Displaced Thresholds

5635 S Monitor Ave Chicagoundefined

Reclaiming Public Space/Displaced Thresholds
Chicago Architecture Center
Written By Chicago Architecture Center

WE ❤️ DESIGN. Tours, exhibits, programs and events about Chicago architecture. Formerly the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Norman Kelley


The Federal Aviation Administration refers to a “displaced threshold” as a point on an airport runway other than the designated beginning of the runway. The 23rd Ward encompasses Midway International Airport; an airport so small that it is required to use special graphics (like arrows and dashed lines) to make its runways safe.

This proposal extends Midway's runway language by imagining the streets surrounding the airport as a canvas for similar graphic opportunities: the ward as public art project. During winter, when the city is blanketed in white, its snow plows might imagine part of their task as more than a necessity: making marks that are organized into super-scale drawings. 

They may not be visible from the ground, but from above—say in a plane, streets might look like the tracks of running children, and intersections may read like X’s marking the city's relentless grid. The overall effect could suggest to arriving/departing visitors that in Chicago, streets and public works are more than just infrastructure.

See all 50 visionary projects at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago.

Reclaiming Public Space

Displaced Thresholds

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