Chicago Lakefront Kiosk
A black box
The project is a step forward in the development of a concept we already explored in our proposal for the International Union of Architects World Congress Infopoint and which was awarded third prize among almost 500 proposal from around the world.
The idea is to foster a straightforward design based on the use of readily available, off the shelf components. Details are reduced to a minimum, the quality of the design relying mainly on the internal diffuse natural light and clean assembly.
The space is filled with northern light coming from top portholes arranged on a regular grid. Sun rays are blocked by shading devices ready made cutting standard 700 mm polyethylene or metal tubes.
From the outside an unusually pointed roof profile counterpoints the deceptively simple black box made of regular 42” sips panels. The simpe kit of parts architecture will be preengineered in a workshop and will go up on-site in a matter of hours.
We added to this a maximum of flexibilty in the configuration of the openings and interior and exterior furnishing, in order to accomodate a varied range of activities.
Paying hommage to the Miesian ethos of which Chicago is imbued (at least in our hearts and memories), we refined the corner detail, adopting a cruciform column which is fully perceivable when the walls are up. They fly to extend the physical limits of the kiosk turning it in a big umbrella, thanks to a system of pneumatic pistons, and leaving the columns free in the space, such in the Barcelona Pavilion. When the walls are closed down, the corner is devoided of mass, a solution experimented in by Mies in various iterations from the IIT buildings to many skyscreapers.
The small, refined kiosk can accomodate a range of possible commercial or cultural activities, but our suggestion for the period of the Biennial at Millennium Park (and maybe even later) is to use ita s an outdoor cinema, hosting screenings of the best movies filmed in Chicago. The program must of course include memorable quotes about the nature of the Windy City such as those pronounced by Tom Hanks in Nothing in Common and John Belushi in Continental Drift. A program of reading of newspaper articles by Mike Royko would also be a great way to introduce visitors to the Chicago culture.