Location: Chicago, Illinois
Client: Lakeview Chamber of Commerce
Timeline: Phase 1 Completed Summer 2018; Phase 2 Expected 2019

In Spring 2017, PORT was awarded the commission by the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce (SSA #27) to lead the design of key nodes to establish design guidelines, alignment and a long-term strategy for the Lakeview Low-Line project. The Low-Line is an underutilized right-of-way and CTA maintenance vehicle route under the CTA Brown Line elevated train tracks that is informally used by the neighboring community, most commonly as a short-cut to and from the Paulina CTA station. The long-term Low-Line project intends to transform this space into a continuous, half-mile long art walk and garden beneath the CTA ‘L’ tracks, allowing it to become a new community amenity and unique connector between the Lincoln Ave. and Southport commercial corridors.

The first phase of the project was completed in the summer of 2018, which was primarily focused on the Paulina Plaza as the west anchor of the Low-Line. The Paulina Plaza called for a new take on public furnishing that takes into account the need for an overhead cover, sound mitigation, additional lighting, and seating and vending. Taking formal cues from the track structure itself, we developed a collection of custom urban furniture. These bright yellow rectangular boxes—which we call cubbies—have an internal space carved out that becomes a playful take on a vendor booth, a picnic table, a wavy bench, and a lean-to. To further distinguish the space, we took advantage of the existing canopy to hang perforated metal scallops encompased by a bright yellow ribbon that creates a dynamic overhead surface, inviting you into the space and enhancing the quality of the lighting. Artists have transformed the walls of the two adjacent buildings that frame each side of the plaza with three truly amazing murals. Phase 2 is expected to start in 2019 which is focused on the section between Paulina Plaza and E. Ashland Plaza.

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