The museum of contemporary art Chicago’s (MCA) redesigned building has finally been opened and thanks to Johnston Marklee, the building has been successfully remodeled. The architects, who are based in Los Angeles, have been confirmed as the artistic directors of the Chicago Architecture Biennial and they redesigned specific areas of the museum in order to create three new areas, all of which are connected by a staircase. There is a restaurant on the ground floor (named ‘Marisol’) and it features an immersive environment designed by Chris Ofili. Design duo Pedro y Juana also have an installation featured in a ‘social engagement space’ located on the second floor.
Finally, a completely new third floor makes provision for various classrooms and a meeting space. Each space is connected by a new staircase, which was also designed by Johnston Marklee. This staircase was designed to emulate the wonderful structure is the iconic stairway at MCA.
Also, another major part of the development is the vaulted ceiling which recalls the barrel vaults located in the galleries on the fourth floor.
The revocation, which costs a grand total of $16 million, perfectly coincides with the 50th anniversary of the institution and converts a total of 12,000 sq ft. into a brilliant interior space.
In order to perfectly complement the interior renovation, the MCA constituted a creative team that comprised of Chris Ofili, a British Turner Prize- winning painter. He was in charge of creating the environment. Design duo Pedro y Juana were also recruited and they were tasked with creating a geometric hanging indoor garden oasis that will serve the engagement space of the commons. Jason Hammel, a chef based in Chicago, was also hired and he is expected to take on the responsibility of chef at Marisol.
Architect Sharon Johnston said, “Our original goal was to have the redesign respect the building’s grid-based and rational history. However, we also wanted to create a more natural flow that will offer a wide array of opportunities for audiences to interact with their new spaces. Our approach was more focused on the visitor and the relationship between the galleries and the communal areas that obscures the boundaries they have. This will go on to produce a set of more active and multifaceted spaces throughout the building. The idea is to make the new spaces open to redefinition by artists and audiences over the course of time and to add a lightness and warmth to the building”
Madeleine Geynsztehn, Pritzker Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago said, ” Johnston Marklee is a firm that fully understands just how strong our building, designed by Josef Paul Kleihues, really is. They carry a deep respect for history and that has been visible throughout their architectural practice. Their legacy of excellent and stellar work perfectly resonates with our own interest in developing our building through the use of thoughtful interventions, including a new restaurant called Marisol. This new design will make our distinctive space even more welcoming and flexible in the long-run”
This year’s edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial is the largest and most popular architecture and design exhibition in the whole of North America and it provides a wide array of creative and innovative works in these fields up for showcase. This year, there will be well over 140 practitioners, all coming from over 20 countries of the world, and each of them will be dressing the topic ‘Make new history’. There have been architects selected who will be able to showcase some alluring and awe-inspiring creations that will bring the public to a better understanding of the impact of the latest architecture on the development of history itself.