Austin and West Garfield Park is bisected by several unbroken industrial blocks almost five football fields in length and nearly three times the width of a typical Chicago block. This scar weakens pedestrian activity and divides people from goods and services, and from each other. The rail line, too, is a physical barrier with infrequent crossing points.
Any potential solution must provide places for people to be, to learn, to feel safe and to enjoy community. To address the divide, the design focuses on unused spaces around the elevated rail along Division, between Cicero and Kolmar.
The proposed intervention houses a Chicago Public Library branch, a data center, job training, after-school programs, live-work housing, and retail. These diverse uses would ensure activity and safety around the clock. Combining facilities gives those in need of job training the ability to save time during their day and creates equitable access and opportunities.
Ward 37 Alderman Emma Mitts has said that, “the lack of jobs and resources for young people breeds a host of negative consequences from which many urban neighborhoods and it difficult to recover.” By injecting nature and programs into the heart of this industrial legacy, the Ward can become resurgent and begin healing its communities.
Created by a project team from Legat Architects for an exhibition at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, hosted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Between States was created by designers Loren Johnson and Justin Banda, with assistance from Evan Menk, Vuk Vujovic, and Ted Haug. The project hung on display at the Chicago Architecture Foundation from September 2017 through March 2018. The online exhibition can be viewed in full below.http://www.architecture.org/experience-caf/exhibitions/exhibit/between-states50-designers-transform-...