Archinect
Nicolas MJ Lee

Nicolas MJ Lee

New York, NY, US

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Frontal View
Frontal View
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Soft in the Middle: The Collaborative Core

Project was selected as a Winner of the ChiDesign Center for Architecture, Design and Education competition organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation in October 2015. The competition jury featured Stanley Tigerman, David Adjaye, Monica Ponce de Leon, Billie Tsien and Ned Cramer. The project is currently exhibited at the Chicago Architecture Biennale, and will be on display until January 2016.

Intro

Chicago has long been known as the birthplace of the skyscraper. Since his arrival in Chicago in 1937, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe became the leading figure in the Second Chicago School, the City which would become his architectural playground. The clarity and ethos of his work harmonized with the city’s architectural past and trajectory. For Mies, “Less is More” suggested less about miminalism than it did about the architectural legibility of his projects. The repetitive, and to some, mundane qualities of his work bring its platonic aspects to life; the plane of the city (the plinth), the dissolution of footprint (the glass lobby), and vertical movement (consolidated core as a centerpiece).

As contemporary space and the public realm become increasingly fluid, we propose the radical re-a rrangement of these elements that have so defined the figure-ground of chicago’s downtown. We propose the typical hard, consolidated core to be replaced with a a soft one: an extension of the plinth where the core no longer resists the continuous plane of the city, but rather inhales public activity, bringing a new life to Mies dissolved public boundary which before only appeared in plan. The Marble clad cores that defined Mies’ iconic works defined weak sectional relationships between floors. The Collaborative core is the logical extension of Mies’ “universal space” which was never fully resolved in his towers or in his beloved playground (Chicago).

 

Program Concept


The building is built up of three major volumes: The lower volume houses the headquarters of the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) and Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH); the middle volume houses the Out-of-School-Time Youth Program; and the top volume houses the Design and Allied Arts High School. Within these volumes, spaces with specific requirements such as offices, workspaces, studios and classrooms are situated in the perimeter of the building. All the public spaces, including the exhibition hall, the Chicago City model, informal meeting areas, libraries, cafes, gymnasium, performance spaces and presentation zones are situated within the “Collaborative Core” and can be shared among organizations. The system of program distribution allows for the autonomy and individual identity of each organization, yet at the same time, instigating encounters and exchange of ideas between users. Furthermore, this also allows for flexibility in building operation, where different sections of the building could be open or closed to the public at different times.

 
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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Chicago, IL
My Role: Designer
Additional Credits: In collaboration with Yewon Ji and Ryan Otterson as Atelier2B

 
Concept Diagram
Concept Diagram
Axonometric
Axonometric
Headquarters of the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) and Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)
Headquarters of the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) and Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)
Design and Allied Arts High School
Design and Allied Arts High School
Out-of-School-Time Youth Program
Out-of-School-Time Youth Program
View from the L Train
View from the L Train