One thing that stood out in my mind when we got to Chicago was the use of public space. As a student, the ideas for projects are never actually put into a real world context; it’s all just conceptual, so the use of these intended spaces are never realized. Previous to the Chicago trip, I had always designed public space without intentions of people actually using it, it was filler for a stronger project; I didn’t realize how beneficial public space can be. The Chicago trip enlightened me, as a second year student, to realized all the potential that a public space has, whether that is the intention of the space or not.
Jen Masengrab of the Chicago Architectural Foundation gave us an excellent tour of the Chicago area, highlighting on Federal, Chase and Daley Plazas. In the Daley Plaza there is a large statue made by Pablo Picasso that activated the space with kids playing and people talking, standing, and meeting around it. I was stunned when Jen told us that when the statue was revealed to the city of Chicago every Chicagoan was appalled by it. Standing in Daley Plaza it was clear that the statue dominated the space in a positive way and created a high level of interaction among the community, so much so that a group of students headed back to the statue for some fun after our tours were over.
On the train ride home from Chicago we reflected on the most memorable parts of the trip and the Picasso Statue was high on everyone’s list. This trip has proven the importance of public space and I have found humor in the idea that a public space that was once considered “appalling” can turn into a monumental statue for the city that leaves a lasting impact on those who visit it.