Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chicago IL

A2 Architects + GKMP Architects + KWK Architects

New Horizon_Architecture from Ireland presented the work of emerging Irish architecture practices in three major venues around the world in 2015. The second instalment of New Horizon opened in Chicago in October 2015 as part of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial. Presented in partnership with Chicago Design Museum, this flagship exhibition of Irish architecture and the built environment was a key element of ID2015.

Selected by curators Nathalie Weadick, Director of Irish Architecture Foundation, and Raymund Ryan of the Heinz Architectural Center at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art, New Horizon_architecture from Ireland presented the work of three practices – A2 Architects, GKMP Architects and Ryan W.Kennihan Architects – for the first time in Chicago.

In response to the Biennial’s theme, ‘The State of the Art of Architecture’, the three Irish practices were tasked to make an intervention – part installation, part exhibition – in the Chicago Design Museum. The architects collaborated on constructing a temporary mirrored canopy, designing and fabricating a generous communal table, and presenting a selection of work from their practices in Dublin. The intervention took inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe’s geometric modernism and shines a light on the art of architecture and specific interests of this new generation of architects. They play with preconceptions of old and new, Ireland and America, labour and pleasure, the room and the city.

A brass kiosk was also proposed at the foot of a statue of Ceres, the Goddess of Agriculture at the base of the Chicago Board of Trade. The kiosk – with a periscopic internal ceiling – one of many proposed by Mayor Emmanuel Rahm, was designed for start-up operators to occupy under-utilised public space. This kiosk is yet to be built.