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Chicago Architecture Center
Written By Chicago Architecture Center

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

SHED Studio


Popster is a framework for modular architectural objects that can get bigger or smaller, depending on how the community members wish to use them. They allow people to inhabit new places away from their typical pathways. These modular systems vary in purpose: seating, wifi or charging stations, planter benches, tiny parklets or mini pop-up markets.

The benefit of Popster is twofold. First, the objects enhance neighborhoods by adding enjoyable spaces to read a book, take a call, do some work or gather with friends. The structures graft onto existing infrastructure and ideally generate their own power for public electronics charging, retail uses, and playful lighting.

Popster’s second benefit is the process employed for crowdsourcing the design, purpose, and end users. Community members play an essential role in identifying their needs and the services or assets they desire. Local youth are directly involved in the production and installation of the objects. 

Because Popster is less about the end form and more about the process for community engagement in design and execution, the neighbors involved become makers themselves, acting as catalysts for something greater.

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