How a Chicago Skin Rag Made Architecture Hip


When Playboy Magazine is mentioned, there are certain people who titter like frat boys at the thought of forbidden glances and the naughty bits of impossibly proportioned women.

Then there are other people who are able to step back and consider the magazine from an analytical standpoint.  From its not-so-humble beginnings in Chicago’s Gold Coast, Playboy became a cultural touchstone, influencing the way much of America’s thinks about literature, sexuality, and even… architecture.

The Chicago chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians is hosting an event about Playboy’s influence on how men see architecture.  See the press release below.  Or if you can’t go to the event, click here to download the PDF (NSFW).

‘Playboy Architecture: 1953 – 1979’ with Professor Beatriz Colomina


Thursday, October 10, 2013, reception at 5:30, talk at 6:00.


School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Columbus Auditorium
280 S. Columbus Drive at Jackson Boulevard.


Princeton Professor Beatriz Colomina’s lecture will focus on a recent exhibition organized around how Chicago-based “Playboy Magazine” deployed architecture design to shape a new identity for the American man. The exhibition was based on a three-year research project led by Professor Colomina on the influences of “Playboy Magazine” and the Playboy clubs on architectural design in the period from 1953 to 1979, whether in the design of the clubs, or in the dissemination of ideas about swinging bachelor pads, conversation pits, portable playhouses, and penthouse apartments. Playboy was a prescient supporter of contemporary design by Mies, Eames, Saarinen and others. The lecture is sponsored jointly by SAH Chicago Chapter and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago


$10.00 for SAH members and SAIC Faculty. $15.00 for non-members and the public. Free for Students.


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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