The Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) may have been showered with critical acclaim following its 2015 debut, but as the exhibition’s co-curator Sarah Herda pointed out, “You can’t call it a biennial unless it happens twice.”

Sure enough, CAB is back on for its sophomore run this September. And today at a press briefing in New York, Herda, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, and other Biennial organizers detailed exhibition programming and unveiled the list of more than 100 participating international architecture firms.

“We call New York the Second City,” joked Emanuel at the briefing. Striking a more serious note, he said, “In the world there is a major renaissance of cities. I think it’s essential to put Chicago and its history in architecture at the center of that discussion.”

Architectural history will indeed take a front-seat role at CAB this year, directed by Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee of the L.A. firm Johnston Marklee. The architects say that their show, Make New History, will expand upon projects, topics, and firms that were highlighted in the 2015 show, but will highlight “different and more specific themes in their body of work,” said Johnston.

Though projects will be shown across Chicago, the Biennial’s nerve center will once again be in the Chicago Cultural Center, across the street from Millennium Park. Johnston and Lee are challenging teams to rethink the Beaux-Arts building with a series of light architectural interventions. “We’ve been examining the Cultural Center itself, thinking about ways to organize the building and trying to re-envision the taxonomy that might help us orient the visitors through the building,” said Johnston.  They hope to create informal lounge spaces throughout, reimagine galleries as labyrinthine spaces, and turn overlooked hallways into arcades. According to Lee, the exhibition will begin to unpack the past through five sub-themes: building history, natural history, image history, material history, and civic history. The program may hit on general areas, but many projects come with a Windy City twist: Sixteen teams will be tasked with submitting designs for the Chicago Tribune Tower, as in the famous 1922 competition. Another two-dozen studios will be asked to design projects that fit into of Mies van der Rohe’s iconic master plan for the Illinois Institute of Technology.

The participating firms include familiar faces from the 2015 edition, including SO-IL, Diébédo Francis Kéré, Bureau Spectacular, Norman Kelly, and Aranda\Lasch. But the show will also feature a host of newcomers, like Caruso St. John—whose Newport Street Gallery for Damien Hirst took home the 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize—and Basel-based firm Christ & Gantenbein, which recently completed an extension for the Swiss National Museum. Amsterdam-Bahrain-based firm and RECORD Vanguard winner Studio Anne Holtrop will also show work. The curators proudly pointed out that the lineup includes 56 women principals.

The 2015 biennial—with more than half a million visitors—has set a high bar. But according to Emanuel, such shows make Chicago a “center of gravity that we can all come and draw intellectual energy from.”

The Chicago Architecture Biennial will run from September 16 until January 7, 2018.

Check out the full list of participants below.

51N4E (Brussels, Belgium; Tirana, Albania)

6A Architects (London, UK)

Ábalos+Sentkiewicz (Madrid, Spain; Cambridge, USA; Shanghai, China)

Adamo-Faiden (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

AGENdA agencia de arquitectura (Medellin, Colombia)

Aires Mateus (Lisbon, Portugal)

Ana Prvački and SO-IL (Los Angeles, USA; New York, USA)

Andrew Kovacs (Los Angeles, USA)

Angela Deuber Architect (Chur, Switzerland)

Ania Jaworska (Chicago, USA)

ArandaLasch and Terrol Dew Johnson (New York, USA; Tucson, USA)

Archi-Union (Shanghai, China)

Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu (Ghent, Belgium)

Arno Brandlhuber and Christopher Roth (Berlin, Germany)

Atelier Manferdini (Venice, USA)

AWP office for territorial reconfiguration (Paris, France; London, UK)                  

Bak Gordon Arquitectos (Lisbon, Portugal)

Barbas Lopes (Lisbon, Portugal)

Barkow Leibinger (Berlin, Germany)

baukuh (Milan, Italy) 

Besler & Sons LLC (Los Angeles, USA)

BLESS (Berlin, Germany)


Caruso St John (London, UK)

Charlap Hyman & Herrero (Los Angeles, USA; New York, USA)

