Playboy Architecture to Premiere at Elmhurst Art Museum

Playboy Townhouse, May 1962. Architect R. Donald Jaye (artist rendering by Humen Tam).

Elmhurst Art Museum will present the U.S. debut of Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979, featuring an extensive collection of original photographs, films, models and more from Playboy Magazine’s inception in 1953 through the 1970s. The exhibition is designed by Cristóbal Amunátegui, a partner in Amunátegui Valdés Architects (Santiago, Chile) and will be on display at the museum from May 7 – August 28, 2016.

Curated by Professor Beatriz Colomina and Pep Aviles in collaboration with the Ph.D. program of the School of Architecture and the Media and Modernity program at Princeton University, the exhibition showcases just how architecture and design played a role in creating the Playboy fantasy as well as how Playboy Magazine came to influence the world of architecture. Playboy Architecture 1953-1979 was previously displayed in the Netherlands at Bureau Europa (Maastricht) in 2012. Unique to the U.S. exhibition is a new staging of Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House at Elmhurst Art Museum as the ultimate Playboy bachelor pad, with examples of iconic mid-century design and furnishings.

Founded in Chicago in 1953, Playboy Magazine combined the art of seduction with the arts of architecture and design. The new exhibition will include detailed models of archetypal design projects such as 'Big Bunny', designed by Elmhurst resident, Daniel Czubak. 'Big Bunny' became the flagship of Hugh Hefner's Playboy empire as the largest and most luxurious private aircraft in existence. Playboy featured interviews and articles about architects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe and Buckminster Fuller alongside photos of the “girl next door,” creating archetypal and indelible images of postwar life in America. The U.S. debut of Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979 is made possible by Gigi and James Owen.

​For more information about the new exhibition on view this spring, visit