2019-20 YEAR 3




In the Shadow of the Sun

First Class Honours

A municipal library constructed from kiln-cast glass gives light the voice of a storyteller, casting a new socially-minded architecture upon the streets of Chicago. Bridging the gap between the technological and the social, the architecture aspires to accommodate all residents of the city by serving as it should: a truly public institution.

Chicago’s extreme climatic conditions form increasingly hostile exterior environments, exacerbating the city’s social issues, most notably homelessness. The US public library system has a troubled recent history refusing services to those with no fixed abode, despite being mandated to do so. Coupled with a building industry that continues to neglect climatic impact and remains reliant upon failing strategies of outdated construction techniques, the need for well-tempered public environments remains shockingly critical.

The project questions the outmoded paradigm of glass manufacturing and specification in Chicago’s building industry – ‘more is more’. Through a making-driven technical investigation into the processing of glass, the building demonstrates how the material can become an active agent in addressing the spatial, social, and technical issues all municipal architecture needs to address. Yes glass can offer a view, but it can also veil, magnify, insulate, animate, enliven, and colour.

Tutors: Greg Storrar, Farlie Reynolds