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David Brown named as Artistic Director of 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial for "The Available City"

United States Architecture News - Oct 23, 2020 - 16:54   6435 views

David Brown named as Artistic Director of 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial for

Designer, researcher, and educator David Brown has been named as the artistic director of the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial for the fourth edition. 

The fourth edition of the Biennial will be themed as "The Available City", asking us to consider the impact collective space can have in cities today. 

Through a reinvented and responsive global platform, the Biennial will create opportunities for conversations about the intersection of architecture and design and such critical issues as health, sustainability, equity, and racial justice leading up to and throughout the run of the edition. 

The fourth edition of the Biennial will open in September of 2021 featuring free, public programming at sites in neighborhoods across Chicago and on digital platforms.

David Brown named as Artistic Director of 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial for

Image courtesy of CAB2021

The 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial will be directed by David Brown and in collaboration with the Danish Arts Foundation (DAF), the DAF previously partnered with CAB during the 2019 Biennial, promoting a mutual exchange between global cities about the role of architecture and design in shaping communities. 

For the 2021 Biennial, DAF returns to commission a work that responds directly to the themes explored through The Available City. The project will be developed by a Danish artist or artist team working in close collaboration with community-based residents and stakeholders in Chicago.

David Brown is a designer, researcher, and educator based at the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Brown investigates non-hierarchical, flexible, and variable approaches to urban design. 

“Platforms such as the Biennial offer a unique space for exploring and experimenting with new ideas and projects," said David Brown.

"Since 2015, collaborations with CAB have helped shape The Available City and I look forward to how this next phase of the project will bring new perspectives to my work with community organizations and residents while also broadening the conversation—as amplified by current issues—about the role that collective space can have in cities around the world today."

A concept that was incubated during the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2015, Brown’s long-term body of research forming the basis for The Available City began with an inventory of vacant city-owned lots across Chicago—currently numbering more than 10,000 sites concentrated on the city’s South and West Sides. 

David Brown named as Artistic Director of 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial for

Image courtesy of CAB2021

Over more than a decade of work, Brown developed this research into an ongoing urban design proposal that connects community residents, architects, and designers to work together to create spaces reflecting the needs of local neighborhoods. 

For the 2021 edition, Brown will explore the framework of The Available City on a global platform, engaging both local and international projects and practices that reflect new concepts for shared space and collective agency in the city.

Speaking for the leadership of the independent, non-profit organization that produces the Biennial, Chairman Jack Guthman stated "The Biennial board recognizes the challenges inherent in planning an event of this scale for a year as unpredictable as 2021. We are nevertheless confident that the support of the Biennial by the global architecture community and by the city’s civic, cultural and philanthropic communities will foster and sustain our efforts notwithstanding these uncertain times."

"We are thrilled to again be collaborating with the Chicago Architecture Biennial to create a project that connects the Danish design community with the people and communities of Chicago," shared the Danish Arts Foundation. "Through this collaboration we hope to be able to learn from each other and inspire positive change."

Biennial programs will kick-off on October 27 with a virtual talk featuring MacArthur Fellow and 2019 Biennial contributor landscape and public artist Walter Hood in conversation with David Brown. 

A schedule of in-person and virtual programming—youth workshops, conversations, and community events—will continue throughout the coming year. 

Through a new programming model, CAB seeks to engage audiences throughout the process of project development leading up to the opening of the 2021 edition and beyond. Over the coming months, CAB will continue to announce collaborations and initiatives being developed by local and global architects, artists, and designers.

For more than a decade, Brown’s work has focused on The Available City, an ongoing speculation on the potential of Chicago’s city-owned vacant land. Brown’s work has been exhibited in the Venice Architecture Biennale (2012), the Chicago Cultural Center’s Expo 72 (2013), the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015), and received a grant from the Graham Foundation in 2011. 

In 2006, Brown curated the exhibition Learning from North Lawndale: Past, Present + Future at the Chicago Architecture Foundation (now the Chicago Architecture Center).

Top image © Chicago Architecture Biennial / Nathan Keay, 2020

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