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Chicago’s Newest Exhibition Space: Wrightwood 659

Adding to the rich culture of architecture and art in Chicago, Wrightwood 659 opens with an exhibition about renowned architects Tadao Ando and Le Corbusier

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Photography by Jeff Goldberg/Esto

With a poetic use of exposed brickwork, concrete highlights and sensitivity to natural light, renowned architect and Pritzker Prizewinner Tadao Ando, has transformed a 1920’s building into the newest member of the Chicago creative scene. On October 11, the exhibition space Wrightwood 659 opened its doors for the first time with its inaugural show Ando and Le Corbusier: Masters of Architecture which will run until December 15.

This exhibition explores the influence that Le Corbusier has had on Ando’s architectural practice and philosophy. This is succinctly summed up in the showcasing of 106 small models of Le Corbusier’s architectural works made by the students of Ando, reflecting Ando’s deep appreciation for Corbusier.

To develop a comprehensive presentation of the architects the curatorial team was composed of Eric Mumford, Ph.D. – theRebecca and John Voyles Professor of Architecture – who put together the Corbusier section and architectural historian Dan Whittaker, Ph.D. who curated the Ando section.

One the second floor, visitors to the exhibition can wander through more than 100 originals drawings, photographs and models of Le Corbusier which are displayed alongside numerous lithographs, archival documents and furniture. Highlights such as his urban plan for the reconstruction of the small French city of Saint Dié (1945) – which aimed to transform the war-damaged town into something of a modernist utopia – show the possibilities that Corbusier saw in using architecture for social change.

On the third and fourth floors, which show Ando’s work, visitors can compare the ways of thinking and material expressiveness that link the two master architects. Three large-scale models accompanied by hand-drawn sketches trace Ando’s creative and generative design process.

Ando and Le Corbusier: Masters of Architecture marks the first in an exciting lineup of scheduled shows in the coming years. With its programme, Wrightwood 659 aims to be a site for intimate experiences with socially engaged art and architecture and to explore the pressing issues of our time. In the coming two years the space will host exhibitions dealing with topics such as citizenship, rebellion, the paintings of Tetsuya Ishida (1973–2005) and contemporary experimental Chinese art.

Summing up the launch of Wrightwood 659, the director Lisa Cavanaugh says: “We are delighted to be opening a new space for art in Chicago, one conducive to quiet reflection and thoughtful engagement, while also provoking activism on behalf of a more just society.”

‘Ando and Le Corbusier: Masters of Architecture’ will be on display until December 15, online reservations must be made.

Wrightwood 659
All images: Wrightwood 659, Chicago, IL. A new exhibition space designed by Tadao Ando. © Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Wrightwood 659
Wrightwood 659
Wrightwood 659
Wrightwood 659
Wrightwood 659
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