PLACE OF ASSEMBLY
CLIENT: METROPOLITAN PIER + EXPOSITION AUTHORITY
PROFESSOR: ANG LI, VISITING ARTIST
LOCATION: CHICAGO, IL
PROJECT AREA: 800,000 SQ FT
MARKET: CIVIC + CULTURE
McCormick Place: Alternate Endings
What does it mean to “save” a building? The demolition site is one of the contemporary city’s most compelling stages for public
debate and urban speculation. Removed from everyday cycles of use and economic development, it conflates spatial and
temporal registers, opening the building up temporarily to a myriad of possible futures.
Demolition of existing architectural fabric tend to fall into polarized camps of “for” and “against”, where buildings are either raised up as monuments or razed to the rubbish heap. Turning our attention instead to the full spectrum of design possibilities that exist in between.
Place of Assembly is a series of more optimistic and nuanced visions for the site’s future. How can we make use of the current challenges threatening McCormick’s survival (massive size, functional obsolescence, loss of the commons,
etc.) to speculate on architectural alternatives? How can we apply methods of unbuilding, or subtraction at a formal, material and
programmatic level to adapt the building to better suit its quickly evolving context.