Edgewater, located on the far Northside, is one of the many Chicago neighbourhoods losing population.
To revitalize this community, we propose a new kind of beach urbanism, merging dune ecology with the city fabric, opening access to the lakefront and creating a new waterfront lifestyle along Lake Michigan.
Major public destinations (market hall, dune haus and the beach) are stitched together by a market street and dune walk, giving residents and visitors an iconic walk-able connection from the water’s edge to their destinations.
New infill development focuses on three mixed-use typologies: high-rise towers, mid-rise housing, and a dune haus. Inverting the typical Chicago condition, high rises set back from the water’s edge to take advantage of transit, while the mid and low-rise development steps down to the water – opening up Edgewater to the Lake.
The architecture of district reinforces the beach lifestyle. Shaping of the towers and mid-rises are inspired by boat construction, with sweeping forms that distinguish and attract. Buildings are lifted and pulled off the ground to allow the dune landscape to roll through at grade – residents can walk from the water to their units in bare feet.
The tower uses a self-shading facade system with a diagrid pattern – nested within each unit has its own private sand-balcony to allow for year-round use. The tower also caters to many different lifestyles with five different units types supporting students, seniors or families.
The nostalgic atmosphere of our drawings attempt to conjure memories of Edgewater back when it was at its peak population. The colours, composition, and 1950’s entourage are used to give a sense of a vintage beach postcard – but reimagined for the 21st century.
We envision a super populated Edgewater to be both dense and diverse. It will become a new destination for Chicago by bringing distinctive community life back to the area and transforming its relationship with Lake Michigan.