Chicago, Illinois  2011

Philip Enquist of SOM led this ambitious design studio at the Harvard GSD where a fervent group of architecture, urban design, urban planning, and landscape architecture students confronted the underutilized and underappreciated South Branch of the Chicago River. Together, with determined collaboration, the students were rethinking what the River means to the City, questioning and dissecting this twofold urban relationship.

Under Enquist’s guidance, the studio seamlessly merged ideas from urban planning, architecture, and landscape architecture, while they attempted to generate thoughtful design solutions. Working both collectively and individually, the students eagerly analyzed and eventually enhanced how this aqueous artery defines the city of Chicago.

Illustrating both the energy and power found in the academic design studio, this film series demonstrates why it is essential to document, distribute, and preserve the inspiring ideas that are generated through the imaginative realism inherent to the design education. Provocative ideas spark meaningful conversation, and these short films encourage the scholarly discourse to continue well beyond the final critique.