Monday, December 6, 2010

Inhabiting Public Spaces: The Pink Shell

This project part of a graduate interior design theory class called Design & Society.  We were to create a design for a public space that would affect how people would interact or use the space.  We also had to use the "manifesto" we had developed in a previous theory class or use the manifesto of another designer/architect.



Lincoln Park is a major public space stretching along the lakefront of northern Chicago.  It is a place for Chicagoans to meet, exercise, and play.  There are multiple structures within the park.  Some of them, such as the Chess Pavilion and the Totem Pole, have become iconic landmarks that serve as meeting places for clubs and groups.  However, the northern end of the park does not have such a landmark.  I propose to implement a new pavilion near the north end of the lakefront path.

Noting that many of the popular Lincoln Park pavilions are located near turns, I selected a site near a fork in the path.  The site is near the Bryn Mawr underpass and the Hollywood Beach.  While this is a popular area to meet before running or playing volleyball, this is no distinctive landmark to serve as a meeting place.  I wanted to create a gathering place that is highly visible from the path, inviting for congregation, and easily “namable.”  After exploring a variety of shapes, I chose a shell as an easily recognizable shape that would allude to the beach.  Lake Michigan, as fresh water body, does not contain crustaceans that would produce typical seashells, but it is home to a variety of snails with helical shells.  I selected a pink hue as reference to the Edgewater Beach Apartments, which are prominent in the northern Chicago skyline, as well as the popularity of Hollywood Beach with the gay community during the summer.  I expect that the pavilion will serve not only as a visible meeting place for people before heading off for other activities, but also as a place for locals to “hang out” in the park.



The process of my design was shaped by my Bohemian Manifesto, design informed by Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love.  As I essentially served as my own client for this project, I took Beauty and Love to be a design of a pavilion that I found aesthetically pleasing and would be a space that I would thoroughly enjoy using.  Freedom meant that I would not feel bound to the style or aesthetic of the other pavilions and landmarks in the park.  The hardest for me was Truth, maintaining integrity to my original design intent.  I had explored multiple shapes, a few of which I was much more excited about from an aesthetic standpoint.  However, Truth insisted that I remain faithful to the idea that my pavilion should inspire people to say: “Meet me at the….”

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