The big news over the weekend was the announcement of the winner of the Chicago Architectural Club's 2008 Burnham Prize competition, Union Station 2020: A Crossroads for the High Speed Rail City, which solicited ideas of how architecture can support the creation of an inter-city high-speed rail network in the greater Chicago area. The first prize team of Michael Cady, Elba Gil, David Lillie, and Andres Montana, which Blair Kamin reports is made up of employees of the Chicago office of Thompson Ventulett Stainback & Associates ,will receive $10,000 for their proposal for a modern reimagining of the lost great concourse of Union Station which would link the high-speed trains to water taxi's along the Chicago river - and require the demolition of the 35-story 222 S. Riverside currently on the site. You can see a rendering of the proposal on this post on Blair Kamin's Skyline blog.
A selection from the over 75 entries to the competition are on display at the Chicago History Museum as part of the exhibition, Burnham 2:0: A Patchwork Plan for the High-Speed Rail City, which runs through next April 26th. (Find it in KMPG Snyder gallery - enter the Chicago: Crossroads of the America Exhibition on the 2nd floor, head past the "L" car, find the Pioneer locomotive and hang left.) I had a chance to visit the exhibition this weekend, and I'll be writing more about it soon.
The CAC is promising it will post images of the competition winners to its website. Let's hope they'll be of the entire entry board, that they won't be pdf's, and that they'll be legible. It often seems as if posting competition boards to the web in a complete and readable form is considered an insurmountable challenge, but lest anyone think it's rocket science, check out the winners page of the Lifecycle Building Challenge competition website. It's not perfect - one of the jpg's is actually almost 6MB (!) - but you'll find a fully readable, zoomable jpg of the board for every winning entry.
tran/spot: Transient Awareness Center, a proposal created out of the HOK Intern Program at UIC with the participation of students from Washington University, the HSD, Kansas State and IIT's Chris Housley, won recognition in the Student/Innovation category. The focus of the exhibition, sponsored by the U.S. EPA, was on ideas to reduce the huge amount of waste materials created by traditional construction processes, a major environmental goal. tran/spot proposes "a modular structure that is assembled in empty lots to provide information to the local residents . . . but always returning downtown to represent the neighborhoods it has visited in its travels."
The intial circuit for the structure would be from Pilsen, to Wicker Park, and back to Pritzker Park, that abject, (oxymoron alert) gated open space across from the Harold Washington Library at State and Van Buren. At each location the structure would connect to a CTA line - Pink, Blue, and, at the Library Stop, Motley - and center a small plaza that would be "gathering area for movies, presentations, lectures, rallies, protects, or anything else the community requires or desires" and would "allow blighted neighborhoods access to vital information that in the past hindered their opportunities and involvement." The side of the structure away from the "L" would function "as a community display board, or learning center (exhibiting) job openings, events, community news and other information." Just as the structure when returned to the Loop would retain memories of the neighborhoods where it had journeyed, the foundation for the structure and, it is hoped, a continuing gathering place for community cultural exchange, would remain at each locale .
You can see the entire winning board here.