Garofalo Architects: Between the Museum and the City



The MCA has commissioned the Chicago-based architect Douglas Garofalo to design and construct a temporary experimental architectural work that will “bridge” the museum building and the surrounding public space. A collaboration between the MCA and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the project aims to stimulate the creation of a new architectural work, as well as to enable the museum plaza to function more effectively as a public space. The final design emerged after a series of discussions and open forums at the museum about issues of public space, urban development, and the functionality of architecture within the context of the local urban landscape. The temporary nature of Garofalo’s project and the low budget available encouraged experiments with forms and materials. The result is a unique, abstract architectural form, which crawls down the stairs of the barren museum façade and sprawls across the otherwise uninhabited plaza. Its abstract forms offer public amenities to the local urban area, such as summer outdoor seating with shade, a café, and free, open space for performances. The plaza will also be used for a variety of artistic projects, educational programs, and children’s activities during the six-month duration of the structure. Additional works designed by nationally and internationally recognized architects and artists will become a feature of the plaza in future years.

Garofalo Architects: Between the Museum and the City is a collaborative project between the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. It is curated by Elizabeth Smith, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator at the MCA, in collaboration with Judith Kirshner, Dean of the College of Architecture and the Arts at UIC.


Support for this project has been generously provided by Nancy and Sanfred Koltun, National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Additional support for programming on architecture is provided by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. In-kind support has been provided by the Chicago Park District, Crown Construction, Thornton Tomasetti Engineers, Dukane Precast, Anton Metal Works, Unistrut Corporation, iLight INC, and Garofalo Architects, INC.