Urban Sutures: Connecting Chicago’s Urban Fabric

Urban Sutures is Joseph Sarafian’s entry in the Perkins+Will Design Leadership Competition. This design takes a disconnected corridor along the Chicago River and re-integrates it with the public realm. Each tube weaves previously disparate building functions such as a power plant, post office, and an apartment complex into a singular design solution. The tubes are not merely mediators between functions, but destinations in themselves, attracting pedestrians during the winter when harsh winter snow storms make walking on the street nearly impossible. In the warmer months, the roof garden offer views of the Chicago skyline. Inspired by the multi-level experience of Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain, Urban Sutures re-imagines an elevated walkway integrated with a train, creating a second and third floor entrance to most buildings, redefining their lobby level and therefore their use. The facade carries the motif of weaving as seemingly woven pre-cast concrete elements support the floors, creating an unimpeded free floor plan inside. These elements can be modulated to account for openings for bridges and for light penetration. The Municipal Device of Chicago is used as a starting shape, and molded to create the three-legged directional tubes that branch throughout the city.