This field trip to Chicago was a precedent study for mixed used projects (residential, commercial, etc.) and incorporating parking structures. This year, our senior project is to design a project with these components, and Chicago has countless opportunities for learning. Throughout the trip we walked 11 miles around the city and visited parking structure after parking structure, as well as mixed used buildings and a couple of Whole Foods buildings.
I quickly fell in love with the projects and environment around Lakeshore East. It has major components of what my architecture dreams are made of, and, though I find it incredibly intimidating, I hope to one day be a part of a project of similar impact and magnitude.
Aqua at Lakeshore East Chicago is one of my favorite projects in the city. Not least because it was designed by Studio Gang, a firm led by Jeanne Gang and one of my dream places to work (more about my take on women in architecture to come). I am intrigued by the combination of architecture and urban design that surrounds this project. Though I didn’t go inside, I was captivated by the use of materials and colors of the facades.
These residential spaces below the Aqua tower have direct access to the Park designed the Office of James Burnett. A wonderful space that combines open green spaces, with water features, and perfectly landscaped opportunities for sitting and walking around. As I experience the park, it’s hard to believe how close it is to the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago.
In this environment there is a sense of safety, and a sense of community as joggers pass by and others stroll around walking their dogs. Though Chicago is a large city, this is a fascinating example of a place that feels peaceful an sheltered.
This year, my project will be tiny in comparison to the projects around Lakeshore East. However, I hope that in my own way I can achieve a similar sense of shielded rest from the agitation of daily life.