The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) is getting a new home. Currently located in the Daniel Burnham-designed Railway Exchange building on South Michigan Avenue, the institution’s offices and exhibition space will soon be located in the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed 111 East Wacker building. With the move will come expanded exhibition space, lecture space, and new offices for the foundation’s 70 employees.
Leading the interior design of what will be called the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) is Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG). The 20,000-square-foot center will include 9,000 square feet of exhibition space, to be designed by New York-based Local Projects.
“Architecturally the building is a gem,” said Gordon Gill, founding partner of AS+GG in a press release. “The design will create a dynamic and elegant space for CAF that promotes patrons to fully engage in the influence Chicago has on global architecture. The large volume of space fronting the Chicago River also creates an inviting and interactive atmosphere for visitors.”
The Chicago City Model Experience, currently located in the atrium of the Railway Exchange building, will be enhanced with interactive digital multimedia. Other permanent exhibitions include the Skyscraper Gallery and the City of Neighborhoods Gallery. Space will also be set aside for rotating galleries, and a new lecture hall will provide space for the CAF’s many public lectures. A new design studio space will be the heart of the foundation’s youth summer camps, and a Tour Orientation Center will be the starting point for its daily walking tours. The location of the new center also brings it closer to the docks of Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, the CAF’s river cruise boat.
Hundreds of thousands of people either visit or take one of the CAF’s architecture tours every year. The new location along the river will bring the foundation much closer to the throngs of tourists walking along the “Magnificent Mile.” Chicago River’s shoreline has recently undergone major improvements, with the center being one more major attraction when completed in the summer of 2018.