2021 U.S. Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale


Omaha Reservation, Nebraska, 1877. Photo by William H. Jackson
From May 22, 2021 until November 21, 2021
As we approach the rescheduled opening of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State, is sharing details about AMERICAN FRAMING, the exhibition for the U.S. Pavilion. Featuring a monumental site-specific installation and newly commissioned works, the exhibition will focus on the architecture of wood framing—the most common construction system in the U.S. and one of the country’s most prominent contributions to architecture. Co-curated by Paul Andersen and Paul Preissner, both UIC professors and practicing architects, AMERICAN FRAMING will bring appreciation and attention to an architectural element that has been overlooked by historical and contemporary discourse on design.
On view May 22 through November 21, 2021, AMERICAN FRAMING will activate the entrance to the U.S. Pavilion with a large-scale installation, which will be accompanied by site responsive furniture, providing visitors with a firsthand experience of wood framing. On view in the galleries will be two commissioned series of photographs and a selection of building models created by UIC students that trace the history of wood framing. Placing various architectural disciplines in dialogue with an underrecognized component of American architecture, the exhibition considers themes that include natural environments from which lumber is sourced, numerous framing materials, the people who work in the framing industry, and the evolution of framing from its early development through the 20th century.
Audel's Carpenter's and Builder's Guide © 1923
Chicago Lumberyard, 1870. Chicago History Museum
War housing in Erie, Pennsylvania, 1941. Al Palmer, Courtesy Library of Congress
Stacks of lumber, Seattle Cedar Manufacturing Plant, Ballard, 1958. Photo by Webster & Stevens. Digital Collection: Museum of History & Industry Photograph Collection
Paul Andersen and Paul Preissner. Photo by Chris Strong