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SOM: Engineering x [Art + Architecture]

A pop-up exhibition presented by Mana Contemporary Chicago in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Special Programming in partnership with Ace Hotel Chicago
Sponsored by Sterling Bay and Terry Dowd, Inc.

September 10, 2017–January 7, 2018
345 N. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607


For more than eight decades, SOM has explored the poetics of structure through continual examination and experimentation. The exhibition SOM: Engineering x [Art + Architecture] reveals the concepts and forms that stem from SOM’s integrated practice of engineering, art, and architecture. Through hand-drawn sketches, interactive sculpture, immersive video, and a lineup of more than 30 structural models at 1:500 scale, the exhibition gives insight into SOM’s practice, past and present, as it seeks to address physical and environmental challenges with concise and honestly expressed solutions.

The exhibition surveys SOM’s long tradition of collaboration with visual artists and showcases models, drawings, and ephemera from projects created by Pablo Picasso, James Turrell, Jaume Plensa, James Carpenter, Janet Echelman, and Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle. Presented with Mana Contemporary Chicago in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, SOM: Engineering x [Art + Architecture]  explores the idea that engineers, architects, and artists alike practice a poetry of inquiry, experimentation, and ingenuity.

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Press Release

Sky’s the Limit: The Engineering of Architecture.
Photo: Niels Fabaek © Utzon Center