Drawing the Future: Chicago Architecture on the International Stage, 1900–1925

Main Gallery

Rudolph M. Schindler, Bird's Eye View Looking Towards Public Library, 1914

Rudolph Schindler, Bird's Eye View Looking Towards Public Library, 1914, pencil, watercolor, and ink on paper. Art, Design and Architecture Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara.

In the early 20th century Chicago-based architects engaged in dynamic conversations with their progressive European counterparts as urban planning evolved in practice and on paper.

Curated by David Van Zanten, Mary Jane Crowe Professor in the Department of Art History, this exhibition explores the dialogue between architects and city planners in the United States, Europe, and Australia through drawings, large-scale architectural renderings, sketches, and rare books.

Drawing the Future focuses on a few key competitions and exhibitions and their primary participants, including architects Daniel Burnham, Marion Mahony Griffin, Walter Burley Griffin, Tony Garnier, and Frank Lloyd Wright. The designs, drawings, plans and publications convey the international optimism about creating a city of the future, especially in the years before World War I. For example, the competition for a plan of the city of Canberra, Australia, the new capital of a young country, provided a context for a fresh vision in 1913. That the first prize was awarded to the American architect Walter Burley Griffin speaks to the international outlook and the idea of transnational exchanges of the era. The exhibition will highlight such moments of dialogue and collaboration.

A full-color publication with original research accompanies the exhibition.

Support for this exhibition is provided by the Alumnae of Northwestern University; John K. Notz, Jr.; Myers Foundations; The Graduate School, Northwestern University; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and The Walter Burley Griffin Society of America.