The first ever Chicago Architecture Biennial kicked off on October 3rd in the Windy City. Toronto’s Lateral Office is the only Canadian firm participating in the inaugural event and as such felt they had a responsibility to represent the diverse country. So they chose camping, a favourite national pastime, to display Canada’s rugged, undeveloped landscapes.
Co-founders Mason White and Lola Sheppard considered architecture at its most basic form – in the wild – to dream up Make Camp, a series of five concepts responding to the particulars of varied terrains. Installed at the Chicago Cultural Center as scale models on a 3.6-by-4.3-metre landform, they display modern ideas for campsites. Ideas presented include zero-footprint, suspended tenting; a high-tech experience; and a completely off-grid style. Each proposal is accompanied by a user manual, which describes the recommended gear, season, territory and camper for the approach.
There will be plenty more to see at the Beaux-Arts cultural centre, which is the main hub for the big event. The exhibition BOLD: Alternative Scenarios for Chicago, for example, is sure to be a highlight of the biennial. Local architect Iker Gil of MAS Studio tapped the city’s top talent to present a display of new ideas and alternative development scenarios for Chicago. The proposals explore the potential of the city’s famous riverside, roadways, vacant lots and public spaces.
The Chicago Architecture Biennial runs October 3 to January 3, 2016.