Undergraduate Studio, UWM
Transformed the Federal Post Office built by Mies into a new Immigration Services Center in the heart of the city. This project was done in three phases: extensive social research, group collaboration to develop adjacency and general concept, and individual development of a final concept, interior spaces + materiality [all images shown]. The core concept of the design is ‘celebrating structure’; not only the 4 structural columns but also immigrationas the structure of the United States. The central exhibition piece and focal point in the building stemmed from this idea and is in a sense a homage to the immigration process and how it has helped our country become what it is today. Other programmatic elements include cafe space, a public media lounge and a multi purpose room with the idea of bringing the general public into the building, making the atmosphere more inviting towards people going through the process and also to change the publics perception of the process into a positive one.
The new entry not only creates a visible entry point and identity to the building, but also enhances the users experience. The plaza level is completely public and allows the merging of public and immigrants through the cafe, event, and exhibition space and also through the variety of different ideas and cultures that coexist in Chicago. The multipurpose space extends into and becomes part of the plaza. It is important that this space be ‘on display’ to the public so as to make them more aware of and take a larger part in the process. The ceiling of this space can raise or lower depending on the desired mood and the hanging lights can retract into the ceiling creating a truly adaptable space.