In response to this year’s Chicago Architecture Biennial prompting Make New History, the Chicago Architectural Club is pleased to announce the 2017 Burnham Prize Competition: Under the Dome. In partnership with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, a call for entries for the Burnham Prize is taking place with submissions due August 18th.

This year the Chicago Cultural Center will perform as the main venue for the second edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. The Center—formerly a Public Library– was designed by Shepley Rutan and Coolidge in 1897. Inside the building, the acclaimed Tiffany Dome was recently restored and brings in millions of visitors a year to not only admire the beautiful structure, but also participate in the many programs held under the dome.

In contrast to the Tiffany dome, less than 10 miles away stands the decaying dome of St. Stephen’s Church St. Stephen’s Church, designed by the successor firm of Coolidge & Hodgdon. This year marks the centennial anniversary of the church’s domed cathedral. After its first 80 years serving as the Tenth Church of Christ Scientist and then as St. Stephen’s Church, the building and it’s dome have been abandoned for the last twenty years. This year’s Burnham Prize competition questions whether St. Stephen’s dome can offer a new history by creatively re-thinking the dome’s contemporaneous state of ruin and dis-use. The decaying dome of St. Stephen’s Church is taken as an opportunity to revisit more broadly the dome’s place in contemporary society and fable its future history.

The CAC is calling for speculative proposals and architectural interventions that re-charge the significance and relevance of the dome. Would new strategies of programming or tectonic experimentation provide a new future for the dome? How can the collision of history and new use create the radical emergence of the unimaginable?

Entry information, including a complete set of rules, can be found at

A jury of notable professionals, academics, and public officials will review and determine competition winners. The jurors will be listed on the Competition Website (

The winner(s) of the 2017 Burnham Prize will be announced and exhibited at an opening event in September. Further details will be listed on the Competition Website.


June 19, 2017 : Competition Launched with Online Registration

July 10, 2017 : Question and Answer Period closes

Aug. 18, 2017 : Online Registration closes and Submission are due at noon CST

Sept 15, 2017 : Winners Announced & Exhibition Opening Event at TBD (Date TBD).