Sep 18th 2019

Illinois Tech Students Present Exhibit of Chicago and Hamburg Architecture for 2019 Biennial

Doppelgänger, an architecture exhibit two years in the making, is on its way to Chicago, where it will go on display at Mana Contemporary, an art gallery housed in a former ComEd warehouse in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood. The exhibit is the product of a collaboration between students at Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture who took part in last year’s Hamburg Semester Abroad program, led by Adjunct Professor Martin Kläschen, and students from the HafenCity University Hamburg. It will open on September 22 as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

The use of the term doppelgänger—the word coined by German author Johann Paul Richter in 1796 to refer to a person’s seemingly identical lookalike—reflects and celebrates the analogous nature of Chicago and Hamburg. The two metropolises have been sister cities for 25 years, but the parallels run further: both are global trade centers located on large bodies of water, were impacted by catastrophic fires in the nineteenth century, and are renowned for their stunning and diverse architecture.

As such, the research and work presented by the students of Illinois Tech and HafenCity University highlight the similitude of the two cities. One project, an interactive wall superimposing the distinctive skylines of Hamburg and Chicago, reveals both the contrasts and similarities of the two. Another consists of models of the elevated transit systems of both cities that encircle their downtown areas—Chicago’s CTA “Loop” and Hamburg’s U-Bahn U3 line.

While the exhibit will be in Chicago for the first time in September, Doppelgänger has already been on display at an art space in Hamburg for the city’s Architektur Sommer architecture festival—appropriately, it was shown at Kraftwerk Bille, another energy company’s former warehouse turned exhibition space.

“We want visitors to come away with a newfound awareness of urban water bodies as civic spaces, and new ideas for how we can engage and inhabit postindustrial water sites,” says Kläschen.

Doppelgänger will open with a reception starting at 6:30 p.m. on September 22, and will remain on display at Mana Contemporary until January 5, 2020. For more information, click here.