A celebration of the "unlikely city."


Chicago Lakefront Pavilion


Chicago Architecture Biennale


Joshua Comaroff, Chen Shunann


For many, Chicago will always be something of a magical place. A large part of this appeal may be its sheer unlikeliness—an impossible elegance in the teeth of impossible climate and geography. Despite the delicacy and sophistication of its buildings, one gets the sense that it probably should not be there at all. And with this, there is a genuine, local form madness: a habit of making only the hugest, unlikeliest plans.

This project celebrates those dear Chicagoan qualities: the toughness and the grandiloquence, as well as the Midwestern ability to be casual and exuberant at the same time. It is a tiny object that progresses from a block of ice to a house on the prairie, as the seasons change and the city moves from hibernation to expansiveness. It was designed to hold a simple program, a kiosk for guiding visitors to the first Chicago Architecture Biennale. Of 420 entries, it was one of the four finalists. In the last instance, we lost to another project of great quality. 

All images by Lekker