Chicago 2021 -At Chicago Architecture Biennial, architects team up with local communities and associations to create pavilions and installations in vacant lots across the city. Two of the best projects on show are at Bell Park in North Lawndale, a low-income neighbourhood on Chicago’s West Side.
Curator David Brown invited Outpost Office and Studio Barnes to transform the venue into a vibrant community space in collaboration with the Westside Association for Community Action (WACA) – which owns the park -, Open Architecture Chicago and Freedom House Studios, two associations promoting urban regeneration through architecture and art.
Block Party by Miami-based Studio Barnes, Shawhin Roudbari, Colorado, MAS Context, Chicago, is a new public space for community programming, gathering, and interaction centred around a shock-pink structure. The climbable, walkable, and durable design mimics the look and feel of the blow-up bounce houses often seen at the infamous block parties the neighbourhood is renown for. The vibrant colour echoes the pink train line that runs above.
Block Party also includes modular blocks that can be made, unmade, moved, and reconfigured by the community for different purposes and needs. “The project and site are designed to host a series of Block Party celebrations, bringing the community together in celebration and play.”
Cover the Grid by Columbus-based Outpost Office is an architectural-scale urban painting on the site ground produced with the GPS-guided robots ordinarily used to paint temporary sports fields. It was designed to bring vibrancy to the space without any associated material waste or demolition costs.
“Through the simple act of line making, the painting transforms vacant territory into landscapes for civic gatherings. The paintings are new ways to use, activate, and enliven civic spaces.”
Photos by Nathan Key and Dennis Fisher, courtesy of CAB 2021.
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