3.0 Test Site

Chicago exists as a collection of imaginary facts and realized fantasies. It is the primary repository for the major inventions of late-19th and early-20th century metropolitan architecture, landscape and planning, and plays host to the largest collection of projects by Mies van der Rohe in the world. It is also a blank node in the flat, gridded plains of the American mid-west, an open field whose generous neutrality–frankly, even boredom–has sponsored perhaps the greatest concentration of architectural experimentation in the last two decades. In this configuration, Chicago sits dead center in a conceptual triangle defined by Minneapolis, Cleveland and Cincinnati, an unlikely zone that has supported more advanced contemporary architecture than both coasts combined, including projects (sometimes more than one) by Jean Nouvel, Herzog & de Meuron, Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry, Kazuyo Sejima, Wolf Prix, MVRDV, FOA, Peter Eisenman, Bernard Tschumi, Thom Mayne, Zaha Hadid, and Neutelings Riedijk, among others.

As part of this context of recent invention, and as an alternative to the current academic landscape of social and technical specialization, architecture at UIC endeavors to abstract the city (free context from its presumed necessities and translate its lessons elsewhere) and specify the virtual (materialize the plastic possibilities of recent technological advances).

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