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.
Our vision re-imagines a unique void within Humboldt Park, in Chicago’s Near Northwest Side. The void, bordered by California Avenue to the east, Augusta Boulevard to the south, and Humboldt Park to the north and west has been in existence dating back to the original plans by William Le Baron Jenney and Jens Jensen. It represents a 24-square-block area, which was curiously never included into the park framework. Today, it reflects the demographics and conditions of the neighborhood overall, which is low-income, minority (primarily Latino), and suffering from economic marginalization.
Our development scenario focuses on Norwegian American Hospital, the anchor within this void for more than 120 years and the design potential of “wellness.” This proposal suggests a new wellness centered strata that inextricably links the Hospital with all facets of daily life within the community. This new strata blurs the former void and creates a continuum with the park, the 24-block area, and the surrounding community.
Juan Gabriel Moreno, Miriam Neet, Dan Spore, Katie LaCourt, and Tad Jameyfield.