A bold plan to decontaminate the Chicago River along a 200-acre stretch of long abandoned and contaminated land just south of Chicago’s Loop was selected as the winning entry today in an internal Perkins and Will competition hosted by the firm’s Design Leadership Council (DLC). Known as the DLC Design Competition, the annual initiative challenges young architects at Perkins and Will to devise plausible solutions to real-world design issues. This year’s winning entry – selected by an outside jury of design and planning experts – is “Grid l River l Landmark,” submitted by Silas Haslam and Yanwen Xiao of Perkins and Will’s Washington, D.C. office. For the first time in the competition’s history, the jury publically discussed their feedback on all 15 shortlisted projects during an open session at the Chicago Cultural Center before an audience of 80 people including members of the DLC, the public, and the media.
The competition is a key annual program led by the Perkins and Will Design Leadership Council to encourage young architects to address challenging issues with provocative designs. This year, the competition asked Perkins+Will architects to creatively imagine new, sustainable design possibilities for one of the largest remaining undeveloped pieces of land stretching along the Chicago River. Perkins and Will partnered with MAS Studio’s exhibition, “BOLD: Alternative Scenarios for Chicago,” as part of a featured program in the inaugural Chicago Architectural Biennial. Grid l River l Landmark, which included wetlands and a soaring landmark building, was among 62 entries from 19 offices, from Dubai to Dallas, London to Los Angeles. To view all the submissions and learn more about the design challenge, please visit: dlc.staging.perkinswill.com/.
The design teams were charged with designing a sustainable model for Chicago and other cities, celebrating the history of the site, and promoting connectivity among the nearby neighborhoods. “The winner developed the architectural expression in a manner that was convincing, credible and beautiful,” said Andrew Metter, director of design, Epstein Architects, one of five jurors. The team of jurors reviewed all 15 finalists in a public session at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Now, in its 13th year, the purpose of the Perkins and Will design competition is to create a vehicle for ideas, promote a culture of design, and enhance the firm’s legacy of innovation, inventiveness and research. “We look at the competition not just as a commitment to our firm, but also as a commitment to young people within our profession,” said Ed Feiner, principal of Perkins and Will and director of the DLC, which is comprised of design directors and principals from each office.
Other winners included:
Second Prize: South Branch Succession by Chris Loyal, Lauren Fraley, Atlanta office
Third Prize: Switchrail by Scott Hefner, Ian Zapata, William Sendor, Research Triangle Park and Charlotte offices
Values-Engineered Landscape, by Martin Chow, Toronto office
River Colonies, by Gustavo Mendoza, Gia Zapattini, Miami office
Access Chicago: Establishing a New Infrastructure for Public Life, by Jon Loewen, Dan McTavish, Martin Lariviere, Toronto office