Public Space with Character: A Late, Late Entry to the Chicago Central Public Library Competition
Chicago, civic monuments, Tribune Tower Competition, public matters, architecture
The city of Chicago has a complex relationship with the aesthetics of civic monuments and infrastructures. The cities most canonical projects validate its apparent biases - an oscillation between iconic modern and postmodern figures proliferate the urban fabric. The dynamic between these two paradigms creates a complex relationship between architecture, urban space, and the public mirroring the cities longstanding and complex history of segregated urban space and peoples. This project draws precedent from the format of the 1980 Stanley Tigerman exhibition Late entries to the Chicago Tribune Tower Competition, a then-radical competition set to reinvigorate the discipline the way the original 1922 international competition had. The format of this ‘late entry competition’ has a longstanding history in Chicago as a method of generating new theoretical forms, testing forthcoming design trends, and furthering a theoretical discourse on the cities architectural biases. The winning entries in these competitions have crafted certain legibility to the cities identity and current socio-political issues. Each iteration of the competition has focused on exploring specific formal languages and then relevant architectural or societal issues. This investigation contends to prioritize the effects of character building (through contextualism and legibility) and public space on contemporary architectural and socio-political discourse. In 1987, Chicago held a design competition for the development of the cities new central public library. The resultant project thereafter became a civic monument - reflective of the cities socio-political investments and its response to its multiplicity of histories. In 2015, Chicago architectural collaborative Design With Company would investigate the premise of the ‘late entry’ format as a critique on the public library competition, a project that mirrors the effects of the tribune tower competition. Looking to engage in a similar discourse, while engaging with present issues, this thesis proposes a contemporary late, late entry into the inaugural competition, contending that an emphasis on the development of character specificity, public interactions, and targeted experiences, rather than the deploying of historical forms and ornamentation, present a system more capable of supporting an agonistic civic platform representative of Chicago’s contemporary public matters.
Perry II, Kokeith, "Public Space with Character: A Late, Late Entry to the Chicago Central Public Library Competition" (2018). Architecture Thesis Prep. 420.
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