Future figures

Dani Garcia

One of the most notable characteristics of Chicago is the buildings that compose the cityscape: The Old Chicago Water Tower, built in 1869, is still a centerpiece on Michigan Avenue. The beloved Wrigley Field has been in existence since 1914. The Sears Tower was completed in 1973.

Chicago’s architectural foundation is made up of both the new and the old. It has not always looked as it does now and will not remain the same in the years to come. What will the Windy City look like, say, 50 years from now? What about 100 years? An exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., attempts to answer these questions.

The museum’s exhibit, “Chicago Architecture: Ten Visions,” presents the works of 10 prominent architects who have materialized their visions for the city’s future, pertaining to specific Chicago issues such as affordable housing and immigration. Each architect has his own space within the 21-square-foot exhibit. The traditional plans and models associated with architecture are present, but unlike the stereotype, each space can be considered a piece of artwork. Architect Jeanne Gang displays models of the baseball fields in Chicago, but her wall made up of 1,500 baseball cards is an example of the creativity present in the sterile environment often associated with architecture.

Martha Thorne, associate curator of the Department of Architecture at the Art Institute, said that the exhibit is indeed meant to show the public a glimpse of what lies ahead.

“Chicago has a tradition of looking towards the future,” Thorne said. “In that spirit, I hope the architecture of this exhibit will be some food for thought.”

Other themes presented include education, regional planning, the impact of the information age and the opposition of “real” versus “virtual” space.

The architects bring their own experiences and diverse insight into the exhibit, as well as demonstrate the ideas that are circulating through the architectural community. Katerina R