WE ❤️ DESIGN. Tours, exhibits, programs and events about Chicago architecture. Formerly the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
Chicago has more movable bridges than any city in the world. The Beaux Arts bridge houses on the Chicago River are underutilized artifacts in the city awaiting new uses. These engineering wonders provide the Chicago Department of Transportation an opportunity for new micro housing typologies and new revenue generated by tourism and education.
This speculative prototype project—called SPAN City—takes advantage of all 18 operable double leaf, trunnion bascule bridges in the 42nd ward. These bridge houses could be converted into lobby access to a series of new super housing towers which could be constructed over the bridges themselves.
SPAN City is a project with many historic precedents but illuminates in a new way the value of "air rights" (typically utilized at railroads or other open areas) as sites for other projects of radical preservation within the City of Chicago.