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CONSIDERED: Chicago Architecture Biennial

As 2015 drew to a close, the energy in Chicago was palpable. Everywhere you glanced, there were stark reminders of the city’s seat as the capital of American architecture: Thousands streamed in and out of the Cultural Center, where Norman Kelley adorned windows with vinyls depicting glazing patterns and window styles; teenagers studied Jeanne Gang’s proposed community policing through design; millennials giggled as they located the mini figure entering the archway of an over­turned ashtray as if it were a Roman stadium; and families explored a prototype of a house clad in nipa palm leaves that can be built in three hours. This past fall, the birthplace of the skyscraper reignited optimism in the transformative power of architecture — shades of 1885.