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NETWORK RESET

RETHINKING THE CHICAGO EMERALD NECKLACE

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An international competition organized by


MAS Studio & Chicago Architectural Club

Made possible in part by the generous support of


Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture LLP
NETWORK RESET RETHINKING THE CHICAGO EMERALD NECKLACE

INTRODUCTION

MAS Studio and the Chicago Architectural Club are pleased to announce the competition: NETWORK
RESET, a single-stage international competition that seeks to provide ideas and actions that can reactivate the
Boulevard System of Chicago and rethink its potential role in the city.

Proposed by John S. Wright in 1849, the system was envisioned twenty years later when the State Legislature
established the South, West, and Lincoln Park Commissions. Also referred as the “Emerald Necklace” since
the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, it is composed by a series of streets and parks, some of them designed
by Frederick Law Olmsted and William Le Baron Jenney. After the mid-twentieth century, the lack of proper
funding, the split of management of the system as a whole (parks would be managed separately from the streets)
and the migration of residents to the suburbs were some of the circumstances that accelerated the deterioration
of the system. While portions of it, such as the Logan Square Boulevards District (an official city landmark
district since 2005) still maintain the original character, other parts have just become underutilized areas and
oversized streets that act as barriers within neighborhoods.

That is where we are now and this competition asks you to envision where we can be in the near
future. These are some of the questions that we are asking ourselves and we want you to think about
in your proposal: What if the system becomes a new transportation corridor in the city? What type of
transportation would that be? What if the open space becomes an active layer and not just a passive one?
What if this system provides activities that the city as a whole is lacking? What if the system becomes a
tool for social cohesion? What if the system has a strong visual identity? What if it becomes an economic
catalyst for the neighborhoods? What if the system is all of this and more?

Participants are asked to look at the urban scale and propose a framework for the entire boulevard system as well
as provide answers and visualize the interventions at a smaller scale that can directly impact its potential users.
Through images, diagrams and drawings we want to know what are those soft or hard, big or small, temporary or
permanent interventions that can reactivate and reset the Boulevard System of Chicago.

The results of this competition will be announced in March 2011. A jury of notable professionals and academics
will decide a first, second and third prize as well as three honorable mentions. All entries will be published in the
forthcoming issue of the design journal MAS Context (www.mascontext.com).

NETWORK RESET is made possible in part by the generous support of :


Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture LLP

NETWORK RESET RETHINKING THE CHICAGO EMERALD NECKLACE MAS STUDIO + CHICAGO ARCHITECTURAL CLUB
BACKGROUND INFORMATION

When Chicago officially incorporated as a city in 1837, it adopted the motto “Urbs in Horto,” a Latin phrase
meaning “City in a Garden.” Despite this verdant slogan, the city had few public parks. Early residents succeeded
in saving two small parcels of the lakefront as parkland. The few other small parks created during the 1840s and
1850s were donated or sold to the city at reduced rates by real-estate developers. These speculators knew that a
small square in the center of a residential development would boost the value of the entire subdivision. In 1849,
real-estate speculator John S. Wright suggested a much more ambitious system of parks and interconnected
pleasure drives. At the time, however, the city government had neither the administrative nor the legal means to
realize this vision.

Concerns about the health threat posed by an unsightly North Side lakefront cemetery furthered the park
movement in the 1850s and 1860s. Physician John H. Rauch realized that Chicago’s water supply was being
contaminated by cholera and other diseases because of poor burial conditions in the sandy low-lying site. Rauch,
who also made a study of the world’s most famous parks, led a crusade to convert the city cemetery into a public
park. North Siders rallied behind the cause, and, in 1860, 60 acres were reserved as a pleasure ground. Five years
later, after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the park was named in his honor. Improvements were
made in accord with an original plan by landscape designer Swain Nelson.

In the late 1860s, Chicagoans rallied for additional parks, prompting the State Legislature to establish the South,
West, and Lincoln Park Commissions in 1869. Each commission served its own jurisdiction and was responsible
for improving one section of what was intended as a unified park and boulevard system. Reflecting Wright’s
suggestion of 20 years earlier, a ribbon of parks and pleasure drives encircling the city was envisioned.

Julia Sniderman Bachrach, Park Districts, Encyclopedia of Chicago, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/955.html

CURRENT COMPOSITION

The Boulevard System of Chicago is currently composed by the following parks and streets:
Parks: Jackson Park, Midway Plaisance Park, Washington Park, Sherman Park, Gage Park, McKinley Park,
Douglas Park, Garfield Park, Humboldt Park and Lincoln Park.
Streets: Oakwood Blvd, Martin Luther King Jr. Dr, Drexel Blvd, Garfield Blvd, Western Blvd, 33rd Blvd,
California Blvd, 24th Blvd, Marshall Blvd, Douglas Blvd, Independence Blvd, Hamlin Blvd, Franklin Blvd,
Sacramento Blvd, Humboldt Blvd, Palmer Blvd, Kedzie Blvd, Logan Blvd and Diversey Pkwy.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

History of the grand Boulevard system of Chicago


http://www.logansquarepreservation.org/boulevardhistory.html
Park Districts, Encyclopedia of Chicago
http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/955.html
The Plan of Chicago, Encyclopedia of Chicago
http://encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/10537.html

