Throughout Fall 2017, UChicago Arts and the University's Public Art Committee, in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, present a series of temporary installations on campus that explore the complex legacy of the Chicago Pile-1 experiment, including Nuclear Energy, Henry Moore's sculpture that was created to mark the experiment's 25th anniversary.

For a list of past events and arts contributions to the December 1-2 commemoration, visit

Nuclear Thresholds
September 18, 2017–January 7, 2018

Outdoors at the Nuclear Energy sculpture, ~5625 S Ellis Ave
In-progress artist talk at the site on September 16, 2pm
As part of the 75th anniversary of Chicago Pile-1 (the site of the first man-made, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction), UChicago Arts and California-based firm Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects (OPA) present a temporary architectural installation at the location of the original pile, marked for the last fifty years by Henry Moore's Nuclear Energy sculpture. Based on computational modeling of unstable processes, the installation creates a material threshold around Nuclear Energy that resonates at radically different scales. It invites visitors to interact physically with the shape and patterns of criticality that drove the experiment, provoking deep questions about the scientific, historical, and existential thresholds CP-1 crossed. Installation opens during the Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Presented by UChicago Arts. Nuclear Thresholds is made possible by the University's Public Art Committee.

Lantern Pile
November 15–December 15, 2017

Eckhardt Research Center lobby, 5640 S Ellis Ave

UChicago Arts presents an installation that provided an intimate space to view video documenting both the creation of Chicago Pile-1 and the subsequent history of the nuclear era. Lantern Pile takes its roughly cubic form from the original pile, in which heavy wooden beams supported a dense structure of graphite bricks that made the inducement of sustained nuclear fission possible. In contrast, this installation is an empty cube constructed of white paper and bamboo poles, lifted several inches above the lobby floor. Visitors can enter the Lantern Pile to view four different channels of video documentation, much of it newly discovered. The installation’s form and materials echo that of a Japanese paper lantern, and the video projected inside is visible outside like a candle in a lantern, providing space for personal reflection on Fermi’s achievement and the ramifications of living in a nuclear age.
Presented by UChicago Arts. Curated by Laura Steward.