From the abandoned foundations of the ill-fated Chicago Spire to the ghosts of would-be Tribune Towers galore, Chicago’s unbuilt legacy could rival the iconic skyline it actually achieved. An exhibition on display downtown, dubbed City Works: Provocations for Chicago’s Urban Future, confronts the city with its alternative skyline in the form of a panoramic wall design and a “Phantom Chicago” iPhone app. The overall effect evokes “a dream but also a nightmare,” in the words of curator Alexander Eisenschmidt. It also presents “a series of urban environments that are typical for Chicago,” meditating through the work of four prominent local designers on some of the city’s contemporary challenges: waterways, industry, shelter, and vacancy. To borrow Eisenschmidt’s metaphor, the aim is to turn potential nightmares into visionary dreams. Studio Gang’s work on urban waterways is well-known and their work here, titled “Reclaiming the Edge,” reprises the vision they laid out in Reverse Effect and other publications: a riverfront community and restored natural habitat nourish each other in a kind of urban symbiosis. After years of legal wrangling, Chicago’s Water Reclamation District will soon disinfect the wastewater it dumps back into the river, signaling some substantive progress on water quality. Meanwhile the Chicago Riverwalk grows along the waterway's main branch. UrbanLab / Sarah Dunn & Martin Felsen present “Free Water District,” a vision that also draws on Chicago’s aquatic resources. Rust Belt cities share many challenges stemming from deindustrialization, but they also share a common asset: water. UrbanLab’s piece envisions a Great Lakes region revitalized by water-focused industries, in a “megastructure-scaled public/private land/water partnership.” Stanley Tigerman offers a rumination on shelter in both the spatial and spiritual sense with “Displacement of the Gridiron with the Cloister.” His target is the “ineffable in architecture,” which is philosophical enough to mean many things to many people who might have very different ideas of the city’s urban aspirations. “The Available City” by David Brown displays a similar yearning, manifesting the city’s 15,000 city-owned vacant lots as blots of color bubbling up amid fractured neighborhoods. The bright colors, which appear to denote potential programs for unused space, could mean anything — adaptive reuse, public space, space-age capsule hotel — but the important thing is they reanimate dead spaces that total an area twice the size of the Loop. All four panoramas will eventually connect, sharing continuous topographic or development features. But until the closing days of the show they remain separate, traveling slowly along dotted lines that traverse the small exhibition space. “By pulling them apart,” Eisenschmidt said, “there’s a little suspense.” City Works, adapted from the 2013 Biennale in Venice, returned to its city of origin May 24. And these “provocations” are not Eisenschmidt’s first. In 2011 the University of Illinois at Chicago professor’s Visionary Chicago (reviewed here for A|N by Philip Berger) stirred conversation about bold building while the real estate market languished. The free show is open at Expo 72, 72 E. Randolph St., seven days per week through September 29. Listen to a conference on the topic, held September 22, 2012 and recorded by WBEZ. Watch 50 meters of the "Phantom Chicago" wall panorama scroll by:
Posts tagged with "Unbuilt Architecture":
AN's West Coast Editor Sam Lubell is curating an exhibition at LA's A+D Architecture and Design Museum that examines a whole new world called Never Built: Los Angeles. The show explores the amazing schemes dreamed up for the city over the years that never happened, including buildings by some of the most famous architects in the world (Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolph Schindler, Frank Gehry, Thom Mayne, etc.), as well as unbuilt subways, parks, amusement parks (Disneyland in Burbank!), and even flying buses. The show, organized around a giant floor graphic of LA, will create an alternative city through models, prints, installations, drawings, and animations. If you'd like to donate to the exhibition, check out the kickstarter link here. Proceeds will pay for building and installing the exhibition.
[Editor's Note: This the third in a four-part series documenting the winners of the AIANY's 2012 Design Awards, which are broken down into four categories: architecture, interiors, unbuilt work, and urban design. This list covers awards for unbuilt work.] The AIANY has released its annual list of Design Awards noting projects that demonstrate exemplary originality and quality, and the category covering unbuilt work tends to be among the most creative. This year's Honor and Merit Award winners for unbuilt work were selected by a jury consisting of Scott Erdy of Erdy McHenry Architecture, Thomas Hacker of THA, and Bruce Lindsey, dean of the College of Architecture at Washington University. Three unbuilt projects were distinguished with the top Honor Award including the Hirshhorn Museum Seasonal Inflatable Pavilion by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Kling Stubbins, Dortoir Familial by NADAAA, Bidard & Raissi, and Agence François Vieillecroze, and the USAFA/Center for Character & Leadership Development by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Winning work in all four categories will be on display ay the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia Place beginning April 19 through May 31.