CENTER FOR ARCHITECTURE, DESIGN, AND EDUCATION
Location Chicago IL
Design Aneesha Dharwadker, Brett Horin, Michael Prince, Noel Turgeon, Erica Wannemacher, and Mekael Wesley-Rosa
This proposal responds to a competition prompt to house the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), Center for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), and a new arts high school in a downtown Chicago site, assuming the solution is a high-rise. However, a building designed to accommodate these programs should be a reflection of the diversity of Chicago design and its commitment to public open space. A vertical typology alone is inadequate.
We choose to expand the site to the west, opening up a confined intersection and giving us room to develop public space at ground level. Although Chicago is famous for its high-rise innovation, it is also strongly defined by urban horizontals: plazas, parks, rail lines, the river, and the lake. We take advantage of this unique history of civic-minded design to propose a project that is both architecturally and urbanistically significant.
The CADE assembles downtown Chicago’s fundamental urban components—plaza, podium, and tower—and organizes them in relation to the city’s great engineered frameworks of rail and water. The building itself seeks to be an educational device, exposing building materials and structure for public display. The high school and after school learning spaces are stacked vertically, with strong horizontal connections between programs that foster both technological innovation and intrapersonal collaboration.
We dissociate 21st-century design in Chicago from the subjective and problematic notion of “architectural character,” and instead celebrate the fundamental spatial elements that shape its urban environment. We believe that aesthetics are performative, and that architecture and urbanism are inseparable.