NEW MASHUPS FOR CHICAGO’S CHINATOWN BRANCH PUBLIC LIBRARY
Built in 2015, Chicago’s Chinatown branch public library is one of the most visited and used libraries in the Chicago Public Library system. The new building, designed by SOM, serves as a community anchor as well as a repository of books and other media.
However, since its design and construction, a series of new libraries have opened in Chicago which build on a “private-public” partnership model, combining CPL branches with privately-developed affordable housing. Can the “private-public” model challenge us to reenvision the Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library?
This studio investigates the idea of Library Plus, challenging students to design a library in combination with a small retail or community space that emerges from neighborhood-specific research. Consider: a library with a boba shop, a community organizing HQ, or a museum of immigrant stories. By connecting to the many ground-floor level commercial spaces in the neighborhood, this studio explores a new model of “library plus” through commingled programming. This studio will situate the Chinatown branch library site at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Students will learn from community members and organizations about the complex history of Chicago’s Chinatown, from its origins during the Chinese Exclusion Act to its presentation as a tourist attract in the1960s to today’s multi-layered uses.
MATIAS DEL CAMPO
Circlescape is a hybrid park and library in Chicago's Chinatown. Initial site research revealed the community had 1.7 acres of recreational space per 1,000 residents, far below the 4-acre goal and 10-acre ideal. Circlescape responds by incorporating the library and park into one leisure and civic space to support the communities' strong social infrastructure. The addition of a teahouse references many traditional Chinese Garden's tea houses and library pavilions, and leisure space throughout can accommodate various recreational activities.