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The Chicago Architecture Biennial will return in 2017

Written by
Clayton Guse

The first-ever Chicago Architecture Biennial wrapped up over the weekend, and it's already being hailed as an "unprecedented" success. The series ran from October 3 to January 3, and featured more than 100 exhibitions, installations and events that explored the state of modern architecture. The Biennial attracted more than half a million visitors from around the world, making it the largest international showcase of contemporary architecture to have taken place in North America—which is a pretty big deal.

The Biennial was such a hit that the Department of Cultural Affairs has already announced that the event will return in the fall of 2017. The official dates will be announced in the coming months, but its second iteration is likely to be bigger, more ambitious and even more amazing than 2015's showing. 

“The success of the Biennial lies in the extraordinary connections it has produced at different scales—between architects and the public, between cultural institutions and educational initiatives, between Chicago and the world,” said Sarah Herda, Co-Artistic Director of the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial. “The enthusiastic reception of the Biennial confirms that there is a far-reaching and overwhelming commitment to architecture and its possible futures.”

The announcement of a second Biennial in 2017 comes just as Chicago's skyline is having a bit of an architectural renaissance. A trio of towers are under construction at Wolf Point (one is already topped out), which will block the Sun-Times building from the view of riverboat tourists. A pair of massive skyscrapers have been announced for the South Loop. Jeanne Gang's Wanda Vista tower is expected to break ground this year, and will be more than 1,100 feet high when it tops out in 2019. That's all on top of a rush of new mid-rises heading to the Loop that are expected to bring more than 10,000 new residential units to the downtown area by the end of 2016.

We've always appreciated Chicago's beautiful architecture—the success of the Biennial proves that the rest of the world is taking notice as well.

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