Network Reset: Rethinking the Chicago Emerald Necklace is an international competition organized by MAS Studio & Chicago Architectural Club that seeks to provide ideas and actions that can reactivate the Boulevard System of Chicago and rethink its potential role in the city.
Read on for winners and more on the competition.
“Emerald Necklace”, established in reference to the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, is composed by a series of streets and parks, some of them designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and William Le Baron Jenney. Today, this underutilized and underfunded area is a site for fresh ideas on a vision of Chicago. It questions the use of open space, whether for transportation, recreation, active or passive programs and a potential visual identity for the city as an economic or social catalyst. The following projects have been selected as the winners of the competition:
First Prize: Chicago Constellation – Kees Lokman, Fadi Masoud and Conor O’Shea
The Chicago Constellation proposed by Kees Lokman, Fadi Masoud and Conor O’Shea is a system of canals, railways and manufacturing zones that integrates various functions and programs already existing in the city. It is a strategy that is to develop over time, taking into account ecology, recreation, infrastructure and development. It is achieved by reappropriating abandoned industrial property and using it to become the connective infrastructural framework of the city. This proposal is understood as a gradient rather than singular linear spaces. The possibilities for such integration are numerous and allow for flexibility as urban forces continue to alter Chicago’s economic and social identity.
Second Prize: (in)voluntary prisoners of climate change – Aptum Architecture
(in)voluntary prisoners of climate change by Aptum Architecture addresses the ubiquitous issues of climate change as they pertain to the local conditions of a city and its population. Their two-fold strategy is to reorganize the existing ground to enhance spatial, ecological and programmatic performance as well as the creation of an urban canpoy that detains and cleanses storm-water runoff, provides critical habitats for displaced species and offers programmatic and experiential qualities of public space for residents. The existing infrastructure of Chicago’s identity, such as its boulevards which have been taken over by urban development are being retooled for environmental performance as part of the strategy. Climate changes, such as an increase of precipitation, is addressed with the development of bio-swales and detention basins that capture storm water before it causes raw sewage to overflow into Lake Michigan. The synthetic landscape created by the urban canopy creates a hovering landscape through a cut and fill process that makes use of the urban figure and reinforces the boulevards once prominent in Chicago.
Third Prize: The Ring Line – Timothy Bacheller, Charlotte Page and Christopher Phillips
The Ring Line by Timothy Bacheller, Charlotte Page and Christopher Phillips is an infrastructural stretegy that reconnects Chicago and unifies a system along which recreational, commercial and community programs can relate to one another. In three phases: Unified System, Connection, and Growth. Each stop along the streetcar is an enlarged plaza with pavilions located half a mile apart. It establishes adaptive reuse of vacant industrial buildings for the activities proposed such as a community greenhouse, outdoor theater. The various programs promote an active and social lifestyle that invites people to participate.
Figure that – Jenna Wolf and Lyndsay Pepple
Figure that by Jenna Wolf and Lyndsay Pepple establishes the deconstruction of the figural aspect of the Emerald Necklace. It proposes an internalization of the programs to tone down the figural and enhance the programmatic aspects of mixing and connecting various functions within one area. It pushes the divisions between private and public by invading private programs and challenging the American urban typologies with spatial complexities that reveal life within.
Narcissus Echo-City – BXLMRS Antoine Chaudemanche, Lionel Bousquet, El Hadi Ketumem and Lessi Stoird
Narcissus Echo-City by BXLMRS: Antoine Chaudemanche, Lionel Bousquet, El Hadi Ketumem and Lessi Stoird proposes a collection of evenly spaces white boards and stainless steel mirrors that are ten feet by ten feet. The boards face the street and create impressions of the external urban factors outside of the Emerald Necklace.
The Emerald Necklace Scenic Circuit – Jennifer Birkeland, Nancy Kim and Kerry Rutz
The Emerald Necklace Scenic Circuit by Jennifer Birkeland, Nancy Kim and Kerry Rutz is an infrastructural strategy that enhancing and adds to bus routes, bike lanes and pedestrian walkways. The proposal also accounts for the social programs and festivals that are part of Chicago’s heritage and integrates it into the redevelopment of the connections through the city. Each street typology is treated individually and specfically to address the varied urban landscape.
system reset renewal connect – Sharon Mackay, Tom Lenigas, Chris Yandle, Catherine Smith, and Jason Cuff
system reset renewal connect by Sharon Mackay, Tom Lenigas, Chris Yandle, Catherine Smith, and Jason Cuff proposes a city that is a pixelation of urban and agricultural spaces where city life and farm life can be hybridized and cross-polinated to create a sustainable and livable future where produce and manufactured goods are in the same area. The proposal establishes rich hubs of community activity between gardens and boulevards it encompasses the areas that have become inactive.
MetaBoulevard by Noa Peer, Flore Raimbault and Clélie Protière uses the existing boulevards of Chicago to open barriers, initiate commonweath, absorb influences, engage the Necklace, reactivate the boulevards and reinforce a green archipelago. Today the boulevards, which were once established as connections, have become barriers between neighborhoods and are now underutlizied and oversized. The 3Speeds Transportation strategy will create a specificity of spaces for Chicago giving the communities individualization through connectivity. The promenade proposed can be utilized for farmer’s markets, fairs, tree houses, bars, watchtowers, green houses or be open areas for passive and spontaneous activity.