A stunning new space for art will open in Chicago next month. Wrightwood 659 is Tadao Ando’s second project in the city for the same client. The 35,000-square-foot gallery is located just next door to the Pritzker laureate’s first project, a house for philanthropist and activist Fred Eychaner completed twenty years ago in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. While the house was the Japanese architect’s first free-standing building in the United States, Wrightwood 659 is a conversion of a four-story 1920’s apartment building. The exterior of the red brick structure was untouched; it is only when arriving at the soaring atrium space immediately upon entering the building that Ando’s hand is visible.
There, a poured concrete stair tower, positioned at a dramatic angle, is a sharp contrast to the tan-colored common brick—salvaged from the original structure—that line the walls of the atrium. The entire interior of the apartment building was removed and a new steel and reinforced-concrete structure was erected within the perimeter masonry shell. A rooftop structure, set back from the perimeter, was added to provide a terrace for viewing art and the city skyline.
Wrightwood 659, which was founded by Eychaner and Dan Whittaker, will be devoted to exhibitions of architecture and socially engaged art. The inaugural exhibition, Ando and Le Corbusier: Masters of Architecture, opens on October 12 and will accompany a series of events including a lecture by Ando at the Art Institute of Chicago on October 11. The expansive second floor gallery will be devoted to Le Corbusier, while the third and fourth levels will focus on Ando.
Admission is by advance reservation only.
Stay tuned for further coverage of this project in print.