Special thanks for Adam Goss from Spirit of Space for sharing this great clip of Harvard GSD “Waterline” studio led by Phil Enquist of SOM. When ArchDaily visited Chicago, our team had the chance to interview Enquist and gain some insight to his urban design and planning strategies, especially, the Beijing Central Business District and his Vision for the Great Lakes. This latest studio is a collaborative think tank of architecture, planning and landscape architecture students analyzing the Chicago River as a way to capitalize its potential to serve as a recreation, education, and transportation component of the city. Currently, the river is neglected and its presence is often ignored; yet, the students of Harvard are attempting to “rethink what the River means to the City” by questioning the existing relationships between River and City, and the public’s persepective and awareness of the river. Enquist’s multidisciplinary team is working to understand the issues of the river at large and by developing a larger, zoomed out, framework, smaller interventions can truly fuse to become a cohesive citywide system. We enjoyed listening to the students and seeing their passion for the river and its potential for Chicago, and we hope you enjoy the video, as well. Let us know what you think about the studio in the comments below.
I have visited SOM before, to interview Craig Hartman at the San Francisco office, but Chicago was were it all started back in 1936 with Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings, and John O. Merrill who joined in 1939.
This time I interviewed Philip Enquist (FAIA), the partner in charge of urban design and planning. Philip has been involved in development and redevelopment initiatives for college campuses, existing city neighborhoods, new cities, rural districts, downtown commercial centers, port areas and even in a master-plan for the entire nation of Bahrain.
It was amazing to hear from him on different processes that have been shaping the most important cities in the world, such as Beijing’s Central Business District or the master plan for the Millenium Park. But I was also surprised about a project we presented to you earlier, the vision for the Great Lakes area, a project that shows a lot of responsibility as an architect and an example that we still have a very important role in our society.
After the break, the usual questions a bonus with what’s a good city, and some photos of the office.
This past July Philip Enquist of SOM spoke to the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota as a part of TEDxTalks Mill City series. His focus was to raise awareness and also challenge the Great Lake and St. Lawrence watershed residents to “imagine there are no borders”. This video hits close to home, as I grew up in the Great Lakes watershed region. His lecture is informative and revealing of the responsibility there is to utilize and protect this great resource of the United States.
At the end of the video you find yourself wondering why haven’t we already created a plan for the Great Lakes region. Possibly the size of this region or the international boarder running through it has failed to put it on many people’s radar screens. Either way Enquist lays out an achievable ten point plan (overview after the break) to focus on where this 100 year vision could be a global example of human balance with nature, beyond two nations.
Following Enquist’s lecture the mayors of the Great Lake and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative voted to approve a regional sustainability program.