Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017 ,
"From Mixed-Use to Diff-Use". Horizontal City. Room of Plinth

The John Hancock Center offers just one interior space which it is repeated one hundred times displaying a progressive alteration in two of its variables: the distance between the core and the façade and the clearance height between slabs. These variations still determine the vertical stratification of the different uses existing in the tower.

Our proposal emanates from three pictures taken by Ezra Stoller on The Jhon Hancock Center where the same interior space in floors 6th, 45th and 76th it’s shown associated with the different programs developed inside (carpark, offices and dwellings).

After studying these images we found out the importance of the objects occupying the space. They, and not the different floorings and claddings, make the real difference determining the use of each floor. Armchairs, carpets, tables, office chairs and cars, all of them arranged according to an intern order, speaks about a project that aims the possibility of stacking conventional programs in a non-conventional structure.

In this sense, we want to know about how these objects have evolved and how its different combinations are able of depicting the nowadays way of life. Do we believe that our routines are still structured by labor, individual mobility and recess? If the case, does still exist such a big difference among the objects that characterize each moment?

We believe that the John Hancock Center it’s the ideal framing to ask those questions for through this project it’s possible to think that the diversity and coexistence of programs might be enhanced by spatial homogeneity. Our proposal it’s looking to test this idea by reoccupying the three mentioned levels depicted in the pictures. We assume there were perfect sizes associated to specific programs and we will overlap them with new ways to inhabit those spaces, obliterating the functional categories they were designed for.

Our model will consist in stacking levels 6th, 45th and 76th, transforming this fragment of the John Hancock Center in a short of “exploded ziggurat” attached through the existing core. The floor plan’s different sizes will allow the observer to see the new inner configuration. All of them depicting spatial orders capable of diluting the functional categories originally assigned to each level, making the most of the freedom of use that the original layout provides. Using the spatial specificity as a bridge towards the desired programmatic instability. In sum our proposal is looking forward to explore a new relationship between the structure and its program, moving from Mixed-Use towards Diff-Use.

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