Big Mac Redux was presented within the Use-ReUse Adaptive Modernism Workshop held on June 7, 2014, during the opening day of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. The workshop was curated by Dean Carmella Jacoby Volk, Arch. Shelly Cohen, and Arch. Rebecca Sternberg.
This project aims to re-think the role of McCormick Place East Building in Chicago. Inspired by Mies van der Rohe, the 1971 modernist convention hall was designed by Gene Summers of C.F. Murphy Associates and sited along the lakefront in Burnham Park. Today, the building is considered by its owners, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, too small to remain viable as an exhibition hall and therefore outmoded for its original use. The question posed by the project is quite simple:
What alternate role might the building play in Chicago should it be decommissioned as a convention hall? What might you do with a million square feet of space on Chicago’s lakefront?
The project’s goal is to return McCormick Place and the land it occupies to the park, in accordance with the 1839 legislation declaring the lakefront “Public ground. Forever to remain vacant of buildings”. Summers’ architecture is preserved but the building’s function is modified to indoor park, a public terrace overlooking lake Michigan. With its massive size McCormick Place exhibits the scale of a park. The project offers a re-thinking of the relationships between outdoor and indoor, public and private and explores the architectural character of an indoor park space. The solution proposes the design of specific areas where the park’s activities take place. These “activity islands” are the only conditioned spaces during the winter and summer season and, floating in Mies’ “Universal Space”, they can adapt to different spatial configurations to suit changing requirements. In time the park and the building will host many kind of activities and programs creating a varied sequence of public spaces.
NYC Aquarium, Competition
This project aims to return the waterfront to the city proposing the design of a public aquarium and park on the East River in New York. The site is located in Queens and is connected to the city primarily through 44th Dr. The design maintains this axis as the main entrance to the site from the East and proposes a new main access from the river on the West. In addition, the project wants to strengthen New York’s resilient development of the water edge continuing the riverfront promenade from Hunter’s Point South and connecting it to the site through a bridge on the south side.
The new building develops along the north edge of the project site while a soft topography and landscape grades down to the water on the south. As a defense strategy against flooding events, the north portion is elevated 4 feet while the south area features wetlands and a natural treatment of the water edge.
The park and the building program develop linearly along the East-West axis: the two extremes of the building are public, while the private program of the aquarium develops in the center portion. Arriving from the East, the first exhibit in the aquarium, the Amazon, uses natural light; moving forward the following exhibits need controlled artificial lighting. Coming from outdoor, the visitors’ eyes slowly adapt to a darker environment. In section, the first level is devoted to public space and the aquarium, the second and third floors are used primarily for research and animal care, while the roof level is accessible from the park and provides spectacular views to the city’s skyline.
Public and private flows are separate, yet they develop together along the same axis; the flexible activities of the park will add to the fixed program of the aquarium creating a sequence of alternating public and private spaces.
Koi 2-glass set, Competition
According to an ancient Chinese legend, a koi was able to swim up a wild waterfall on the Yellow River. Its perseverance impressed the gods who transformed it into a dragon. The koi became a symbol of strength and determination.
A koi is drawn in relief on the bottom of each glass as a symbol of love and friendship. The koi becomes a functional element of the design: together two glasses form a heart.
Koi 2-glass set was designed for the competition Alessi in Love.