The Mies van der Rohe Society recently partnered with the Chicago Architecture Biennial to co-present Theatre, a site-specific installation and series of performances by the internationally acclaimed Mexico City-based artist Santiago Borja. Debuting in conjunction with the opening of the Biennial, the program took place in Mies van der Rohe’s recently restored Robert F. Carr Chapel, “ the God Box”, on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology. I had the good fortune to be in Chicago, recruiting, during the run of Theatre, and for the opening of the Biennial. At the suggestion of Alum Sarah Rogers Morris, one of the founding members of our Chicago Chapter, a group of Bard Graduate Center Chicago alums and I were in attendance on Oct. 2.

It was a remarkable evening, a great performance, and a wonderful experience for us all.


The chapel is the only religious building Mies ever designed, and is an enormously powerful, spiritual space. The materials of the large room, steel, wood, brick, glass, wool, stone, all seem to be in dialogue with each other, and one almost senses Mies himself involved in the conversation. The man who wrapped us all in glass asking us all to consider the inter-connectedness of multiple materials.

The performance itself was the idea of Mexican artist Santiago Borja, whose recent work centers on the intersection between art, architecture, and anthropology. And the Carr Chapel provided him with a perfect site specific space for exploring the notion of the sacred – from the ancient invocation of priestliness to the high modern, deeply mediatative.

A grand opening to the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and a wonderful experience for Bard Graduate Center colleagues to share!