The Chicago chapter of the Urban Land Institute has recognized two SOM projects with 2016 Vision Awards, the organization's highest honor. The Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library was honored with the Public Investment Award in the Project Category, while UI Labs Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute won in the Program Category. The awards recognize the best in innovation and creativity in the Chicago region.
The Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library serves as a new civic, educational, and social hub for Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood, providing a public gathering place geared toward community activities and driven by technology-based learning. SOM worked closely with Chicago Public Library officials to identify opportunities for programmatic overlap, thereby increasing the flexibility and projected use of many of the building’s spaces. Through the glass curtain wall, the highly visible Chicago skyline places the patrons firmly within their city, and within the symbolic heart of the Chinatown community.
Located on Chicago’s Goose Island, UI Labs Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute is the first facility of its kind in the United States, enabling collaboration as university and industry partners reinvent 21st century manufacturing. Flexibility and visual connectivity underpin the 64,000-square-foot renovated facility. Ultra-transparent glass separates the manufacturing floor and open workspaces, making activity visible and diffusing daylight from the existing clerestory skylights deep into the facility. A suite of environmental graphics brings further cohesion, information, and inspiration to the interior.