2.0 The Chicago Way

A cocktail of corruption and largess, catastrophe and ingenuity, Chicago lifted the entire ground plane of the city, reversed the course of its river, filled the lake with parks and the sky with buildings. It has persistently displayed an uncanny ability to turn water and air into real estate, the result of its alchemy a 3D envelope of fabricated landscapes and floating interiors. It lays substantial claim to extending the urban possibilities of the grid, the frame structure, the plan, the futures market, the mail order catalogue, the skyscraper, the superblock, the suburb and sprawl, as well as visualizing an expanded repertoire of domestic and metropolitan lifestyles from Ward and Sears to Johnson and Hefner.

A machine-made city in both political and technical senses, Chicago also operates as a city-making machine, a crucible for a series of urban models and platforms. It made manifest the way to urbanize a continent, establishing the template for more recent developments across Asia and the Middle East, and it is precisely this global operating system that shapes the background of architectural education and research at UIC. Chicago provides the surprising opportunity to think locally and act globally. For all its monuments and exceptional qualities, Chicago is an export precisely through its generic standards, quantitative excesses, and the power of its indifferent methods.

The subject of inquiry and inspiration at UIC is less Chicago than it is, as Sean Connery's Jim Malone would have it in the Untouchables, the Chicago Way: the delivery system of modernity.

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