Piranesi Circus

Beginning in 2015, Chicago celebrated its Architecture Biennial – ‘The State of the Art of Architecture’ – that included three months of exhibitions, workshops, tours, and events in recognition of the City’s arts and architecture.

As part of the event, the Chicago Cultural Center’s building and courtyard served as the backdrop for Tokyo architecture firm Atelier Bow-wow’s sculptural ‘Piranesi Circus’.

Although the courtyard is inaccessible to Cultural Center guests, the exhibit’s bridged stairways, ladder, swing, and balcony are visible from the building’s internal windows. From design to installation, Chicago Scenic’s crews worked to protect the building exterior while meeting tight deadlines for the opening festivities of the Biennial. Although the floating staircases look small and lightweight, they have the potential to exert over a ton of lateral force to the building structure, so connection points were specifically engineered for each piece.

Project Manager Jean Burch and Project Director Ross Hamilton worked with Brian Foote of Woodhouse Tinucci Architects to bring the design to life. Admission to the Chicago Cultural Center is free and the exhibit is scheduled to remain open until Spring 2016.

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