Chicago Lakefront Pavilion
This project strives to create a new interface between humans and water by exploring the reciprocal relationships of material, form, activities, and environment. Water is used as design inspiration. It's a mediator between humans and environment. It serves as an essential building material in the project. In combination with foam, the water/foam hybrid is used to create a new type of kiosk that responds to the changing of time, season, environment, and human activities. It provides an alternative way for people to interact with water; and it allows the public to gain a deeper understanding of water not as a static material but as a dynamic element that transforms constantly responding to the external world.
Water is a basic element of our world, in addition to air, fire, and earth. It covers 71% of the Earth's surface, and appears in all three common states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. The lifecycle of water has a huge impact on the world's ecological system, and it defines the environment we are living in. This project uses water as design inspiration and as a mediator between humans and the environment. Water is used as an essential part of the building materials. In combination with foam, the water/foam hybrid is used to create a new type of kiosk that responds to the changing of time, season, environment, and human activities. It provides an alternative way for people to interact with water, and it allows the public to gain a deeper understanding of water not as a static material but as a dynamic element that transforms constantly responding to the external environment.
Chicago is a city of water. Water is permeated into the daily life of Chicago, in the form of lake, river, rain, fog, cloud, ice, and snow. It affects Chicago's architecture, infrastructure, art, and the lives of people. The Lakefront is one of the major edges between human and the water. This project acts as a new interface to reinterpret the relation of human and water.
This kiosk is built with PVA foam. It acts as a carrier of water and serves as a mediator between water and the human body. PVA is a flexible, non-toxic, durable, UV-resistant foam that has a high water absorption and retention ability. It is soft and flexible when
it's wet, hard, and rigid when it's dry. And depends on the different material conditions, it provides different ways of interaction with the public and external environment. Such material property generates complex and dynamic relationships between the kiosk, people, and the environment.
The project begins by researching the intrinsic values of water and foam, and by analyzing the properties of water/foam hybrid. The studies are fed to digital models to simulate the transformation and deformation of the material gestalt. The overall form of the kiosk is generated based on the commercial transaction and the human body's interaction with water. It borrows the existing lakefront kiosk typology, and it is distorted to create surfaces for human interventions. The final form of the kiosk is emerged out of the forces generated by human bodies. It also represents the fluidity and amorphousness of water.
During the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the kiosk will serve as a community center at Millennium Park. It contains a series of urban furniture that acts as an extension of the kiosk which helps to gather people together. And after it is moved to the lakefront, besides the function of a commercial vendor, the kiosk will also act as a water stage for the public to perform various activities such as playing with water, socializing, resting, people watching, sun tanning, etc. It is a magnet that bonds people and water together, transforms the lakefront into an urban playground.