Chicago Lakefront Kiosk, 2015
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The main objective of the project is to create an exciting architectural object that would engage the surrounding space at the Chicago Lakefront as well as in the Millennium Park during the Architecture Biennial.
A classic kiosk generally has a passive role towards the surrounding environment: its function is completed in the practical role of selling goods. Also the customer has a very detached role: he approaches, buys and goes away. Moreover the space created by a classic kiosk is generally very basic: there is a clear division between inside (the side of the employees) and the outside (the side of the customers). In order to enable a dialog between the kiosk, the surrounding space and the customer, we decided to create a grand stairway that acts at the same time as a tribune and as the roof of the kiosk itself.
In this way we have achieved a multiplicity of interesting results. First, the stairway-tribune plays the role of an attractive, panoramic viewpoint: it can be used as a terrace for a bar located in the kiosks, as a place to rest and relax, to admire the surrounding environment from heights ranging from zero to five meters, to watch a game of beach volleyball or a film screening under the stars or to listen to an architecture lecture in the Millennium Park during the Biennial. At the same time the space below the roof-stairway will host two conical kiosks and a surrounding environment sheltered from climate influences where people can stop for a short break or a lazy afternoon. The kiosks have been created transforming the pillars that hold the stairway into two translucent cones of about 6 m2 each, that can become the working space for employees. The two spaces can be used in numerous flexible ways, depending on the needs of the specific vendors. The space created below the roof-stairway is deliberately ambiguous and also “cave-like”, given the combination of the sloping roof and the conical structure of the kiosks. In addition, the use of translucent curtains creates a gradual and non-definite transition between the space of the kiosk and the outside.
This spacial layout is also perfect for creative uses during the Biennial: the interior space of the conical kiosks can welcome workshops of artists at work as well as visual installations that require a certain degree of intimacy. The space bounded by the curtains is suitable for the display of works of art and/or architecture, where a diaphanous atmosphere would emphasize the exhibition. We also imagined workshops for children that can be conducted in the space below the stairway, giving the parents the possibility to relax on the steps.
The central themes of the project are therefore flexibility and impermanence. Nowadays the meanings of traditional architectural elements (stair, door, window, roof, wall etc ...) interchange and blend creating new configurations and uses. If these elements are also given a certain degree of flexibility, they interact with the surroundings and the users and with time create new forms of beauty. In our project a stairway/roof/kiosk will host conferences/screenings, exhibitions and workshops during the Biennial, while on the Lakefront it will become a cafe, shop, shelter, panoramic viewpoint, lighthouse, iconic screen and much more.
In order to make our architectural object easily movable, prefabrication and reversible construction methods have been used (steel elements assembled with bolts, removable wood and panels).
Sustainability is also a key point of the whole project and can be divided into three types:
1. Social sustainability based on the involvement of the public and the surroundings.
2. The re-use of a certain architectural elements in different scenarios: flexibility and impermanence as a source of sustainability.
3. Use of sustainable materials: polycarbonate panels (very long life cycle and 100% recyclable), reclaimed wood, reclaimed debris netting. The translucent walls and curtains will allow maximum use of daylight and for all artificial lightening LED lights will be used. The use of reclaimed, recyclable materials and reversible construction methods also fits perfectly in the notions of impermanence and flexibility.
We are convinced that the the Stairway from sand to sky will create a particular kind of architecture experience that will appeal to a wide public, both during the Biennial and on the Chicago Lakefront, in summer and winter, due to its simplicity, practicality and originality. At the same time it could become the starting point for new ideas and debates in the field of small-scale, temporary architecture.
Project: Chicago Lakefront Kiosk
Program: Multifunctional kiosk for the Chicago Architecture Biennial and the Chicago Lakefront
Client: Chicago Architecture Biennial
Key Team Members: Marco de Piaggi, Weronika Wawrzyniak