningful and ongoing engagements with students, schools, community organizations, universities, museums, and other cultural institutions; Encourage connections between learners’ lived experiences and Biennial content; Reach students from populations historically underrepresented in architecture, and; Provide opportunities for co-learning across generations and disciplines.


Learning Initiatives provide opportunities for active engagement with key issues through the lens of architecture, design, and urbanism. Programs run throughout the year with a major effort to align opportunities with Biennial editions. 

Learning Initiatives organized around the 2021 edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, The Available City, will highlight themes of equity, sustainability, and community-based design. CAB will engage young people in programs that urge them to reimagine their communities and city, with a specific focus on unused spaces including vacant city-owned lots.

Youth Studios

Youth Studios are offered together with youth-serving community organizations across Chicago. Youth Studios bring high school students together with design professionals to actively explore architecture and design in relation to questions or topics facing them and their communities with the goals of exposing young people to architecture and design; promoting civic engagement; and supporting college and career readiness.


The Student Ideas Competition at the Chicago Architecture Biennial encourages middle and high school students to share their ideas for how design can play a role in creating shared spaces and shaping communities. CAB will offer two student competitions in the Spring and Fall of 2021. 

Visit our competition page to learn more and to see past winning projects.

Youth and Family Programs

Youth and Family programs engage families with children ages 6-12 in hands-on activities that introduce architecture and design themes through age appropriate content.

Visit our programs page for details about upcoming youth and family programming.

Educator Resources

CAB provides standards-aligned curriculum resources and teacher trainings to bring architecture and design learning into elementary and high school classrooms where they are not currently taught. Educator resources are aligned with Biennial editions and the Student Ideas Competition.

Field Trips and Tours

During Biennial editions, CAB offers both guided and self-led tours and field trips designed to engage school groups and families with the content of the Biennial, encouraging new or expanded views of architecture and design. 


Are you an organization or educator looking for ways to engage your students in conversations about how they can play a role in shaping our cities and world through architecture and design?

Contact us!