The Chicago Model City exhibition has drawn a vibrant band of locals and tourists who linger over the city in “miniature” every day since it opened in June.
Originally scheduled to close in November, the exhibition has been extended through November 2010 with some upgrades and additions.
Free and open daily, Chicago Model City, is at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan.
New additions to the exhibition will include an audio tour, an expanded schedule of free bi-weekly gallery talks, new adult and family programs, family programs, and a Flickr page where visitors share photos of the model and exhibition.
“The popularity of Chicago Model City demonstrates the desire for greater understanding of Chicago and all cities,” said Lynn Osmond, Chicago Architecture Foundation President and CEO. “Many people recognize that the design of architecture and infrastructure is key to achieving livable communities.”
The centerpiece of Chicago Model City is the first and only large-scale city model fabricated using the cutting-edge rapid prototyping manufacturing process called stereolithography.
Chicago Model City appeals to all ages by allowing visitors to get up close to the model which spans four sq. miles from Lake Michigan to Halsted and from Oak Street to 16th Street.
It has 1000 highly detailed buildings in 400 city blocks. The scale is 1 inch to 50 feet, making the Sears Tower nearly three feet tall! The lighting simulates June 21st, the longest day of the year, going from morning to night every 15 minutes.
“This exhibition really ties into the Chicago Architecture Foundation tours,” said Jason Neises, Chicago Architecture Foundation VP of Tours. “People like retracing their steps and can really see the path of the river cruise and many of our walking tours.”
Chicago Model City explores how a region as vast and complex as Chicago takes shape. The exhibition highlights the goals of the people who influence urban life, and it examines the intended and unintended consequences of their actions.
By focusing on landmark planning events that have been adopted or avoided in cities everywhere, the exhibition explores why Chicago is a model city.
Chicago Model City encompasses five sections:
- Beautiful City Plan of Chicago
To planners, beautification is a way to achieve wealth, efficiency, and harmony.
- Global City O’Hare International Airport
International transportation networks are the foundations of Chicago’s financial and creative wealth.
- Connected City The ‘L’
Chicagoans’ ability to travel throughout the region encourages urban growth; drives real estate development; and contributes to quality of life.
- Green City Chicago Climate Action Plan
Chicago’s dense population, commerce and industry, and complex infrastructure are ingredients for a green or a dirty city. How will planners tip the balance in favor of a productive and healthy environment?
- New City Remaking the South Side
Some planners’ solution is to demolish neighborhoods and build anew.
The Chicago model will be a permanent legacy for the city. The Chicago Architecture Foundation plans to continue enhancing and expanding the model, which will become the focus of its new facility, planned for 2012.
Corporations including DSM Desotech, Baxter International Inc., and Molex Incorporated worked with Columbian Model & Exhibit Works by donating staff, technology, and materials to fabricate the model.
Leading support was provided by Baxter International Inc., DSM Desotech, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity / Bureau of Tourism, Allstate Corporation, Bank of America, The Burnham Plan Centennial, Feldco, Molex Incorporated, Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, and Structural Engineers Association of Illinois.
Additional support was provided by Altman Lighting, Chicago Bears Football Club, Chicago Sun-Times, Color Kinetics, HOK, Intelligent Lighting Creations, Inc., Illinois Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Lightswitch Architectural, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, and Zumtobel Lighting, Inc.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public interest and education in architecture and design.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation pursues this mission through architecture tours, exhibitions, panel discussions, and youth and adult education programs.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation is located at 224 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60604.
For further information visit architecture.org or call 312-922-3432.