This week I finally made it over to the MCA to check out Sustainable Architecture in Chicago: Works in Progress and Massive Change. Today’s entry will just be about the Sustainable architecture portion. A good Massive Change overview can be found here.

At first glance, the Sustainable Architecture exhibit seemed to fall short – due in part to its remote location in the museum and the small footprint it occupied. But, on further exploration, the projects themselves are very interesting and show the wide results that can occur when designers consider the role their buildings play in the environment. I will only touch on two of the seven projects presented.

SOM Chicago’s Zero Energy Tower is the only project featured that is not being built in Chicago.

Studio Gang’s Ford Calumet Environmental Center is located on the far southeast side of Chicago.

Both projects are influenced by nature’s ways: the tower by biomimicry, and the environmental center, more specifically, by a bird’s nest. Ultimately, I think this is the goal of the sustainable movement – to have the built world operate as much like the natural world as possible.

Other projects the exhibit included:
Hyatt Regency Lower Wacker Exhibition Hall and Riverwalk Renovation Project by Gensler
Near North SRO/Mercy Housing Lakefront by Murphy Jahn
Pacific Garden Mission by Tigerman McCurry Architects
Greenworks Headquarters and Eco-Industrial Park, by Farr Associates and Christy Weber Landscapes
Aurora Master Plan, by UrbanLab, Sarah Dunn + Martin Felsen