The Biennial Lakefront Kiosk Competition

by Stanley Collyer

ultramoderne image01
Winning entry by Ultramoderne

  Ki-osk: 1. in Turkey and Persia an open pavilion; 2. a building of similar construction such as a newsstand, etc. What is a Biennial with architecture as the central theme without a competition?

The Chicago Biennial not only has invited a number of high profile architects from around the world to participate in various events stretching over several months, but looked for a suitable theme and site to showcase what modern architecture is all about. They settled on a Kiosk Competition on the city’s lakeshore next to Millennium Park, a high traffic area in all but the winter months. There are to be four kiosks—one to be the result of the competition—and all are to be permanent structures. It is no surprise that scores of kiosks are already commonplace on Chicago’s lakeshore, taking advantage of the streams of summer visitors who are drawn to the shore of Lake Michigan. Overseen by the Chicago Park District, over forty kiosks punctuate the shoreline, which during the summer offer food, retail, and recreational services—ranging from beverages to clothing to surf rentals.

 

 

The shoreline of Lake Michigan has always played a central role in Chicago’s urban identity. During the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, architect Daniel Burnham sought to incorporate the lake into the fairgrounds, and his 1909 Plan for Chicago proposed to reclaim the entire length of the lakefront as a place of leisure for all inhabitants of the city—an idea realized during the 20th century. Today, the lakefront is a celebrated and heavily used public space that is a major destination for both visitors and local residents. It features over twenty miles of public parks and beaches, as well as pedestrian and cycling routes.

 

The Competition

Organized in partnership with the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago, The Lakefront Kiosk Competition issued a call for an inventive design of a new kiosk to be installed on the lakefront. The competition attracted wide interest, both domestically and internationally: 421 entries were received from 40 countries. The winning competition entry and the three commissioned kiosks are to be displayed in Millennium Park during the Chicago Architecture Biennial (October 2015 – January 2016). Instalation of all four kiosks on the lakefront is scheduled for the spring of 2016.

 

The competition’s announced winner, Ultramoderne, received the BP Prize, which includes a $10,000 honorarium and a $75,000 budget to realize the design.

 

The competition jury was comprised of:

David Adjaye, Adjaye Associates, London, U.K. Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang Architects, Chicago Joseph Grima, Chicago Architecture Biennial Sarah Herda, Chicago Architecture Biennial Sharon Johnston, Johnston Marklee and Associates, Los Angeles Michael J. O’Brien, BP, Chicago Rob Rejman, Chicago Park District

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