Chicago No-Go

Delays halt permanent installation of the Chicago Biennial’s lakefront kiosks

Architecture Midwest
Summer Vault is made of thin metal sheets and consists of two triangular spaces: one for a vendor and one for gathering. (Courtesy Millennium Park Foundation)
Summer Vault is made of thin metal sheets and consists of two triangular spaces: one for a vendor and one for gathering. (Courtesy Millennium Park Foundation)

A recent Chicago Tribune article highlighted the delayed installation of four lakefront kiosks designed for the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Originally intended to house various park functions, these spaces would also represent the Biennial’s legacy. But only one of the four kiosks, which were supposed to be up-and-running this summer, has been built in its permanent location.

The winning entry for the Chicago Architecture Biennial’s Lakefront Kiosk Competition, Chicago Horizon, is standing. The design by Ultramoderne, a firm based in Providence, Rhode Island, received a production budget of $75,000 and was funded by BP. Located near the Shedd Aquarium, this pavilion offers a viewing platform where visitors can peek through an opening in the structure’s expansive roof.

The other kiosks, sponsored by the Biennial, each had a budget of $50,000. While the bold designs did yield “higher-than-anticipated costs,” the Chicago Tribune reports, factors other than financial ones have contributed to construction delays.



For several months, the kiosk Summer Vault, designed by Colorado architect Paul Andersen and Chicago‘s Paul Preissner, has been on display near Millennium Park‘s iconic Cloud Gate sculpture. But Alderman Leslie Hairston has opposed the project being moved to its permanent home at Harold Washington Playlot Park in her 5th ward. According to the Chicago Tribune article, Hairston’s decision was based on her constituents’ feelings that Summer Vault would be disruptive to the park; the community feels that the kiosk is unattractive and would take up much of the park’s limited space as well as obstruct views.

The pale blue barrel vault has been on display at Millennium Park. (Courtesy Paul Andersen)

The biennial’s co-curator, Sarah Herda, has said that the Biennial is looking at alternative locations for Summer Vault. She also noted that this bold design will likely take time to be accepted by the public. The kiosk will be a location to rent Segway two-wheeled electric vehicles.

A model of the kiosk reveals the interior spaces. (Courtesy Paul Andersen)

A model of the kiosk reveals the triangular interior spaces. (Courtesy Paul Andersen)

The two other kiosks were intended for Lincoln Park. The Cent Pavilion, by Chilean architects Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen, is a complex design for a 40-foot tower. Rock, designed by Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi, is a cantilevered structure that poses engineering challenges. While the structural framework for The Cent Pavilion has been constructed, it remains in storage and Rock remains unbuilt. The kiosks require additional funding in order to be completed.

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