Two Towers - Chicago Architectural Biennial 2017

2017 - Chicago, IL, USA

Chicago, IL, USA

PRODUCTORA’s participation in the Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017, forms part of the Chicago Tribune Tower project in which 16 young architects from around the world were asked to design a skyscraper that will be displayed as a series of 16-foot-tall architectural models in the Chicago Cultural Center. These scale models of towers arranged in a grid pattern will then form a sort of multi-columned space, resembling an ancient hypostyle hall. The ambiguity of the commission (a model that is a column and simultaneously a scale version of a tower), sparked a discussion on the autonomy of architectural drawings and models and about the way architectural ideas are developed simultaneously in different scales and techniques.

Since red and blue bic sketches lay on the basis of the architectural proposal realized for the Biennial, we decided to render the large MDF model as well in blue and red bic pen. A team of volunteers worked weeks to hand-color all sides of the MDF panels that conform the 16-feet scale model. Both this model and the original bic-pen drawing are on view at the Chicago Cultural Center. Is the large architectural model then a scaled version of a possible skyscraper, or rather an up-scaled drawing, an enlarged sketch? To further emphasize the different scales and evocative character of architectural models, another scale model – although roughly 100 times smaller- is inserted into the ‘California Hallway’ of the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The architectural design of the proposal is based on two earlier projects of the studio.  The first one is the design for the open international competition for the Bauhaus Museum in Weimar, a collaboration with Derek Dellekamp Architects from 2011. In this project, two similar volumes with different materiality are stacked one on top of the other in order to reduce the perceived overall height of the building. This compositional strategy was repeated again in PRODUCTORA’s competition entrée for a private developer in the city of Queretaro a year later. In both cases, the stacked volumes create a totemic urban composition, with large terraces halfway the volume. A single sky-scraper consisting of two stacked towers.


Architecture: PRODUCTORA (Wonne Ickx, Victor Jaime, Carlos Bedoya Ikeda, Abel Perles) | Collaborators: Juan Benavides | Fabrication of large model at CCC: Ravenswood Studio (Chicago, USA) + coordination of volunteers by Paola Aguirre | Miniature model at the Art Institute by artist Michael Yarkovic (Atomic Miniature, Chicago, USA) | Organization: Chicago Architecture Biennial | Location: Chicago Cultural Center and Art Institute of Chicago (Thorne Miniature Rooms), Chicago, IL | Date: September, 2017 – January, 2018  | Special thanks to: Zoe Ryan and Lindsay Morgan at the Art Institute of Chicago | Volunteers: Seetharam Vallabhaneni, Dana Lee, Nara Radinal, Klaire Rial, Chen Huang, Ernesto Zuniga Jr, Roberto Abarca ,Leslie Schamber ,Ladipo Famodu ,Juan Ramon Cantu ,Hsu Myat Aung, Tra Nguyen, Jon Beskin, Junwoo Baik, Xiaoyu Zhang, Jaehong Ahn, Tao Qu, Zahi Barajas, Tammy Phan, Minjung Ku, Ayanna Israel, Ghadah Turki, Omar Rodriguez, Bita Hashemizenouz, Meghan Quigley, Dolores Ochoa, Haya Suri, Max Keating, Katie Seaver, Austyn Chesser, Murewa Oguntade, Nivedha Jawahar, Dominique Sokan, Aurora Hdz. De Lopez, Deniz Demir, Rachel Starr, Jing Hai, Maryam Kalkatech, Caylen Doyle, Tizzie Baldenebro, Devon Charlton, Andrea Rivera, April Miller, Sylesha Brewer, Courtney Prentiss, Skylar Moran, Aimee Dewante, Julio Reyes, Suriana Rosas, Hannah Benson, Devon Charlton, Guadalupe Aguilera, Elijah, Scott Lawson, Joe Avilez, Rossitza Iovtcheva.