Completed in 1897 as Chicago’s first central public library, the building was designed to impress and to prove that Chicago had grown into a sophisticated metropolis. The country’s top architects and craftsmen used the most sumptuous materials to create an architectural showplace. The world’s largest Tiffany stained glass dome was restored to its original splendor in 2008. The building also contains a dome in an intricate Renaissance pattern, designed by Healy & Millet. In 1991, the building was established as the Chicago Cultural Center, the nation's first and most comprehensive free municipal cultural venue. Every year, the Chicago Cultural Center presents hundreds of free international, national, regional and local artists, musicians and performers.
The third edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial will convene the world’s leading practitioners, theorists, and commentators in the field of architecture and urbanism to further explore, debate, and demonstrate the significance of architectural concepts in contemporary society. The 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial is led by Artistic Director Yesomi Umolu with curators Sepake Angiama and Paulo Tavares.