In response to this year’s Chicago Architecture Biennial prompting Make New History, the 2017 Burnham Prize Competition: Under the Dome uses the historical and typological construct of the dome and calls for its critical re-imagination. This year the Chicago Cultural Center will perform as the main venue for the second edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. The Center—formerly a Public Library– was designed by Shepley Rutan and Coolidge in 1897.

Inside the building, the acclaimed Tiffany Dome was recently restored and brings in millions of visitors a year to not only admire the beautiful structure, but also participate in the many programs held under the dome. In contrast to the Tiffany dome, less than 10 miles away stands the decaying dome of St. Stephen’s Church St. Stephen’s Church, designed by the successor firm of Coolidge & Hodgdon. This year marks the centennial anniversary of the church’s domed cathedral. After its first 80 years serving as the Tenth Church of Christ Scientist and then as St. Stephen’s Church, the building and it’s dome have been abandoned for the last twenty years.

This year’s Burnham Prize competition questions whether St. Stephen’s dome can offer a new history by creatively re-thinking the dome’s contemporaneous state of ruin and dis-use. The decaying dome of St. Stephen’s Church is taken as an opportunity to revisit more broadly the dome’s place in contemporary society and fable its future history.

The CAC is calling for speculative proposals and architectural interventions that re-charge the significance and relevance of the dome. Would new strategies of programming or tectonic experimentation provide a new future for the dome? How can the collision of history and new use create the radical emergence of the unimaginable?

The competition is open to architects, designers, artists, and students.

  • Reduced Entry Fee for students: $35.00.
  • Winners and selected entries displayed at the Chicago Cultural Center during the Biennial
  • Downloadable 3D model of the Dome, available on the CAC website
  • Confirmed jury members: Penelope Dean, associate professor at UIC’s School of Architecture; Sarah Herda, Director of the Graham Foundation; Sharon Johnston, FAIA, Founder of Johnston Marklee; and Brian Lee, FAIA, Design Partner at SOM Chicago.


Additional information including entry information and a complete set of rules can be found at www.chicagoarchitecturalclub.org.

Open House / Install by 3pm Tuesday 

All drawings must be plotted and pinned up by 3pm, tomorrow, Tuesday 9 May.   Your project may be removed from the exhibition if incomplete by this deadline.

  1. Each student has been assigned a location via a letter-sized placeholder.  Simply replace the placeholders with your final (full sized 30×60 vertical orientation) prints.
  2. Curate all relevant models on the platform beneath your presentation area.
  3. Also, we are looking for good versions of the full range of Montessori materials for the center, curricular process area.

Thank you!!!

Open House Curatorial Effort

This year there are two parallel narratives in our Open House exhibition.  Complete PROJECTS will be exhibited around the perimeter.  A narrative of each semester’s PROCESS will be exhibited  in the center.  Therefore:

1.  For those envited to exhibit PROJECTS for open House, please print an image of your panel layout on an 8.5×11 sheet of paper indicating how many 60″ tall panels you are ultimately delivering and your name.  That way, we can coordinate: curate the order, note your location, and reserve accurate space on the wall.  Then you can replace the placeholder with the Final printed panels before Monday.  If you will be out of town, please coordinate with a colleague.
There is a table in the middle aisle for collecting these placeholder prints.  Please drop them off by the end of the day today.

2.  For those not exhibiting complete projects, we are still exhibiting individual examples of various PROCESS investigations.  For Fall this includes:

  • Montessori “Materials”
  • Circulation assemblages
  • Landscape assemblages
  • Structures assemblages
  • Envelope Assemblzges
  • Section Midels   

For Spring, this includes:

  • Urban Framework schemes
  • hybrid system models
  • section models.

Please arrange these process items neatly on your desk unless you’ve already been asked to move them to Crown.

Open House Drawing Process / Format

For those invited to submit work for Open House, a few notes:

  1. All drawings should be arranged on panels that are 30″x60″ portrait format (60″ vertical dimension).   Students may have as many portrait panels as you need.  (If you followed the suggested layout during the course of the year, the modules can be easily rearranged.)
  2. Please submit PDFs of your drawings for review.  We want to guage the available wall space and total length of presentations before we ask you to print.   Upload to the folder on the Drive: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B52miD6wFwC2LUZUMzZ4ckNTczQ
  3. Once submitted, you will be cleared to print and assigned a presentation location.