Landmark Gallery in the Chicago
Cultural Center suffers from an ambiguous identity as both a
gallery and a corridor. It is too wide to be a hallway and too narrow to
comfortably view exhibitions. This project for the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial creates an enfilade of small
galleries, which are conducive to viewing small or detailed works that might be
overwhelmed by the Cultural Center’s main galleries.
The new rooms are defined
by four heavy walls that step diagonally. The freestanding walls are made of
structural glazed tile—a material commonly used in train stations, public
schools, rec centers, and other municipal buildings—in two colors, with the seam between
the two set at eye level. The tile and the enfilade layout, which has been a
defining form of museums and urban corridors for centuries, underscore the
Cultural Center’s unique convergence of fine arts and public works.
Designed with Paul Preissner Architects. Photos by James Florio.