UChicago and Chicago Resources

To support your architectural studies work, watch these UChicago organizations for programming and opportunities:

Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute includes one of the first departments of architecture in the country, with an extensive collection of Chicagoan and international drawings and artifacts and regular exhibitions. The Department’s Art & Design Society, a membership group, sponsors a program of lectures by prominent architects and designers, some of which are open free to the public. In addition, the museum’s libraries include impressive architectural holdings originating in a 1912 bequest by the Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. For architectural research, the library is a valuable complement to the University’s library and is open free to University students.

Arts + Public Life

The mission of Arts + Public Life is to foster collaboration and conversation between the University and civic, cultural and artistic communities of Chicago with a focus on the South Side.  Defining the role of the arts at an urban research university is a leadership priority; inviting the arts into the scholarly discourse of urban communities is a University objective. APL was launched to facilitate this direction and was charged to deepen the partnerships between artists and cultural institutions, the South Side, and the University so that combined artistic assets can serve as creative catalysts for urban transformation.
APL partners across the University with a wide range of departments and initiatives including the Logan Center for the Arts, the Department of Visual Arts, Center for Politics, Race and Culture, and the Department of Art History.

Chicago Architectural Biennial

The Chicago Architecture Biennial is an international exhibition on the contemporary global built environment held in Chicago every second autumn since 2015. It is a counterpart to the Venice Biennale of Architecture held in Italy in even-numbered years. Each exhibition has a different curatorial team and theme, and is accompanied by citywide lectures, exhibitions, performances and other events illuminating the built environment in Chicago and around the world. CAB 2017, on the theme Make New History, is open September 16, 2017-January 7, 2018 at the Chicago Cultural Center in the Loop with additional installations and programming on the University of Chicago campus.

Chicago Architecture Foundation

The Chicago Architecture Foundation is the city’s main organization informing the public about Chicago’s built environment. It sponsors a much-loved river boat tour of Chicago skyscrapers, a great variety of tours of different parts of the city, exhibitions (including a regularly updated model of the Loop), and lectures. Each October it manages the Open House Chicago weekend, during which many buildings are opened to the public free of charge.

Chicago History Museum

As its name suggests, this is a museum of Chicago’s social and material history. In addition to its exhibitions, it holds crucial archives for Chicago's architectural history and operates an important research library as well as an extensive calendar of events. For research on Chicago topics the library is an important complement to the University’s library and is open without charge.

Chicago Studies

Chicago Studies is a University of Chicago center that supports students’ engagement in the Chicago community, ranging from community service to arts and culture to courses connecting to Chicago (“Chicago Studies Quarter).” Chicago Studies holds architectural and urban planning events throughout the year.

Driehaus Foundation

A major aim of the Chicago-based Driehaus Foundation is to support the preservation and enhancement of Chicago's built and natural environments. Through grants and an awards program as well as symposia and other events, it encourages historic preservation, high quality architectural and landscape design, and the conservation of open space.

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

The Trust operates the University-owned Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright as a museum and is carrying out its restoration, building on its earlier museum restoration of the family house and adjoining office that Wright built in the nearby suburb of Oak Park (the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio). It also offers tours of additional buildings important to Wright’s Chicago career, including Unity Temple, the Unitarian church Wright designed in Oak Park, and The Rookery, a celebrated office building in the Loop whose atrium Wright redesigned. The Trust's activities have expanded in recent years and include special educational programs and events as well as tours. 

Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

The Graham Foundation fosters the development and exchange of diverse, challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society by making project-based grants to individuals and organizations and producing exhibitions, events, and publications. Founded in 1956 with a bequest from Ernest Graham, an architect who was a protegé of Daniel Burnham and a partner in Burnham’s successor firm, it is an important source of support for architectural innovation among scholars and practitioners alike. Its exhibitions and lectures take place in a Chicago landmark: Madlener House, a Prairie Style mansion in the Gold Coast neighborhood on the North Side.

Mansueto Institute

The Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation will be an intellectual hub for the University’s strengths in urban scholarship and education, bringing together relevant programs in the social, natural, and computational sciences, along with the humanities, to develop an understanding of the fundamental processes that drive, shape, and sustain cities. To that end it will cultivate scholarship, foster innovation, and build interdisciplinary connections surrounding urban research through fellowships, conferences, visiting scholars and policymakers, support for multidisciplinary urban research projects, and other opportunities for sharing ideas.

National Public Housing Museum

The National Public Housing Museum, the first museum of public and publicly subsidized housing in the US, is planning its move into permanent quarters in the only remaining building of the Jane Addams Homes, a 1930s public housing project in Little Italy, on Chicago’s West Side. In the meantime, it is holding exhibitions and programs in temporary quarters on the North Side. Drawing on oral history, it showcases the social as well as architectural history of public housing.

School of Social Service Administration, photography by Joel Snyder

Society of Architectural Historians

Chicago hosts the headquarters of the Society of Architectural Historians, a membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation, and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes, and urbanism worldwide. Based in the landmark Charnley House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright on behalf of Louis Sullivan, the Society organizes an important annual scholarly conference and publishes a scholarly journal, as well as a series of scholarly guide books, among its varied programs. SAH includes a Chicago Chapter that organizes local lectures, tours and get-togethers. Charnley House, in the same neighborhood as the Graham Foundation, is open for tours and also houses occasional public events.

UChicago Careers in Journalism, Arts, and Media

UChicago Careers in Journalism, Arts and Media (UCIJAM), at Career Advancement. It offers Chicago career treks to offices and institutions that work with the built environment, including Chicago architectural offices. It also offers academic year and Metcalf internships in architecture and design.