MAS Context Fall Talks 2021

Tracing / Traces: Architecture and the Archive 2021

November 13, 2021 at 11AM

On Saturday, November 13, 2021, MAS Context organized the fifth edition of our Tracing / Traces event when readers had the chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at selected items from the Ryerson & Burnham Art and Architecture Archives located at the Art Institute of Chicago.


Five architects and designers selected items of the collection and discuss them in relationship to their practice, the discipline, and/or society. Nathaniel Parks, Director of the Art Institute of Chicago Archives, provided some background on the archives.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the program once again took place online.

Participants included:

Maya Bird-MurphyChicago Mobile Makers
Greg DelaneyDesigner and historian
Antonio PetrovUrban Future Lab
Fred ScharmenWorking Group on Adaptive Systems
Rula ZuhourArchitectural designer

The Ryerson & Burnham Art and Architecture Archives’ collections are notably strong in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century American architecture, with particular depth in midwestern architecture. Architects such as Edward Bennett, Daniel Burnham, Bruce Goff, Bertrand Goldberg, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Mies van der Rohe, Louis Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright are represented in a broad range of papers. Major architectural events, such as the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, The Century of Progress International Exposition of 1933–1934 in Chicago, and the World’s Fair of 1939 in New York, are also represented in an individual archive.

Mas event 2021 tracing traces 01

Chrysler Corporation, De Soto Press Shop, Detroit, designed by Albert Kahn, 1936. Photographer: Manning Bros. [Detroit]. Historic Architecture and Landscape Image Collection, c.1865-1973 (bulk 1890-1945). Courtesy of the Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago.