A serene and controlled level of ambient light is articulated day and night by masts, railings, plantings and structure, establishing a strong sense of identity, wayfinding and security.

Images

DETAIL VIEW OF THE MIDWAY CROSSINGS'S RAILINGS AND LIGHT MASTS

ONE OF THREE OF THE MIDWAY CROSSINGS LOOKING TOWARD THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO'S NORTH CAMPUS

VIEW ALONG THE MIDWAY PLAISANCE PARK

THE MIDWAY CROSSINGS CONNECT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO'S NORTH AND SOUTH CAMPUS

DIAGRAM ILLUSTRATING MIDWAY CROSSINGS' CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATION IN THE OLMSTEAD PLAN FOR A CANAL AND LAGOON

DETAIL OF THE TRANSITION TO THE BRIDGE-LIKE SECTION OF THE CROSSINGS

Video

Interview with James Carpenter produced by the University of Chicago.

Description

JCDA’s cross-disciplinary practice deploys its knowledge of light, materials and phenomena to transform an experience of transition between the University of Chicago’s established campus to the north and its expansion to the south across the Midway Plaisance Park.

The mile-long eighty acre Midway Plaisance Park divides the University of Chicago into north and south campuses, resulting in a sense of separation between the two. The Midway Crossings establish a more coherent and engaging connection between the two areas of the campus by marking the three main cross-Midway streets that now serve as the student vehicular and pedestrian links. The Midway Crossings also highlight the park’s plan which links the campus to the luminous qualities of Lake Michigan to the east and Washington Park Lagoon to the west.

The interventions provide a sense of continuity between these campus areas, the park and the bodies of water, by merging lighting, seating and materials to create a bridge-like experience for pedestrians on the street and those within the park.

The 16 stainless steel light masts at each Illuminated Bridge establish a strong presence of the sky during the day, while at night internal illumination provides pedestrian lighting and signals safe passage across the park to those near and far.

The Midway Crossings activate the public outdoor space at both the macro scale of the Midway and campus plan and at the micro scale of the pedestrian. At both these scales the insertion of the ‘bridges’ speak to the historical significance of the site, originally designed and planned  by Frederick Law Olmstead - his design had a canal linking Lake Michigan to the inland lagoon. The existing length of the park spans these two water features and although the excavation began at the time, it was never completed. The excavated sections are now well used as sunken playing fields while the cross-streets remain at the higher elevation. This new plan both shelters and reinforces the visibility of the popular playing fields while the Midway Crossings mark the passage across the park and emphasize a sense of the light reflected in water that would have defined Frederick Law Olmstead’s original plans for a canal.

 

Client: University of Chicago
Architect: Bauer Latoza
Lighting: Schuler Shook