Re-thinking development of urban infill gaps
With suspension of work on the Chicago Spire, Lakeshore Drive's new icon to be, the only remains a hole, the Chicago Architectural Club postulated that "the bursting of the real estate bubble has left many architects without work, and a number of building sites within the city sit incomplete or abandoned. Yet there is opportunity in this collapse. Despite the apparent desperation of the moment, we detect a newfound freedom for architects to speculate, to propose, to instigate and to agitate for a different city..." ; "to explore new idioms for site development in Chicago and perhaps other urban areas - a solution not merely for this site, but one with some applicability to other sites in similar predicament."
Mixed use vertical solar
PROPOSAL FOR CHIGAGO, IL, USA: a new approach to sustainable design for urban mixed use. The Chicago Solar Spiral proposal responds to this challenge with a new architectural idiom for sustainable design, a concept for urban infill sites with vertical southern exposure - integrating substantial clean, quiet, low cost solar power generation with public or commercial mixed-use. For this particular site, more than a Megawatt of power is available from 5000+ solar panels. The Solar Spiral is both power plant and community facility with performance, conference and exhibition space. On other sites, configurations might include residential and commercial, each with its unique PV clad skyline sculpture - mixing community, commercial and private use with non-invasive power production, a uniquely urban solution.
The Solar Spiral emerges from the existing 86ft diameter excavation with power plant control and mechanicals on the lowest sublevels. Community auditorium and conference rooms situated on Sublevel 1 open to the ground floor with an overlooking street level gallery. Exhibition, conference and reception space occupy the street level, from which the Solar Spiral wraps around the auditorium gallery. The spiral's south facing skin integrates frameless PV solar panels, half of the total array. Its Spiral Walk ramp offers fabulous city and lake views from glassed-in lookouts, also accessible by elevator. A street level solar field screens convenient onsite parking from the overlooking neighborhood towers. The low profile community facility, street level view corridor under Lake Shore Drive, roof garden and significant daylight portals, combine non-invasive power production with sustainable and neighbor-friendly design. The sustainability features include both a skin that harvests solar energy and fenestration oriented for daylight without heat and glare.
Status: Competition Entry
Location: Chicago, IL, US