Slightly off but always more fun, the black sheep stands out in any family. The forty kiosks along Chicago’s shoreline form a stable family offering spots of shade, food, and the occasional surfboard. Our kiosk is aware of its family but at the same time needs some space and friends of its own. We want to create an urban oasis for these misfits.

To claim some space we’ve developed a slightly raised platform for friends to collect and linger. The platform’s embedded planters create a strange furry landscape to pull visitors off the boardwalk and into a new sphere. The closed form of the existing sheds is filled with an interior shell to house vendors. The divergence of the shed from the vendor space creates a slippage allowing for visitors to enter into the kiosk and experience the interiority rather than remaining outside the form. This interior space becomes slowly revealed as one moves around the kiosk and catches glimpses of the yellow shell peeking out and reshaping the shed. The moments of interaction between shell and shed form openings for the vendors as well as light and ventilation from above. The main opening draws visitors into the soft interior creating a unique space to momentarily escape. Visitors remerge back into the vibrant shoreline energized from their snack and respite.

The kiosk creates novel spatial effects through lo-fi materials and fabrication. The skin and platform use reclaimed wood to create a texture full of slight noise through different scale, grains, and finish. The interior shell is painted wood around a ring frame creating the illusion of something soft and pressed against the shed, but at closer inspection firm and solid. The planters use hearty prairie grasses like blue fescue and reedgrass as well as bluestem for color. The mix of raw woods and grasses with synthetic shapes and colors forces a moment of pause filled with unexpected sensations. In times when the kiosk is closed its shape, colors, and textures serve as a memorable destination to pause or meet friends. When not being used by vendors, the flexible interior becomes an exciting space for children, readings, and meetings. The black sheep must resemble its family enough in order to be the aberrant one while also creating enough tension to stick out. This playful tension gives the kiosk its character and intrigue, a strange oasis slowing drawing its friends inside.

Hume Coover Studio
Spring 2015
Project Team: Nathan Hume, Justin Hattendorf and Ardon Lee
Justin Hattendorf 2020