Lakefront Kiosk
2015 Chicago Architectural Biennial Lakefront Kiosk
International Design Competition
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Design: 2015

Chicago Architecture Biennial
Lakefront Kiosk Competition
May 20, 2015

Team Principals: Ryan Palider, Chuck Paros & Norman Kelley

Team Assistants: Ariba Bader, Lukasz Wojnicz

Team Location: Chicago, Illinois

Like a small child’s not so inconspicuous hiding spot, this project is intent on concealing itself poorly. This is not to say that the project aims to present itself poorly, but rather, present itself in a manner which tries to conceal or mute, as opposed to embellish, its inherent qualities of monumentality, iconicity, and symbolism. To begin: look closely and you will see that our disguise is fairly superficial (i.e. skin deep). A thinly meshed veil conceals, but also attracts, an atten-uated figure held within its loose fitting cylindrical body. Only after peeling back this veil, now a curtain, that the project reveals its function. Alas, it is simply a kiosk. Nothing more, nothing less. Still grand, however. Pull up a seat and transact your business.

The Exposition Universelle of 1889 unveiled the Eiffel Tower, a glorified entrance arch. The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 was saved from bankrupt-cy by George Ferris’ Wheel, essentially a vertical carousel. In 1939, the New York World’s Fair hoisted its visitors to a height of two-hundred-and-fifty feet to simulate the effects of falling with a parachute. It goes without saying that grandiosity and spectacle are often the main attractions of any public event. Fast forward to 2015, the first Chicago Architecture Biennial. Is spectacle still a desirable pursuit? Perhaps a more economical position is more favorable for the times we currently inhabit. The selection of a kiosk to speak as spectacle is a potentially futile request of such a modest architectural type. That said, given Chi-cago’s climate, the charge of spectacle lends itself to lifespan. If you are to look closely at function, the existing kiosks efficiently meet the needs of the various vendors that supply goods and services each year to the millions of visitors to Chicago’s lakefront. All summer long these modest huts are alive with energy, but for nine months of the year these once active spaces are shuttered closed to form a ghost town; a constant reminder that the magic of summer in Chicago has disappeared. Our proposal for a new kiosk does not seek to reinvent the type. In fact, it functions as easily and efficiently as the existing kiosks do, but it does so while providing alternative readings to what constitutes a spectacular year long interaction. A veil dangles with its shadows cast on any given ground it occupies. The kiosk invites the casual passersby to join in its dance. Overall, the structure is more than just a place of commerce, but now a shy icon that tempts its audience to stare into and beyond.

The kiosk assembly system is intentionally simple. The features are organized into 5 parts: (1) base, (2) cabinets, (3) frame, (4) canopy, (5) curtain. All parts are mechanically fastened on site so the kiosk can be assembled and disassembled for easy transportation or storage.