Chicago Architecture Biennial

'Super Models'

John Hill
15. September 2017
All photographs by John Hill/World-Architects

Architectural critic Sylvia Lavin, working with Erin Besler and Norman Kelley, has assembled models of notable Postmodern buildings inside a bespoke enclosure for the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Addressing the Make New History theme dictated by CAB artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, Super Models looks back to a time when architectural models "could be collected, exhibited, and traded," and "architectural museums were established to collect models and, in turn, buildings were designed and constructed to appear to be models." In this period – from the Vanna Venturi House of 1964 to projects in the 1980s – many iconic designs were created, some of them now existing only as models; one of these includes a BEST Showroom by James Wines/SITE on display. The space that Lavin and her team created for Super Models is one of the Biennial's few inhabitable enclosures – refreshing in an exhibition with so many scale models.

The models are housed in a foam structure that recalls the work of O.M. Ungers.
Model of the house Robert Venturi designed for his mother
Model of one of James Wine's BEST Showrooms
Although housed in an architectural space, the models are crowded together so they can only be seen from certain vantage points.

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