Program / Vocational Training Tower
Location / Chicago, IL
Uneven Distribution confronts the ideology of the tower as related to the management of production in the American city. Upon their construction, nineteenth and twentieth century office towers were widely celebrated as technical marvels, yet also locally criticized as highly contentious symbols in service of educational, financial, and political ideals. Towers of the First and Second Chicago Schools absorbed managerial class Americans and reshaped the city center in their image. Sited at the epicenter of this debate, the city of Chicago can therefore be read as a three-dimensional economic matrix of ‘free’ plans stacked nauseatingly for maximum profit. While the ‘free’ plan privileges the management of white-collar work, this thesis, in the context of changing economic realities, imagines a new distribution of architecture and labor in the city. Drawing inspiration from historic tower precedents, this project investigates the potential of the atomized core to produce frictions between disciplines simultaneously in both plan and section. The plenum and the chase, typically invisible zones of distribution, are explicated and expanded in pursuit of a new domain for the skilled trades in the American city.
Studio Critic: Mark Wamble