The Urbana Illinois (140 miles South of Chicago) situated design team, Design With Company, has partnered with Min Chen to develop their latest project, Second Second City, which they have shared with us here at ArchDaily. Additional images of their vision for Chicago’s McCormick Place East and a narrative from the architects can be seen after the break.
This project contends with the competing and overlaid desires for the site of the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago by creating a new tourist destination and scenario-planning infrastructure from the existing architecture. On the roof, a 1:25 miniature replica of Chicago is constructed. A clear mound protects the model, provides space for artificial weather equipment and creates unexpected visual connections between both Chicagos.
Within the mound, the model acts as a simulator for various future scenarios. Consequences of global warming, new construction, earthquakes, fires, asteroid impacts, tornadoes, blizzards etc. are tested repeatedly while appropriate action plans are calculated. On the exterior, the mound presents a new urban landmark along Lake Shore Drive, provides space for new lake shore activities, and redirects views through and around the existing building.
The desire and plan to secure the waterfront for public access and parkland is directly attributable to Daniel Burnham and the 1909 Chicago Plan. At the time, nature and the city were conceived as separate, complementary entities. The opportunity to get away from the city and into nature was believed to cleanse the spirit and the attempts to “aerate” the urban fabric were to let it “breath.” Nature injections within the vast artificial construction were thought to cure urban ills. This proposal updates this urban operation manual with a new unnatural natural landmark. A 1/25th scale snowglobe enhancement surgery for the city.
The story of the project is primarily told through the visitor information documents. These include maps, promotional material and merchandise catalogs. It is a National Geographic exploration of an urban nature, archeology and anthropology.