misreading the city
Type Urban design
Location Chicago IL
Design Aneesha Dharwadker
Publications Association Vol. 4 (Cornell University, 2009)
Located in downtown Chicago, this project uses James Joyce's Ulysses to interpret text and site simultaneously. It addresses the issue of literacy in prisons by hybridizing the Metropolitan Correctional Facility and the Harold Washington Public Library in the South Loop. The convergence of these two distinct programs is inspired by the novel’s narrative arc, the meeting of two diametric characters in Dublin in 1904.
Bridging the Correctional Facility and the library, the design combines an expansive floating plaza and new L station with a linear park and library annex for prisoners. Inmates and library-goers are exposed to each other through material transparency and visual connection, and in different ways, everyone is offered a new kind of intellectual "escape."
The architectural drawings are shaped by Joycean themes: simultaneous scales, multiple perspectives, grammatical subversion, and fragmented scenes. The forms and slippages in the book translate into spatial experiences, suggesting that architecture can be the product of fiction and that the modern urban condition can be constantly read and misread.