The DESIGN COMMONS is a new platform for learning and cultural exchange that prioritizes interaction over compartmentalization. CADE’s four components are continuously linked through a series of vertical opening and generous stairs that encourage an awareness of place to foster a sense of belonging and shared identity. These vertical links incite social friction and allow for stacked programs to gradually bleed into one another.
More Open: Throughout the building, education and cultural spaces remain open and visually interconnected. As people crave less mediated engagement with one another, cultural environments are changing to become more open, more inclusive. Bringing down the walls allows for more flexible spaces that are easily shared and that maximize an active and continued use of limited resources.
Continuously Connected: What happens in between is key. A well rounded education is shaped not only by what happens in the classroom, but by the broader experience surrounding school life. Informal spaces where we circulate, stop or rest, are crucial links that can bind a place together – they become catalytic for the casual connections that instigate creative interactions between students, teachers, staff, as well as the public at large.
As the cradle of the modern high rise, Chicago is the perfect testing ground to challenge how vertical spaces can be shaped to become more social and embracing of their surrounding urban context.