Social Alien

Type: Pavilion
Program: Outdoor seating and dining
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Construction: IIT students with VRA
Status: Completed 2020
Brief: 240 SF dining pavilion with social distancing in mind

In joining an ad hoc Architecture group for COVID 19 re-opening on the South and West sides of Chicago, we offered pro bono design services to develop, test, and build an outdoor, social distancing pavilion. The outcome is a structure that is modular, replicable, expandable, and easy to build. Inspired by the poetics of Laugier’s Primitive Hut, we utilized 2x6 lumber as the primary structure, expressing joinery and connections between members. For protection from the elements, we employed light weight fiberglass panels which diffuse sunlight while illuminating the shadows cast onto the ground. As a result, this goodwill gesture became a visually intriguing shelter with a variety of interactive eating possibilities built in. Now, this friendly alien draws greater attention to the restaurant it serves, thus increasing their revenue while demonstrating how architecture can have a role in positively influencing its surrounding context.