MUD Studio, Spring 2011: UrbanLab

  • Work by Jonathan Stitelman for MUD studio taught by UrbanLab, Spring 2011.
    Work by Jonathan Stitelman for MUD studio taught by UrbanLab, Spring 2011.
  • Work by Jonathan Stitelman for MUD studio taught by UrbanLab, Spring 2011.
    Work by Jonathan Stitelman for MUD studio taught by UrbanLab, Spring 2011.
  • Work by Jonathan Stitelman for MUD studio taught by UrbanLab, Spring 2011.
    Work by Jonathan Stitelman for MUD studio taught by UrbanLab, Spring 2011.
  • Work by Courtney Cushard for MUD studio taught by UrbanLab, Spring 2011.
    Work by Courtney Cushard for MUD studio taught by UrbanLab, Spring 2011.
  • Work by Rachel Simpson for MUD studio taught by UrbanLab, Spring 2011.
    Work by Rachel Simpson for MUD studio taught by UrbanLab, Spring 2011.
  • Work by Jonathan Stitelman for MUD studio taught by UrbanLab, Spring 2011.
    Work by Jonathan Stitelman for MUD studio taught by UrbanLab, Spring 2011.

MUD Studio, Spring 2011
Dam: Urban-scale Architecture

UrbanLab – Sarah Dunn, Visiting Professor
UrbanLab – Martin Felsen, Visiting Professor

In 1899, the Chicago River was reversed in a herculean act of design and engineering that connected the Chicago River through a series of canals and channels to the Mississippi River. The legacy of that decision is that the Mississippi, Illinois, and Chicago Rivers have become prime pathways for invasive species. Specifically, Asian carp are swimming up the rivers toward the Lake Michigan shoreline. If the carp enter the Great Lakes, they could devastate its fragile ecosystem and the $7 billion fishing industry. Therefore, the City of Chicago is determining ways to reconstruct the barrier (once natural) between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi basins that reversing the Chicago River destroyed so long ago.

Each student designs a BUILDING and LANDSCAPE to function as this infrastructural barrier. The primary program is double: a dam (as an ecological separator) and a new Great Lakes Board of Trade (as a private and public program).

This studio addresses the issue of contemporary public space and public natural resources through the twinning of infrastructure and a complex program on a dense urban site. It assumes opportunities for design invention emerge through the solicitation of varied constraints: In this case, the interdependent (natural and artificial) systems that characterize the Midwestern metropolitan context, a challenging mix of public/private program requirements, and a diverse range of constituencies and special interest groups. Students explore the value of infrastructure not merely as an engineering endeavor, but as a robust design opportunity to strengthen and revitalize the city.