University of Illinois at Chicago
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posted on 2010-09-01, 00:00 authored by Thomas De Froy, Don Venticinque, Cece Webb
In an assignment dubbed “Failed Successfully,” students studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain were asked by Architecture professor Alex Lehnerer to transplant certain aspects of the Catalonian city into the Midwestern city of Chicago. Focusing on the infrastructure of each city, the collaborative group brainstormed the transplanting of Barcelona’s underground Metro system into the earth of Chicago, effectively eliminating the “L.” The image of the Office of Metropolitan Architects’ (OMA) McCormick Tribune Campus Center has become a symbol of Chicago in that it reinforces its identity by means of highlighting its iconic infrastructural system. The absence of the “L” is then hypothesized and its effects (both positive and negative) are considered. The absence of the elevated train network entering OMA’s building is supposed to be provocative in terms of the immediate loss of Chicago’s identity. Though aspects of economics and demographics are also considered, the image mainly focuses on the issue of identification and how the city of Chicago is the “L” and the “L” is the city of Chicago; without it, Chicago does not exist as it does today.


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Entry in 2009 in The Image of Research, a competition for students in graduate or professional degree programs at UIC, sponsored by UIC's Graduate College and the University Library. Images of award recipients and honorable mention images on exhibition in the Richard J. Daley Library and the Library of the Health Sciences, April 16-May 12, 2009.

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