Aqua Architect Jeanne Gang Sets Sights On Suburbs

CHICAGO (CBS) — Just as Jeanne Gang changed high-rise facades with the wavy blue Aqua tower balconies downtown, she’d also like to change the face of suburbs – and decided to start with Cicero.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, in an exhibit coming to New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Gang envisions bungalows replaced with homes that expand and contract with family size – homes that include workshops – to house small manufacturing.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

She sees the homes replacing large manufacturing campuses.

“You could make things. You could have a landscape company. You could design apps for the iPhone. You could make wire fences for construction sites,” Gang said. “All of these are possibilities.”

Gang also looks at changing the face of Chicago and its river.

Gang heads up Chicago-based Studio Gang Architects, and she was named a 2011 macArthur Fellow. In addition to Aqua, she also designed the 16,800 square-foot SOS Children’s Villages Lavezzorio Community Center, 7600 S. Parnell Ave.

You can hear more from Gang on this Sunday’s “At Issue” program, coming up Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.

  • JeanSC

    I have some problems with adding and removing rooms of a house. First, this always results in some waste of construction materials. Even if this is all recycled, it costs more energy & matter than the family just moving to a right-sized house nearby. Second, much of the USA – including Illinois – is in FEMA’s “High Risk Zone for Extreme Wind.” FEMA 320 urges a “safe room” in every home; I’d say the entire building envelope should have at least a “Continuous Load Path.” Adding & removing bedrooms is a bit more involved than operating zippers or Legos. How would Gang’s ideas do this? I cut my teeth on land-in-trust as the radio story mentioned. If you built a variety of home sizes, whose distribution matched the household-composition pyramid for the locale, in a single development, people needing more or fewer bedrooms could move nearby instead of far away. I’ve been designing preliminary floor plans for homes for over 10 years; all have some dedicated workshop space or rooms. I kicked the garage to a separate building, because I want my workshops convenient. In the 1977 book “A Pattern Language,” Christopher Alexander et al. proposed the “Bed Alcove” (pattern 188), which is more compatible with changing numbers of children, and even repurposing the whole children’s area complex.

  • franklin808

    These already exist. They are called mobile homes. Tie two of them together and double your living space.

    • JeanSC

      Smart-mouth, you need to read FEMA 320. There’s not a mobile home made which will take one of FEMA’s “extreme winds.”

  • Aqua Architect Jeanne Gang Sets Sights On Suburbs | SiliconPrairieSocial

    […] Community Center. Now she’s pushing to rework the suburbs, starting with Cicero.      Continue reading here. The Aqua residential center created by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects – Photo from […]

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