Position: Urban Design Research and Studio Assistant
Assistant Professor Marshall Brown in the College of Architecture will be working on an urban design and redevelopment proposal for the Chicago Circle Interchange this summer. He is looking for upper level architecture students with exceptional studio skills including model making, 2d and 3d CAD, and graphic design. Applicants must be eligible for Summer Support for Undergraduate Research for Students from Underrepresented Groups or Summer Support for International Students.
2009 was the year of two landmark events for Chicago: The 100th anniversary of Burnham and Bennett’s Plan of Chicago, and Barack Obama’s election as President of the United States. With such a historical convergence in mind, this speculative architectural and urban design project will envision the center of Chicago as a center of the world – what the sociologist Saskia Sassen has called a spatial moment of power.
The site for the project is the Chicago Circle Interchange. The Circle is a large highway interchange located in the center of Chicago, on the western edge of the downtown Loop. This site was the proposed, but unrealized core of Daniel Burnham’s 1909 plan, which was to be a new Civic Center for Chicago. Instead of a monumental urban center, it became the third most congested traffic interchange in the U.S. and responsible for the loss of 25 million driving hours per year.
Chicago’s central business district has expanded beyond the Loop in the past two decades, to the north, south, and west. In that time, the Circle has become an increasingly noticeable void surrounded by urban density and massive transportation infrastructure including two highways, the CTA transit blue line, an interstate bus station, and the Union Rail Station. Thus the possibilities for redevelopment are potentially limitless, and the project will be structured as a scenario planning exercise in which multiple narratives will be explored for the future of the site.
In conjunction with the design itself, my interest will be to further experiment with hybrid and mash-up representational techniques that have been developing in my work for the past ten years. In lieu of conventional architectural drawings, the products of the project will be mixed media: large collaged models, photomontages, digital animations, and augmented reality. Thus in the great tradition of speculative architectural proposals – Mies’ Friedrechstrasse Skyscraper, Leonidov’s Lenin Institute, Burnham’s Civic Center – the goal will be to reaffirm the highest ambitions of architecture as a forward looking practice enabled by the creation of visionary images and artifacts.
Duration (weeks): 5
Department: Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering
Contact: Marshall Brown
Additional Requirements: A portfolio of studio and/or professional work is required for application.