We’re so pleased to introduce our next project to begin construction: the updated plaza design and new entrance canopy for the Park Lincoln apartments on Clark Street by Reside.
Reside is a management company with locations all over the north side of Chicago and their properties tend toward the modern, the transit oriented and the environmentally responsible so, naturally, we are thrilled to be partnering with them with this design project. They came to us last year with the following situation – the entry for Park Lincoln building needed a serious update.
The entrance canopy of their newly acquired residential building barely covers you while you unlock the door and it is FAR from visually arresting. In fact, the USPS office adjacent to the entrance has far more of a visual presence. The whole courtyard is pretty missable. Despite the fact that this is some of the only open space along Clark Street in this area, the whole space is easy to overlook.
The initial design brief was an updated entrance canopy but we looked at the small courtyard plaza opening off of Clark’s sidewalk and saw big possibilities. A quick spin around the internet and troll through our own design memory banks turned up a lot of exciting options for how to spruce up a basic concrete surface, and how to introduce some permeable / green elements into it.
Here are just a few. For more, check out our pinterest board for the project!
OUR JUMPING OFF POINT
We proposed three initial schemes to give the small plaza a big facelift. Scheme A, shown left, maintained the existing layout and concrete, but with a few additional planters and a much more extended and dramatic canopy projecting from the apartment entrance. We also proposed adding some color – even just one – to differentiate the plaza space from the adjacent concrete sidewalk.
Schemes B and C were progressively more dynamic, with color and pattern interventions proposed to break up the rectangular concrete and create more fluid paths from the diagonal corners of the plaza to the two destinations (apartment entrance and the PO). These schemes also created more inviting places for people to step off the path and gather or wait. The canopies in these two schemes angle out toward the center of the plaza rather than facing forward directly toward the street. We knew that these more dramatic proposals would be a long shot but wanted to open up some big picture thinking at this phase.
GOLDILOCKS PLAZA SOLUTION
It is a truth universally acknowledged by designers that people often like to choose the middle of three options. One bed is too hard, another too soft, and the third is just right. In this case the existing plaza was far too boring, the bold and colorful Schemes B and C were probably too dramatic for the building. The end result: a middle path solution.
Rather than tear up most or all of the exiting surfaces of the courtyard, a new strip of pavers will extend out from the new canopy to visually emphasize the access to the apartments and a new wider canopy will connect to the existing canopy below. A glass surface for the canopy will ward off the rain but let light shine though. Water collected from the canopy overhead will flow down to the south west corner and into the planter areas to help water the existing trees.
IT SAYS SO: RIGHT THERE
The final step was to meticulously detail the canopy and its important signage – this spot won’t be hard to tell apart from the USPS any more. Chris did a lovely job of three dimensional detailing by hand, rather than in autocad for easier communication with the group at Reside tasked with making decisions. The project has now passed through the permitting process so it should be breaking ground in the not too distant future.
We’re looking forward enjoying a stroll past it down Clark soon. Watch this spot for updates!