Greg Lynn, Stranded Sears Tower Project, partial view of the model, Chicago, 1992. Image: Greg Lynn.
This book investigates the role of Chicago as a catalyst for the exchange of architectural and urban ideas. The city that has served as a source of inspiration and site of activity for architects and urbanists around the globe will be examined for its distinct capacity to act constructively as a "mediator," transmitting ideas, provoking speculations, and proposing alternatives. The title Chicago in the World offers two ways of understanding this function of the city: first, as an exporter of architectural and urban ideas into the world, and second, as an incubator of agendas imported from abroad. A roster of historians, theorists, critics, and architects present a set of distinct episodes from the past and present of the city that help explain what makes Chicago tick. Mining, analyzing, and interpreting the history of the city, this collection of essays formulates a theory of the city that goes far beyond Chicago's own expectations.
Alexander Eisenschmidt is an architect and writer who teaches design and history and theory in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago and holds a visiting position at the University of Pennsylvania. Before moving to Chicago, Eisenschmidt taught at Pratt Institute in New York, at Syracuse University and the University of Pennsylvania, where he also received his PhD. In addition, Eisenschmidt hold a diploma in architecture from the University of Leipzig in Germany. His research investigates the productive tension between the modern city and architectural form. On this and related topics, he lectured extensively and chaired conferences at numerous institutions — from the Free University in Berlin to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. His writings have appeared in Architectural Research Quarterly, The Architect's Newspaper (New York), Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, and Zeitschrift für Zeithistorische Forschungen. Eisenschmidt is also the guest editor of the forthcoming issue City Catalyst by AD Magazine and is curator and contributor of City Works, a collaborative installation at the 13th International Architecture Biennale in Venice (both in September 2012).
Jonathan Mekinda is a historian of modern and contemporary architecture and design and a visiting assistant professor in the School of Art and Design and the Department of Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his PhD in the history of art from the University of Pennsylvania, where his work was supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Mekinda has organized panels and presented papers at numerous conferences and institutions, including the Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia), the College Art Association, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and has written for journals such as Design and Culture and Design Issues. His current research investigates architecture and design in Italy between 1930 and 1960, with a particular focus on the neorealist culture of the postwar period.