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01 | projets

SEA OF HOLES

06.13.10

Concours d’idées “Mine the gap”

collaboration avec ROBOTA

Chicago, USA | 2010

SEA OF HOLES

In Chicago, yet another real-estate megalo-vision falls victim to the “crisis” and leaves behind nothing but a hole in the ground. But this hole is not alone. All over the world, the collection of cancelled projects is growing larger week. Architectural history itself consists widely of “holes”, virtual buildings that never saw the light of day but remain just as real in our collective imagination as the most famous of built projects.

What are architects to do when their status as international purveyors of world wonders is fading away like Dubai pipe dreams? Maybe this is a time to reminisce about when urban and architectural visions were coming from architects and not developers. A time when architects saw themselves as leaders in society rather than mere providers of aesthetic services. Nowadays the architect has been pushed back into a passive role, the flows of money and power on which he was surfing finally submerging him, leaving him an observer of a system over which he has no control. He is an observer of holes.

Today’s holes are just as interchangeable as the generic skyscrapers that are being built in Chicago, London, Beijing or Dubai. This is why we do not consider this hole to be most pressing issue on this particular location.

What is really at stake here is the question of the urban scale within architecture. The fragmentation of urban space into individual private lots has pushed the scale of architecture projects to absurd heights while totally avoiding urban issues of connection, mobility and accessibility of public space.

This proposal sees in the void the opportunity to create a new continuity of public space along Chicago’s waterfront, creating a kaleidoscopic network of paths and public programs. It is a collage of great unbuilt projects from the past. A place where future generations of architects / observers will go to be reminded of the power of architectural vision and its impact on the public realm.

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