Following reporter Greg Hinz' journey to the bowels of Block 37 earlier this month, Crain's seized on perfect timing for an exploratory design event. An open call to architects and designers sought a creative reuse for the enormous unfinished train terminal, halted in 2008. It took just two weeks for several refined visions to roll in. Crain's recaps each proposal in detail, and we've reproduced the renderings for your amusement. At the head of the pack is a concept called "Embrace the Hubris" wherein Grant Gibson of Cames/Gibson architects proposes no prescriptive uses— just a lot of look. It's an aesthetic embrace of fiscal irresponsibility. Other highlights include an "urban logging facility" for reusing the wood of fallen city trees; an autonomous "pod car hospital" by local designers Brain Dennen and Andrew Bonesz, carving out space for the first fleet of self-piloted cars; and, a "Viper Alley" underground nightclub by Jim Lencioni and Frank Cavanaugh at Oak Park-based Aria Group Architects.
The concepts on display may seem very, very far-fetched, but it pays to remember that the station is mostly complete and connects to the Pedway. Creating flow and access isn't the biggest challenge. Crafting a plan that galvanizes public support and funding it is the real dilemma.
·What to do with the basement of Block 37 [Crain's]
·Awesome Excavations [Curbed Chicago]