Metropolis Magazine: “10 Highlights from the Chicago Architecture Biennial”

22_Tom_Harris

Courtesy Tom Harris/Chicago Architecture Biennial

Nine Responses to the Available City

“Concentrated mostly on the city’s poorer South and West sides, Chicago’s 15,000 vacant lots comprise an area twice the size of the Loop. Put another way, if grouped together, these urban inequities could soon overshadow Chicago’s exquisite skyline. As such, a major portion of the IkerGil–curated exhibit is focused on ways to fill in the city’s many missing teeth. Local architects have proposed new programs and building types for such vacant properties, ranging from anonymous technocratic high-rises to more intimately scaled housing for disabled seniors. The most effective entry, Ania Jaworska’s Forum Pavilion, keeps everything simple. It’s a pitched-roof shed that serves as a flexible hub for the kind of everyday community activities—barbeques, block parties, and recreational spaces—that make up that “somewhere between living room and public plaza.” The project acknowledges the inherent spatial modesty required to invest in disused land in impoverished neighborhoods, and so sets a simple stage on which to cultivate a genuine urban neighborliness and community. “