REBUILDING A BOULEVARD

REBUILDING A BOULEVARD

ILLINOIS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY + SKIDMORE, OWINGS & MERRILL

Chicago, Illinois  2012-2013

This studio proposes to use the Garfield Boulevard corridor as a platform to examine and rethink the condition of the American urban boulevard and how it can become a transformative agent for Chicago’s South Side. 

Garfield Boulevard connects and intersects a rich mix of infrastructural, developmental and natural assets including Green and Red line CTA transit stations, the 94/Dan Ryan expressway, Midway airport, The University of Chicago, Olmstead’s Washington Park, Lake Michigan, and a collection of other smaller parks and greenways that contribute into Chicago’s greater open space network. However, this corridor is also diagnostic of many of the issues prevalent in South Chicago: widespread land vacancy, outdated and deteriorating infrastructure, underutilized and underfunded public spaces and lack of a coherent vision guiding reinvestment. 

This eclectic condition presents a range of issues and opportunities for design exploration including strategic programming and infill, adaptive reuse, innovative transit solutions, and public realm enhancement. This focus is well-timed, as many concurrent initiatives are in the works to revitalize this territory: the Red line upgrading, the addition of new BRT corridors, and University of Chicago’s plans to expand west of Washington Park already underway with the creation of a new Arts Incubator.