Seetharam Vallabhaneni, 2017 (unless otherwise stated)
A Modern Day Town Center
Location : 158 West Cermak Road, Chinatown, Chicago, USA
Built Area : 250,000 Sq. Ft.
Materials Used : Living Brick, Compressed Bamboo, Bamboo, Concrete, PVC Sheets
Keywords : Community center, Cultural center, Transit Hub, Mixed Use
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Giga Village is a modern day town center that sits at the intersection of Culture and Technology. Inspired by the call for more pedestrian friendly urban spaces, Giga Village attempts to create a walk worthy urban hub that provides as many possibilities as possible for unfolding human life - through pixels and plazas.
Through its design and programming this project attempts to provide a three dimensional community space - where the vibrancy of street life is able to permeate throughout the project.
Giga Village is made up of pixels and plazas that are contained within concrete frames spread throughout the site. There are five typologies of pixels used within the project, each with varying built volumes. These pixels are defined by a lattice made of compressed bamboo, they are then layered with sheets of PVC to provide a barrier from wind. The built volume within these pixels is defined by ‘bricks’. The presence of a wooden lattice freed the brick from structural duties allowing for infinite possibilities.
Upon entry you are greeted by a mix of DIY craft stores, small handicraft stores, medium sized retail stores, small restaurants, cafes and plazas on the street level. While these programs are contained within pixels, in favorable conditions they begin to percolate beyond the walls, into the plazas where they engage the street life.
The second level of the project intersects with the existing transit infrastructure. There are two auxiliary platforms introduced on this level to allow for easier movement between Giga Village and the red line station. These platforms also support transient food carts and craft kiosks to offer quick and varied experiences specially tailored for transiting passengers. This level also houses event spaces, classrooms and, formal & informal galleries.
The third level offers maker spaces, digital hubs and co-work spaces for the neighborhood. While these pixels house the various programs offered, in favorable conditions these programs begin to percolate beyond the walls, into the large plazas and engage the public. The three levels are connected together through a vertical connection module where as the horizontal circulation is directed by a series of walkways and plazas, that allow users to explore the spaces at different paces. Towards the east, there sits a multipurpose parking space and a landscaped public park runs through the middle of the site, connecting Cermak and Archer.