Although the jurors endorsed the idea, the exact mechanics of Filter Park eluded them. Schlossberg said, “We don’t know how it filters the air or how cars get up there. But we like it.” The proposal is by New York-based Leven Betts Studio for “Stop Go, Chicago Portal Project,” a 2003 competition to design a 1,000-car parking structure on a site that includes a portion of the Kennedy Expressway, just west of Chicago’s downtown. Consisting of two thin, rectilinear parking structures separated by a garden for pedestrians and cyclists, the concept proposes a greener, more community-friendly parking garage. Glass walls bring light to the inner garden and allow drivers to check the availability of parking spaces from the road. Additional amenities include a bus and taxi terminal, bike rental shop, tourist information booth, newsstand, roof garden, and cafe. Photovoltaic panels collect energy to illuminate the park at night, while a system of fans, filters, and vents cleans the air of carbon monoxide. The jurors liked that the project recognizes how design must answer to many different needs: space for cars, clean air, public amenities, access across the expressway, and minimal use of energy.
Leven Betts Studio, New York: David Leven, Stella Betts, principals; Matthew Corssover, Jorge Fontan, Marlon Cruz, project team
Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Form-Z, VectorWorks
Jurors found a simple pleasure in the random, unscripted quality of Perigee Design’s plan for a public plaza composed of illuminated tiles. The pressure-sensitive glass-and-steel tiles are embedded with LEDs and outfitted with sensors. Pedestrian footsteps trigger the lights in an improvisational sequence; the tiles are aglow instantaneously, then fade gradually over seven seconds. The designers compare the effect to a ship’s wake as it travels through luminescent algae. That the project was a response to the decaying public spirit in many urban areas elicited the jurors’ endorsement as well. “It’s sort of poetic,” said Schlossberg. “Some people would be conscious of it, others not,” said Robbins. “I could see watching it from the air…you could track people. And it reverses notions of participant and spectator.” For Abrams, WAKE scored on form but not function. “It has a lot of elegance for something that does nothing,” she said.
Perigee Design, Philadelphia: Mitch Mednick, principal; Jesse Dougherty, consultant
Stainless-steel support lattice; glass-and-steel tiles, each with a pressure-sensitive switch and modular, super-bright SMT-LED units from Osram
Adobe Photoshop, Studio Max 3D