Charles Waldheim (Cambridge, USA)

Christ & Gantenbein (Basel, Switzerland)

Daniel Everett (Chicago, USA; Salt Lake City, USA)

David Schalliol (Chicago, USA)

Dellekamp Arquitectos (Mexico City, Mexico)

Design With Company (Chicago, USA)

Diego Arraigada Arquitectos (Rosario, Argentina)

DOGMA (Brussels, Belgium)

DRDH (London, UK)

ENSAMBLE STUDIO (Madrid, Spain; Boston, USA)

Éric Lapierre Architecture (Paris, France)

Estudio Barozzi Veiga (Barcelona, Spain)

fala atelier (Porto, Portugal)

Filip Dujardin (Ghent, Belgium)

Fiona Connor and Erin Besler (Los Angeles, USA; Auckland, New Zealand)

First Office (Los Angeles, USA)

formlessfinder (New York, USA)

Frida Escobedo (Mexico City, Mexico)

Gerard and Kelly (Los Angeles, USA; New York, USA)                   

Go Hasegawa (Tokyo, Japan)

HHF Architects (Basel, Switzerland)

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (Chicago, USA)

J. MAYER H. und Partner, Architekten and Philip Ursprung (Berlin, Germany)

James Welling (New York, USA)

Jesús Vassallo (Houston, USA)

Jorge Otero-Pailos (New York, USA)

June14 Meyer-Grohbrügge & Chermayeff (New York, USA; Berlin, Germany)

Karamuk * Kuo Architects (New York, USA; Zurich, Switzerland)

Keith Krumwiede (New York, USA)

Kéré Architecture (Berlin, Germany)

Kuehn Malvezzi (Berlin, Germany)

Luisa Lambri (Milan, Italy)

Lütjens Padmanabhan Architekten (Zurich, Switzerland)

Made In (Geneva, Switzerland; Zurich, Switzerland)

MAIO (Barcelona, Spain)                   

Marianne Mueller (Zurich, Switzerland)

Marshall Brown (Chicago, USA)

MG&Co. (Houston, USA)

MONADNOCK (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

MOS (New York, USA)                      

Norman Kelley (Chicago, USA; New York, USA)

Nuno brandåo costa arquitectos Ida (Porto, Portugal)

OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen (Brussels, Belgium)

PASCAL FLAMMER (Zurich, Switzerland)

Patrick Braouezec (Paris, France)

Paul Andersen and Paul Preissner (Chicago, USA; Denver, USA)

Pezo Von Ellrichshausen (Concepción, Chile)

Philipp Schaerer (Zurich, Switzerland)

PRODUCTORA (Mexico City, Mexico)

REAL Foundation (London, UK)

Robert Somol (Chicago, USA)

SADAR+VUGA (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Sam Jacob Studio (London, UK)

SAMI-arquitectos (Setubal, Portugal)

SANAA (Tokyo, Japan)

Sauter von Moos (Basel, Switzerland)

Sergison Bates (London, UK; Zurich, Switzerland)

Serie Architects (London, UK; Zurich, Switzerland)


Stan Allen Architect (New York, USA)

Studio Anne Holtrop (Muharraq, Bahrain; Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Studiomumbai (Mumbai, India)

Sylvia Lavin (Los Angeles, USA)

T+E+A+M (Ann Arbor, USA)

Tatiana Bilbao Estudio (Mexico City, Mexico)

Tham & Videgård Arkitekter (Stockholm, Sweden)

The Empire (Verona, Italy)

The Living (New York, USA)

The Los Angeles Design Group (Los Angeles, USA)

Thomas Baecker Bettina Kraus (Berlin, Germany)

Tigerman McCurry Architects (Chicago, USA)

Toshiko Mori Architect (New York, USA)

UrbanLab (Chicago, USA; Los Angeles, USA)

Urbanus (Shenzhen, China; Beijing, China)

Veronika Kellndorfer (Berlin, Germany)


Work Architecture Company (New York, USA)

Zago Architecture (Los Angeles, USA)

ZAO/standardarchitecture (Shanghai, China)