The Netsch Campus: Materializing the Public at UIC

Presaging the 50th anniversary of the 1967 opening of UIC’s Architecture and Art Building, The Netsch Campus: Materializing the Public at UIC re-visits architect Walter Netsch’s vision of a new model for an urban public university, for which architecture and art were both anchor and future, and re-affirms its continuing importance as a symbol of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s urban public mission. Urban and architectural diagrams by Netsch’s Skidmore, Owings & Merrill team, original watercolor “sketches” by Netsch, and black and white photography by Orlando Cabanban of the completed buildings and campus trace the evolution of this new model from ideas to built form, provoking a renewed understanding and appreciation of the urban and architectural design of the campus. And in a particularly timely discovery, the exhibition also reveals a never-before displayed watercolor rendering of a massive visual and performing arts project proposed by Netsch for the West Loop, showing that even with arts facilities under construction on campus, Netsch, too, speculated on an alternative future for the arts at UIC.

The Netsch Campus: Materializing the Public at UIC and Back to the Future: Visualizing the Arts at UIC , co-curated by Judith K. De Jong and Lorelei Stewart, are complementary exhibitions that explore architecture’s agency in the imagined futures and materialized past of the visual and performing arts at an urban public university.