Steel a Star of Chicago Architecture Biennial

Top photo: Design with Company’s “Chicago Reframed” exhibit is on display at the Chicago Cultural Center. Bottom photo: Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer of Design and Company pose with their installation. (Photos: AISC)

The second edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) officially opens to the public this Saturday, September 16, and will run through January 7, 2018. The event is the largest free architecture and design exhibition in North America and features over 140 artists and architects presenting unique architectural projects, on view at the Chicago Cultural Center and other sites across the city. AISC sponsored the exhibit “Chicago Reframed,” created by Design With Company (Dw/Co), a Chicago-based architectural collaborative of Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer, representing historic Chicago steel skyscrapers.

Design with Company’s exhibit revisits the canonical history of Chicago’s famed steel-frame construction and demonstrates the expression found in the specific details of the universal steel joint. The installation consists of three parts: a representation of steel framing plans from six Chicago skyscrapers; three-dimensional specimens taken as fragments from the steel structures; and isometric drawings of these fragments that demonstrate the multiple variations producible from the simple matrix connection of the steel joint.

Six early skyscrapers are represented: Manhattan Building (1891), William Le Baron Jenney; Monadnock Building (1891), Burnham and Root; Rookery Building (1888), Burnham and Root; Marquette Building (1895), Holabird and Roche; Reliance Building (1895), Burnham and Root; Carson Pirie Scott Building (1899), Louis Sullivan and Daniel Burnham.

Accompanying the exhibitions is a robust roster of more than 200 public programs, which will take place throughout the run of the Biennial. This year’s edition has also partnered with local museums and institutions to expand the presence of the Biennial beyond Chicago’s Loop and into neighborhoods across the city.

“The whole city will be a canvas and forum not just to look to the past, but to look forward, imagine and influence the future,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel during a press conference at the Chicago Cultural Center this morning.

For more about the Biennial, visit For more about Design With Company, visit