University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Architecture

April 5, 2010

Introduction by Douglas Garofalo.


Mas issue university works uic studio 01

University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Architecture. © Iker Gil.


The School of Architecture is particularly fortunate to participate in an urban context and international network of strong and varied professional offices from which students are able to select in order to continue their practical education. Through a close attention to its discipline, the School is best able to prepare students for the multiple formats of practice, both current and future, that inevitably erupt in a dynamic office culture. A school does not serve its students well by simulating practice, a compromise only necessary in locations with weak professional offices, but can be extremely effective at demonstrating ways of thinking and working that give students the confidence to confront the unknown and contribute to the development of a project in its largest sense.

Forty years ago, in August 1968, the streets of Chicago gave birth to the slogan “The whole world is watching.” In this peculiar combination of collective event and mass media, this collision of city and technology, the School recognizes one instance of its design and research agenda. Architecture and urbanism need to channel that level of cultural urgency and attention today, soliciting unexpected audiences and developing new modes of communication and affect.

Architecture at UIC aims to make the metropolis an offer it can’t refuse. That’s the Chicago Way.



At the SoA at UIC recent school interests and conceits engage the relationship of architecture and urbanism. But these are not treated in a “traditional” way, precedent analysis understood as an active interpretation; a borrowing, stealing, and/or copying, all for the purpose of reimagining traditional relationships between these two broad categories. Each maintaining its autonomy yet each also inspires, regulates, defines and / or mutates the other.

Architecture is largely a practice of organizing information, of intelligently identifying and deploying patterns–conceptual, visual, structural, behavioral, and material–in the world.

We enlist the legion of unlikely scenarios and cartoon-like diagrams extracted from the city’s archive, aimed toward the projection of alternative futures both here and elsewhere. We are more interested in extending the city’s experiments than preserving its monuments. Admiring so much the paradoxes – swagger, frailty, brilliance, and failure – of the historical figures and environmental features of the city and region, we refuse to invoke them as a means to market rote styles, or to place what are ultimately political and aesthetic choices beyond reproach. Nothing is beyond reproach; it’s all up for grabs.

The questions and possibilities offered to architectural design by contemporary technologies and metropolitan formations are never assumed, but always open to renewal and reconsideration. Neither the city nor technology is static… when deployed creatively, architecture and urbanism are two of the most powerful tools available to remake the world as an artifact of our desires, ethics, and ideologies.

The School of Architecture at UIC works from the premise that a student’s best chance for getting a position is by taking a position.

Douglas Garofalo

Students | Projects

Laetitia Croize-Pourcelet and Sheri Zon | New York is Not a Place
Dana Elkhoury and Katlyn Reichelt | Family
Ryan Johnson and Darya Minosyants | Off-Grid Scenarios: Solutions for the Endless City
Matt van der Ploeg | RUBIXtube
Julia Sedlock | Collective Nesting: Urban Housing Prototype