WE ❤️ DESIGN. Tours, exhibits, programs and events about Chicago architecture. Formerly the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
The “Backyard Arcade” transforms the uninspiring private backside of homes into a public space that promotes entrepreneurship and sharing under one spectacular new roof. This project looks “back” in two ways to find a way forward. A commercial arcade space—more common in earlier centuries—is combined with the backyard of our Chicago residential blocks.
The arcade is a covered passageway or street often lined with shops on the ground floor and second story offices or workrooms. Arcades were known for selling specialty goods within a special environment. The most notable outcome of the arcade was how private developer space became an active public space.
Our backyards are a fitting site for this low-rise development where both residents and developers are invested in its success. The ornament that currently decorates neighborhood buildings in the area helps to give roots and identity to this new commercial and community center.