Posted on August 1, 2012


Designer and curator of City Works exhibition at the 13th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy, August 27 – November 25, 2012.

Invited by David Chipperfield, director of the 13th Venice Biennale, Eisenschmidt designed and curated an exhibition that re-envisions a series of urban environments that are typical for Chicago in order to examine visionary alternatives to the way architecture and planning engage the city. The installation is a collaborative effort of 5 teams that involves a large model (12’x12′, produced by David Brown, Studio Gang, Stanley Tigerman, and UrbanLab) of a visionary Chicago as well as an encompassing drawing (100’ long) that creates a visual backdrop. The outside of the screen (produced by the Visionary Cities Project/Alexander Eisenschmidt) is a panorama of a Phantom Chicago, entirely composed of unbuilt visionary proposals for the city.

Phantom Chicago copy



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Excerpt from the official catalog: “According to curator Alexander Eisenschmidt, in our age of extreme urbanization architects have been placed in the critical predicament that calls for a new attitude towards the city that highlights its potentials, engages with its problems, and understands itself as a catalyst. As urmetropolis and prototypical American city, Chicago has been particularly receptive to this attitude. This concept is pursued through the presentation of projects—both real and imagined—by Chicago-based practices. These include Eisenschmidt’s Phantom Chicago Panorama, where the city is recreated through unbuilt visionary projects across the twentieth century . . . what unites the historical and the current scene in Chicago is an attitude toward the city, one that understands it as a catalyst and is determined to find within it potentials for spatial, material, programmatic, and organizational invention.” (David Chipperfield, Common Ground: 13th International Architecture Exhibition. La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 2012.)

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Press Coverage:
“Alexander Eisenschmidt,” La Biennale Channel – Media Center
“Team Chicago: City Works at the Venice Biennale,” DesignBoom
“Venice Biennale 2012: Team Chicago – City Works,” ArchDaily
“Venice Biennale Portolio,” Architectural Record
“Americans in Venice,” Architectural Record
“Floating Ideas in Venice,” Chicago Architect

Architectural Record covering Team Chicago

Visionary Cities Project (VCP) Team Members: Matthew van der Ploeg, Jonathan Mac Gillis, Senaid Salcin, Mark Cunningham, Senada Imsirovic, Jennifer Meakins, Alex Sorell, John Tisza, Jayne Kelly.

Special thanks to: Joerg Becker (graphic design), Ryan Palider (installation detailing and construction).

With generous support by: AIA Chicago; the Chicago Architecture Foundation; the Driehaus Foundation; the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts; the Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture; PolarGreen LLC; and the School of Architecture, the College of Architecture and the Arts, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at the the University of Illinois at Chicago.