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All Reimagining Chicago — ARC & The Nest

Chicago, IL

Photography: Chris Hoederman (Video) Scott Shigley (Event Images)

ARC is a network of design leaders committed to making Chicago safe, healthy, and economically resilient for all by taking catalytic action that can be replicated with speed and scale to help our communities flourish.

Over a two-month span, designers, city planners, and community organizers at ARC collaborated to bring outdoor dining solutions to communities and businesses in need.

Project Team:
Site Design Group, Ltd.
Brook Architecture
IIT Architecture
Chicago Architecture Biennial
Thornton Tomasetti

ARC and the City of Chicago together selected a list of business corridors on the City’s south and west sides where outdoor design interventions would provide outdoor seating to struggling restaurants. The corridors selected included the following:

1. Austin Community Chicago Avenue (Austin-Laramie)
2. Back of the Yards 47th / Ashland
3. Chatham 75th Street from Indiana to Calumet
4. Chinatown Wentworth Ave from 21st to 24th
5. Englewood 63rd / Halsted
6. Pilsen 18th Street from Morgan to Wood
7. South Chicago 8900–9100 S. Commercial Avenue

ARC's first project, completed by KSP and our other ARC teammates, was in the City's first selected neighborhood: Chatham 75th Street from Indiana to Calumet.

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Our goal was to create a public destination that pulled in visitors from all over the City to enjoy the restaurants and shops. To do this, we needed a vibrant street scene and an urban gathering spot.

Public Platform
By reimagining one lane of curbside parking, all adjoining businesses benefit from a flexible open space that accommodates outdoor restaurant seating, planters, artwork, and community activities.

Together with the community and volunteers, a plywood structure was built. Reusing plywood used to cover shop windows during the riot, we were able to save on funds.

To create a fresh environment, the plywood was painted bright lime green. Drawing the eye and ensuring a level of energy and interaction.

The Nest @ 75th Equitable Dining Shelters for All

With restrictions on the number of people who can sit in restaurants, businesses need alternative dining methods. Without a safe alternative to traditional dining, most of Chicago's restaurants will suffer, and many will close.

We needed shelter to protect diners while they eat—protection from nature and infectious particles

75th Street had an underutilized parking space for our team to create both the platform and build a dining spot we call The Nest — a safe and unique enclosure in which to dine.

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Built with sustainable, off-the-shelf materials and easily assembled by community members, The Nest provides a safe alternative to eating in crowded restaurants. This wooden dining shell is adaptable to all four seasons and can easily fold for storage or transportation.

The Nest will activate the street and bring street-life to the area.

The Nest allows people to enjoy a dining experience sheltered from the elements and infectious particles.

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