• Chicagoisms: The City as Catalyst for Architectural Speculation
    Alexander Eisenschmidt and Jonathan Mekinda
    Penelope Dean, David Haney, John Harwood, Mark Linder, Igor Marjanovic, Joanna Merwood, and Albert Pope
    Park Books (Scheidegger & Spiess), 2013
    Alexander Eisenschmidt & Jonathan Mekinda

Greg Lynn, Stranded Sears Tower Project, partial view of the model, 1992, Chicago. Courtesy of 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. Under the title Chicagoisms, the book 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 a designer, theorist, and assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Architecture, where he teaches studio and courses in history and theory. Eisenschmidt taught at Pratt Institute in New York, at Syracuse University, and held a visiting position at the University of Pennsylvania. His work 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 including the Free University in Berlin and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. His writings have appeared in Architectural Research Quarterly, The Architect's Newspaper (New York), Grey Room, the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, and the Zeitschrift für Zeithistorische Forschungen. Eisenschmidt was also the reviews editor of the Journal of Architectural Education (2012-13), the guest editor of the book City Catalyst with AD (2012), and the curator and designer of City Works for the 13th International Architecture Biennale in Venice (2012) as well as the cocurator and designer of Chicagoisms at the Art Institute of Chicago (2014).

Jonathan Mekinda is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago with a joint appointment in the Department of Art History and the School of Design. His research focuses on the history of modern architecture and design during the middle decades of the twentieth century, particularly in Chicago and Milan. He is currently at work on a book titled Building the House of Man: Design and the Modern Home in Milan, 1930-1960. He has received grants from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Graham Foundation, and his writing can be found in journals such as the Journal of Architectural Education, the Journal of Design History, and Design Issues as well as in the forthcoming volume Revival: Memories, Identities, Utopias (Courtauld Books Online, 2015).