NETWORK RESET RETHINKING THE CHICAGO EMERALD NECKLACE MAS STUDIO + CHICAGO ARCHITECTURAL CLUB
CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION

1. This competition encourages proposals that provide both a compelling urbanistic and architectural response,
exploring the relationship between both scales and the opportunities that this approach can generate. This
competition is seeking interventions that are understood as part of a larger network.
2. Proposals should address the overlap of the Emerald Necklace and the city systems involved. The Boulevard
System of Chicago directly relates and intersects with neighborhoods of different characteristics, open spaces, the
Chicago river, streets, highways and public transportation. What are the opportunities in these intersections?
3. This competition is looking for new ways of redefining the public open spaces of the city: how they are
conceived, activated and used by the citizens. Considering current economic conditions and the trend of
privatizing any public asset that the city owns to reduce costs, we need to think in a new and fresh way about
public spaces. Their existance is vital for the citizens of a city and we have the tools to envision succesful
approaches and proposals.
4. While the competition looks specifically at the Boulevard System of Chicago, it can also be understood as an
exercise to understand obsolete systems in cities in general and propose a new vision that can make them relevant
once again.

ELEGIBILITY

1. NETWORK RESET is an open, anonymous, single stage ideas competition open to all architects, intern
architects, landscape architects, students and any person working within any design discipline.
2. Members of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Architectural Club, members of MAS Studio, members
of the jury or their families, or those involved with the preparation or funding of this competition may not
participate.
3. This competition is to be conducted solely via this website – no additional printed material is available.
4. English is the official language for this competition. All presentation materials and submitted questions should
be written in the official language.
5. All drawings and architectural scales should be expressed in feet and inches.
6. The decisions of the jury will be final and unalterable, and they thereby reserve the right to leave any prize
vacant, or partially award prizes.

ANONYMITY / OWNERSHIP

1. Anonymity will be maintained throughout the competition. No names of team members shall appear on
graphic material or in file names. Competitors should choose an identification code of six (6) numbers. This code
must appear on each presentation board in 12-point, horizontally oriented type in the bottom right-hand corner.
2. All material received by the organizers becomes their property, including reproduction rights.
3. The intellectual property rights in each project remain the exclusive property of the author(s) of the project.

NETWORK RESET RETHINKING THE CHICAGO EMERALD NECKLACE MAS STUDIO + CHICAGO ARCHITECTURAL CLUB
SUBMISSION MATERIALS

The following material should be submitted:

1: Two (2) horizontally oriented boards @ 24”x 36” (60.9 cm x 91.4 cm) in PDF format
Information to be included on boards, at minimum:
A. Overall urban strategy
B. Diagrams as needed to explain strategy
C. Perspectives to explain solutions
D. Diagramatic plans, sections and elevations to explain solutions

2: JPEG files of all boards at original size (24” x 36”) submitted @ 72 dpi

3: JPEG files of all individual images and drawings

4: A written statement of no more than 300 words in Word format

5: A .doc file titled “teamid.doc”: this file will list the following information:
A. Project title, as used in all submitted files
B. Names and Titles of all members of competition team
C. Team Leader, Telephone, Address, and Email Contact Information

SUBMISSION PROCESS

1. Only electronic submissions will be accepted.


2. In order to ensure that there are no problems sending big files, please send an email with a link to download
your submission from an online file sharing software (such as Yousendit, Box...)
3. Your submission should be a single .zip file format. Zip file name will consist solely of a code of six (6)
numbers chosen by the team. Example: 123456.zip
4. This code must appear on each presentation board in 12-point, horizontally oriented type in the bottom right-
hand corner.

MATERIAL PROVIDED

1. Site photographs
2. Reference maps

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The deadline for competition queries is 12:00 noon (Chicago time), February 4, 2011. All questions and answers
will be posted to the competition website www.mas-studio.com
All inquires should be sent to competition@mas-studio.com

NETWORK RESET RETHINKING THE CHICAGO EMERALD NECKLACE MAS STUDIO + CHICAGO ARCHITECTURAL CLUB
SCHEDULE

Monday January 17, 2011 Competition Launched / Online Registration Opens / Q&A Period Opens
Friday February 4, 2011 Q&A Period Closes
Monday February 21, 2011 Submission deadline / Online Registration and Submission Periods Close
Monday March 14, 2011 Winners Announced

PRIZES

1st Prize $2,000


2nd Prize $1,000
3rd Prize $500

Up to 3 honorable mentions will be awarded.


Along with the prize, awarded teams will be featured in the spring issue of the design journal MAS Context. For
more information about MAS Context, please visit www.mascontext.com

ENTRY FEE

Students $40
CAC members $40
Professionals $80

Contact

Please, direct any inquires to competition@mas-studio.com


All relevant questions will be posted with answers to the competition website.

SPONSORS

This competition is made possible in part by the generous support of:


Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture LLP

NETWORK RESET RETHINKING THE CHICAGO EMERALD NECKLACE MAS STUDIO + CHICAGO ARCHITECTURAL CLUB

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