A panel discussion featuring Mejay Gula, Julia Sedlock, and Amanda Williams. Moderated by Andrew Santa Lucia.
Chicago architect, designer and critic Andrew Santa Lucia staged a dramatic intervention in the McCormick House on commission from the Elmhurst Art Museum. Guided by the religion "Miesian Mysticism," a proposed faith he uncovered during his exploration of Mies van der Rohe's formal vocabulary and historiography, Santa Lucia transformed both wings of the modernist structure into altar rooms. In his words, "Altars help to make houses into homes precisely by reclaiming and misusing the territories of the interior—walls, floors, furniture, windows, nooks and crannies—for the sake of an individual's belief system."
Through the addition of large-scale architectural elements—walls and platforms—as well as niches, small and large boldly colored ritual objects, candles, and atmospheric lighting, Santa Lucia's intervention alludes to two types of sacred space: the one that a house becomes when it is filled with homemade altars, a common practice among certain religious devotees, as well as a historic space that converses with the man who built it, perhaps a comment on the McCormick House. Santa Lucia both challenges and participates in the ongoing veneration of van der Rohe, the "modern master," by critiquing his cult of personality at the same time as creating a space for worshipping architecture.
Presented with the Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL and the Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Presented as part of the William Bronson and Grayce Slovet Mitchell Lecture Series, which is free and open to the public. AIA Learning Units available for most lectures and events.