A mix of prominent locals including past RECORD Women in Architecture Award honorees Carol Ross Barney and Amanda Williams joined by a host of names hailing from further afield—Berlin-based practice Barkow Leibinger, Indian architect Anupama Kundoo, Franco-Afghan architect Feda Wardak, and Ghanaian author and artist Ibrahim Mahama among them—have been announced as participants in This is a Rehearsal, the forthcoming fifth edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB). In total, more than 70 creatives practicing across a diverse range of disciplines have been invited to participate in CAB 5, with many of them presenting new works for the first time. Similar to the David Brown–led 2021 iteration of CAB, which unfolded as a multi-site affair with a focus on the South and West Sides, the forthcoming fifth cycle will fan out across the city with the landmark Chicago Cultural Center returning as an institutional anchor-slash–central exhibition and programming space.
The Chicago Cultural Center. Photo courtesy CAB
In a statement, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said that CAB 5 “promises to again be a platform for ideas, imagination, and innovation at the intersection of architecture and the built environment.”
Conceived by art collective Floating Museum, whose four directors are leading CAB 5 as a team of co-artistic directors, This is a Rehearsal responds to the perpetually in-flux nature of America’s third biggest city, envisioning a “horizontal field” for collaboration between municipal entities and community organizations with artists, architects, designers, writers, and other creatives. “The city is always rehearsing itself, it’s always churning, it’s always changing,” Floating Museum co-director Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford told RECORD last September. “We’re curious if we can help shape that dialogue.”
The Chicago Riverwalk by Ross Barney Architects. Founder Carol Ross Barney is collaborating with Ryan Gann and the DuSable Park Design Alliance on a work for CAB 5. Photo by Kate Joyce Studios
When considering the city as a framework for rehearsal, “individuals, community organizations, institutions, and municipal authorities participate as equals—which opens new possibilities for collaboration across disciplines, geographies, and histories,” said Floating Museum in a statement released with the participant lineup. “We are excited to have the opportunity to think together with an expanded network of artists, architects, designers, poets, filmmakers, anthropologists, historians, institutions, and civic leaders.”
Beginning September 21 and running through early January of next year, more than 100 activations that, according to CAB, “invite public participation and discourse by broadly considering how infrastructure, history, and the aesthetics of space impact us all” will commence “rehearsal” at neighborhood-based sites located beyond the event’s Chicago Cultural Center homebase. These activations, including large-scale installations and performances, will also be staged at a range of community-centered venues, including the Joffrey Ballet, the South Side Community Art Center, Urban Growers Collective, Overton Elementary, the Thompson Center, and Grow Greater Englewood. Returning partner institutions include the Chicago Architecture Center, Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Graham Foundation, the Puerto Rican Arts and Culture Center, and the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center, with more to be announced in the coming weeks along with other details.
Selected works from CAB 5 participants include: Driveline Studios (2017) by LOT-EK (1); 6th Street Arts Alley (2021) by LAA Office (2); Not My HUD House (2022) by Christopher T Cornelius; Indigenous prototype built for the Architecture at Home exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum (3). Photos © Dave Southwood (1), Hadley Fruits (2); Tom Harris Photography (3)
In addition to the aforementioned participants, other U.S.-based architects, designers, and artists tapped for CAB 5 include Dream the Combine, Storefront for Art and Architecture, LOT-EK, Kiel Moe, the Black Reconstruction Collective, Keller Easterling, LAA Office, Practice Landscape, Chris T. Cornelius of Albuquerque-based studio:indigenous, and award-winning production designer Ruth De Jong, who will “explore architecture’s cinematic function as a character of its own through an installation that draws upon her set design for the movie NOPE.” Joining a slew of international participants from locales such as Vienna, Paris, Accra, and Panama City are other hometown creatives that include, among others, Norman Teague Studios, Project Onward, Could Be Design, SpaceShift, Lauren Pacheco, Miguel Aguilar, Andrea Yarborough, and Edra Soto.A complete list of participants can be found on the CAB website.