Building upon the urban exploration of vacancy proposed in The Available City project by David Brown, nine Chicago-based teams present their own responses to the issue at stake. Employing drawings and models, each project investigates the architectural possibilities of vacancy, with a specific focus on the role of collective spaces and the relationships they can foster. Diverse in their location, scale, program, and aesthetic sensibility, these projects ultimately demonstrate that we can leverage vacancy to generate new architectural scenarios that have the potential to address current social and economic issues.
Sited on a quarter of a vacant block owned by the City of Chicago and made available for a planned unit development (PUD) is an aesthetically conceived interactive community of affordable housing created from recycled shipping containers. Six 25′ x 125′ city lots were replatted to form a sustainable enclave of diversely configured, artfully colored units with green roofs and solar panels.
The parcel is ringed with thickets of shrubs and small trees, providing nesting sites, shelter, and a food source for wildlife. On the remaining land, a Great Plains ecosystem of native prairie grasses and plants provides habitat for endangered pollinators such as hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. Centered within this Tall Grass Prairie is a communal gathering place with a sand box and a fire pit. Bicycle and recycling containers, a greenhouse, and a half basketball court provide community support facilities.
Tigerman McCurry Architects
Margaret McCurry assisted by Margaret Sullivan.