The Chicago Architecture Biennial in partnership with Founding Sponsor BP and Signature Education Partner Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) are pleased to announce the return of the BP Student Design Competition this fall. Following the success of the program during the inaugural 2015 Biennial, the second BP Student Design Competition will once again allow aspiring artists and architects in Chicago’s elementary and high schools the opportunity to create projects challenging their creative thinking and skills around the Biennial’s 2017 theme, “Make New History.”

The 2017 competition will require participants to design solutions for two different Chicago-centric challenges, providing a platform for these young, creative minds to explore how the past informs the present and how our daily lives can be transformed by the built environment.

“The BP Student Design Competition is a unique hands-on experience for Chicago students to challenge their creative thinking and develop their passion in architecture and design,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The educational partnership with the Chicago Architecture Foundation engages our young artists and architects by giving them the opportunity to participate in a range of opportunities in neighborhoods across the city.”

In the Graphic Design division of the competition, students will design an advertisement for one of Chicago’s 77 unique community areas. The advertisement will be displayed on a local bus shelter and must showcase the neighborhood’s unique past, present and future and break boundaries to entice people to explore the city. The advertisement should be designed to be displayed in a different area of the city than the neighborhood featured in
the design.

The Architecture Design division of the challenge requires students to design a library on a 75’x125’ lot in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood that will serve as a community site where people gather to access free resources and take part in civic and community activities. Designs must be engaging, accessible, attractive and safe for residents of all ages. This element of the design competition aligns with Chicago Public Library’s strategic plan to create more open spaces and transparency in its buildings, which increases the richness of interactions among patrons and between patrons and their local communities.

BP, the Founding Sponsor for the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, has a long history of contributing to the Chicago area, where a large number of employees are based. In 2015, BP donated $2.5 million for the inaugural three-month exhibition. The company has shown a continuous effort and dedication to supporting Chicago architecture since 1974 with the construction of the Standard Oil Building, now the Aon Center.

“We are very proud to sponsor the 2017 BP Student Design Competition,” said Doug Sparkman, Chief Operating Officer, BP Fuels, North America. “As we saw in 2015, there really is no limit to the creativity of Chicago’s young people. I look forward to seeing their projects and how they advance the conversation about our community in Chicago.”

"With the generous support of BP and in partnership with CAF, the Biennial is able to introduce students of all ages to the creativity inherent in architecture and design,” said Jack Guthman, Chairman of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial Board. “This is yet another example of how we are addressing our dual goals of presenting an exposition of international import while also serving Chicago's communities.”

In 2017, the Chicago Architecture Biennial, in partnership with CAF, has proposed a number of new education initiatives designed to expand the Biennial’s reach to communities throughout the city. In addition to the BP Student Design Competition, CAF will lead field trips, teen studios, teen ambassadors and provide a family guide booklet for students from Chicago Public Schools. CAF will also hold two Community Festival Days for families with children ages 6-12 and expand teacher trainings to include the City Colleges of Chicago. CAF’s programming will reach 15,000 young people in 2017, doubling the number reached during the three-month long exhibition in 2015.

“CAF is excited to provide young Chicagoans from our diverse neighborhoods with the opportunity to solve a design challenge and create a city that works for everyone,” said Lynn Osmond, President and CEO of CAF. “We’re proud to partner with the Biennial, BP and the City of Chicago to teach students about the power of design and how they can become stewards of their neighborhoods and city.”

Registration for the competition is open from September 1-November 17 and winners will be announced on December 12. Competition winners will receive free design software and varying cash prizes, as well as public recognition at the final showcase and the opportunity to have their work on display at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. The Student Competition is free to enter, and eligible participants must live within the city limits of Chicago, currently be enrolled in an elementary or high school in Chicago, and be at least 10 years of age for the Graphic Design division and 14 years of age for the Architecture Design division by September 1. Interested students can visit to register.

About the Chicago Architecture Foundation
The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring people to discover why design matters. As an education leader in architecture and design, CAF offers tours, programs, exhibitions, field trips, curricula and online tools that are part of a dynamic learning journey for all ages. Proceeds from CAF’s tours and gift store, as well as grants, sponsorships and donations, support this educational mission. For more information, visit

About BP
BP is a global producer of oil and gas with operations in over 70 countries. Over the past 10 years BP has invested $90 billion in the U.S. – more than any other energy company. BP employs about 14,000 people across the U.S. and supports more than 130,000 additional jobs through all its business activities. For more information on BP in the U.S. visit