• Lessons from Modernism: Environmental Design Strategies in Architecture, 1925-1970
    Kevin Bone, Staci Boris, Jenny Gibbs, Steven Hillyer, and Andrew Santa Lucia
    Elmhurst Art Museum
    Sep 12, 2015 to Nov 29, 2015
    Elmhurst Art Museum

Oscar Niemeyer, building for the Emprezas Gráficas O Cruzeiro, 1949. Photo: Pat McElnea. Courtesy of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture archive at the Cooper Union.

Elmhurst Art Museum presents Lessons from Modernism: Environmental Design Strategies in Architecture, 1925–1970, an exhibition organized by the Cooper Union that examines twenty-five modernist building projects through the lens of sustainability. Incorporating environmental strategies that solve critical issues of comfort, use, and economy, these projects, dating from 1925 to 1970, recognized and adapted to natural forces and serve as inspiration and guide to the current green building movement. Timed to coincide with the first Chicago Architecture Biennial, Lessons from Modernism encourages students, architects, and the public to re-examine modernist architecture, often presented as antithetical to climate-based and ecologically rooted design, and provides new insights into the works of such renowned architects as Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alvar Aalto, Paul Rudolph, Jean Prouvé, and Oscar Niemayer.

Lessons from Modernism is presented in conjunction with two exhibitions, Lessons from the Fick Home and No Place Like House that explore the museum’s McCormick House, designed by Mies van der Rohe, in greater depth.

Kevin Bone conceived and organized Lessons from Modernism. He is a professor of architecture at the Cooper Union and teaches both design and advanced concepts sustainability classes. Bone has organized numerous public exhibitions about architecture, engineering, and history, as well as lectures and panel discussions on issues of environment, resources, and design. He has been a principal in a practice pursuing a mix of contemporary architectural design, technical consulting, and historic preservation for over twenty-five years.

Andrew Santa Lucia is an instructor in architecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He graduated from Florida International University, Miami, with a BA in Architecture in 2008 and an MArch in 2010, and received his MA in design criticism from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2012. He is the co-creative director of AND/OR US, an architectural collaborative, which focuses on architecture, interior design, design–build contracting, and speculative design projects.

Staci Boris has been the chief curator at Elmhurst Art Museum since 2012. Prior to joining EAM, Boris was senior curator at the Spertus Museum and a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, for nine years. She holds an MA in art history and museum studies from Boston University and a BA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

As the executive director of Elmhurst Art Museum, Jenny Gibbs has more than fifteen years of senior experience in the fields of art and design education and organizational leadership. Previously, Gibbs served as head of the graduate program at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, leading the successful NAAB accreditation team toward a new MArch program. Prior to her tenure at MassArt, Gibbs was executive director at the Lacoste School of the Arts in France (Bard College) and director of outreach and special programs for New York University. Gibbs holds an MA in art history from NYU and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Steven Hillyer is the director of the Architecture Archive at the Cooper Union. He has participated in the design, installation, and curatorship of thirty exhibitions presented by the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union, nationally and abroad. He was involved in seventeen publications produced by the Architecture Archive, in capacities ranging from production and general assistance to supervision and editorial work. He received a BA in architecture from the Cooper Union in 1990.

Elmhurst Art Museum is located in Elmhurst, Illinois, fourteen miles west of downtown Chicago. The Museum is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to education and exhibitions focusing on modern and contemporary art, architecture, and design. Their collection includes the McCormick House, one of only three single family residences designed by Mies van der Rohe in the United States.