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 “ARC-All Reimagining Chicago” an ad hoc Architecture group for COVID 19 re-opening on the South and West sides of Chicago, we offered our pro bono design services to develop, test, and build an outdoor, social distancing pavilion. Which in the end found its first home as part of the 75th Street Boardwalk project, supported by the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Greater Chatham Initiative.

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.  The outcome is a design that is modular, replicable, expandable, and easy to re-create.
Erected at a busy intersection on the South West side of Chicago, this friendly alien became a visually intriguing shelter with a variety of interactive eating possibilities built in. Drawing more attention to the restaurant that it served, it greatly helped with generating greater revenue for the owners. Demonstrating how architecture can truly have an immediate role in positively influencing its surrounding context.