Studio Gang Architects has been creating quite a buzz. Founded by principal Jeannie Gang, the Chicago architecture firm really started turning heads with the completion of the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago in 2009. The 82-story mixed use residential skyscraper, often highlighted on Chicago architecture boat tours, boldly revolutionized the Chicago skyline with its undulating exterior curves.
With Jeanne Gang's leadership and innovation in design, the firm has been producing cultural, educational and recreational buildings both large and small around the world, and including hometown Chicago. Most recently, their projects here have created vibrant public spaces of varying uses.
Like the Aqua Tower, the WMS Boathouse at Clark Park (above) in the North Center neighborhood makes a stationary building appear to have movement. Its jagged truss shapes function to provide space for natural light to enter and it is designed to be adaptive to Chicago's seasons. Designed for the Chicago Park District, it includes spaces for row machines and boat storage to accommodate the Chicago Rowing Foundation among other groups involved in watery activities.
Studio Gang has a goal of making Northerly Island known as an "ecological oasis" of Chicago with wetland, prairie and savannah ecosystems to be integrated with an amphitheater, campsites, nature trail, bike path, and outdoor classroom. Camping in the city is unheard of until now! This will be a nature escape from the city, except right by downtown Chicago. Construction is underway, and future plans will include an events pavilion and boat rentals. This project, anticipated to be completed this year, innovatively brings the prairie back into the "Prairie State."
A popular landscape feature for Instagrammers is Studio Gang's Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. The boardwalk weaves around the pond with stops for educational zones that explain the natural habitat. Most visually distinctive of this project is the arched laminated structure that mimics the curving lines of a tortoise shell. It serves as an open-air classroom pavilion, and beautifully frames the skyline downtown.
And now a new plan has been unveiled for a supertall skyscraper in Lakeshore East, complete with hotel, condos and retail space. Studio Gang Architects will continue to transform the landscape of Chicago with the firm's award-winning architecture.
Photo: WMS Boathouse by John Zacherle via flickr