Posted on 2/18/2013 1:14 PM by Grace Jeffers

The Aqua tower, one of the most iconic buildings in the Chicago skyline was designed by MacArthur prizewinning architect Jeanne Gang. And now, Studio Gang--her eponymous office--is the subject of a current exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. Although the unique and often undulating forms of her buildings are memorable, their exploration and use of materials is noteworthy.

Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago.  All exhibition photos courtesy the Art Institute of Chicago.

Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects, is the first exhibition in the world devoted to the Chicago-based group, and it explores a sense of how buildings and projects are created, what issues they resolve, and how solutions are shaped.

The Aqua tower employed curving concrete floor slabs that simultaneously served as balconies and passive solar shading.

SGA's Aqua Tower in Chicago (above), and working models (below) of various towers on display in the exhibition.

Gang designed a facade of concrete poured in large strata of three colors, for a foster-care service and community center on Chicago’s south side. This construction detail makes the overall building look more like stone than concrete and more decorative than utilitarian.

The SOS Lavezzorio Community Center in Chicago.

A pavilion they created in Chicago’s Lincoln Park is an undulating, Alhambra-like open-air construction made of curved and laminated Douglas fir planks. The planks bow and bend like young trees in the wind, emphasizing the openness of the building.

Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo (above), and models of the building at the AIC exhibition (below).

The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership is an upcoming project for Gang in Kalamazoo, Michigan, that will feature exterior walls constructed with white-cedar masonry--a technique once common in the region.

A catalog is available on-line at