Acclaimed Lessons from Modernism architecture exhibition makes first Midwest appearance at Elmhurst Art Museum to coincide with inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial


Elmhurst Art Museum presentation also includes two new exhibitions exploring Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House September 12 – November 29, 2015


June 23, 2015 (ELMHURST, IL)—Timed to coincide with the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial this fall, Elmhurst Art Museum (EAM) presents the first Midwest appearance of Lessons from Modernism: Environmental Design Strategies in Architecture 1925-1970—an acclaimed exhibition organized by The Cooper Union in New York that examines 25 modern building projects through the lens of sustainability—from September 12 to November 29, 2015. The first architecture exhibition presented by EAM, Lessons from Modernism offers a new context for the Museum’s McCormick House, designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1952.


Two new exhibitions exploring the McCormick House will complement EAM’s presentation of Lessons from Modernism. Lessons from the Fick Home: Mies’s Social, Cultural and Environmental Sustainability adds Mies van der Rohe into the conversation and is the culmination of two graduate-level courses at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, led by architects and SAIC professors Andrew Santa Lucia and Mary English in partnership with EAM. Aside from studies of heating, cooling, sun exposure, materiality and structure—inspired by the type of analyses done for the Lessons from Modernism exhibition—Lessons from the Fick Home also explores the social and cultural implications of the McCormick House on its former residents, the Ficks, who made the house their home for 30 years. Continuing EAM’s “In the House” series, Chicago architect Santa Lucia will also create a site-specific installation in the McCormick House called No Place Like House. Guided by “Miesian Mysticism,” a fictional religion conceived by Santa Lucia based on Mies’s essential design contributions, the intervention will include a series of altars, atmosphere and accoutrements to transport viewers into a temple of images, objects and offerings.


A list of related public programs, including tours, lectures, panels, performances and classes, is copied below.


Elmhurst Art Museum is located just 14 miles west of downtown Chicago and one block from the Elmhurst Metra station. EAM is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; closed Mondays. Admission is $8 for adults ($7 for seniors) and free for students and children under 18. Admission is free on the first Friday of each month unless otherwise noted. For the most current information go to


Lessons from Modernism examines 25 modern building projects, dating from 1925 to 1970, through the lens of sustainability. Incorporating environmental strategies that solve critical issues of comfort, use and economy, these projects recognize and adapt to natural forces and serve as inspiration and guide for the current green building movement. The exhibition encourages students, architects and the public to re-examine modern architecture, often presented as antithetical to climate-based and ecologically rooted design, and provides new insights into the work of a diverse selection of architects including Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Paul Rudolph, Jean Prouvé, Lina Bo Bardi and Oscar Niemayer.


This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Related Public Programs


Saturday, Sept. 12 at 1 p.m.

An Opening Day tour of Lessons from Modernism with exhibition curator Kevin Bone, Director

of the Institute of Sustainable Design at The Cooper Union


Friday, Sept. 25; Tuesday, Oct. 20; and Friday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m.

Tour of Exhibitions with EAM Chief Curator Staci Boris


Saturday, Oct, 10 at 1 p.m. 

Exhibition walk-through of Lessons from the Fick Home and No Place Like House with Architect Andrew Santa Lucia and SAIC graduate students


Friday, Oct, 23 at 7 p.m.

Ritual Performance by Andrew Santa Lucia in McCormick House


Sunday, Nov, 15 at 2 p.m.

Nitty Gritty: Conversation between Architects Heidi Y. Granke and Andrew Santa Lucia. Preservation architect and owner of Heritage Architecture Studio in Elmhurst Heidi Granke and exhibiting architect, SAIC professor and Co-Creative Director of AND/OR US Andrew Santa Lucia discuss their different approaches to architecture and their discoveries and ongoing roles in the interpretation and restoration of Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House.


History of Architecture class for adults

2 sessions: Thursdays from 5:45-6:45 p.m. Sept. 10-Oct. 22 and Oct. 29-Dec. 10

Join us for a lecture course exploring modern architecture. In conjunction with EAM’s

Lessons from Modernism, learn about the evolution of modernist architecture in the early to mid-20th century. Each class will offer an in-depth examination of an individual architect, covering major figures like Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe.




Kevin Bone is the Curator of the Lessons from Modernism exhibition. He is a Professor of Architecture at The Cooper Union (where he has taught since 1983) and teaches both design (at various levels) and an advanced concepts sustainability class. He has organized summer workshops in Venice, Italy, has been a visiting professor in Berlin, Germany at the Hochschule Der Kunst and at Columbia University in New York. Bone has organized numerous public exhibitions about architecture, engineering, and history, and organized and participated in lectures and panel discussions on issues of environment, resources and design. He has been a principal in a practice (shared with partner Joseph Levine) that has pursued a mix of contemporary architectural design, technical consulting and historic preservation for more than 25 years.


Andrew Santa Lucia is an Instructor of Architecture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Adjunct Faculty at the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture. He received an MA in Design Criticism from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2012, an M.ARCH from Florida International University in 2010, and a BA in Architecture + Philosophy from Florida International University in 2008. He is the Co-Creative Director of AND/OR US, an architectural collaborative, which focuses on architecture, interior design, design-build contracting and speculative design projects. His exhibition Messy Mies was presented at Oakton Community College in 2012.


About Elmhurst Art Museum

Elmhurst Art Museum is located in Elmhurst, IL, a city of 44,000 located 14 miles west of downtown Chicago. The Museum is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to education and exhibitions focusing on modern and contemporary art, architecture and design. The collection includes the McCormick House, one of only three single family residences designed by Mies van der Rohe in the United States. For more information please visit