Chicago Architecture Biennial

Lakefront Kiosk Competition

2015. March

Architect : Simplex Architecture


The Chicago Lakefront Kiosk will be accommodating a commercial function that is needed for the public visiting the lakefront. Chicago’s lakefront is one of the most popular gathering space for the public, and the new kiosk will enhance the cultural life of the lakefront.

The vendors utilizing the kiosk may change from year to year, and if the kiosk is specifically designed for certain type of vendors, the kiosk may have to be either renovated or rebuilt. Our proposal, TRANSCUBE, investigates the new type of convertible kiosk that can reduce the unnecessary energy use and accommodate as many types of vendors as possible. 

TRANSCUBE is a convertible kiosk that can change its form in regards to the function. If one of the vendors selling the beverages decided to move out and another vendor wanted to use the kiosk for the surf rentals, he can easily change its form by himself to meet his needs. Even when the vendors don’t change, they also have flexibility in changing the form in order to accommodate the consumers’ needs. For instance, the kiosk may need to have more shades or opening, or may need to accommodate more seating area.

The TRANSCUBE consists of 2,006 pieces of 1” x 2” x 3’-8” pine lumber boards that are connected to each other with metal rods. These lumber boards form 3’-6” module center to center, excluding the 1” edge on each side, and 4 of these 3’-6” module on all 6 side create 14’ x 14’ x 14’ cube. Each lumber board has two ½” diameter holes on each side as well as 3/8” cut which will be made by CNC milling. These cuts enable the lumber boards to be detached from the metal rods and rotate 90 degrees to change its form. 42 wood slats creating 7’ length are grouped together and assembled with Alloy Steel Plate. This not only provides the overall structural stability, but also prevents the wood slats from full rotation and stop and the right angle. By detaching the group of these wood slats from the metal rod and rotating them, the vendors can create more openings, shelves for interior space, service area, etc.

The unit module of the lumber boards can be altered from 3’-6” to 1’-2” center to center, which is 1’-4” long including the 1” edge on each side. This is 1/3 of the original 3’-6” module. This smaller module gives more freedom in changing the shape of the kiosk, especially since this module can accommodate siting area. Although the lakefront is heavily used by public during the summer season, the kiosk may lose its function during the off season month. By completely changing its form with the smaller module, the kiosk can provide a performance area with seating, or provide a space for various activities including the off season. For instance, the wall of the kiosk can be turned into slopes for the kids to ride a sleigh during the winter. These changes enable the kiosk to be used throughout the year as needed, with completely different purposes.

The wood slats consisting the kiosk provide an interesting appearance, and these also cast versatile patterns of the shadow created by sunlight to both interior and exterior space. The combination of the wood slat kiosk itself and the shades created by the kiosk will attract visitors and vitalize the lakefront throughout the year.

The TRANSCUBE is easily transportable to a different location. It can either be moved as a whole, or dissembled from the steel rod and re-assembled at the other location. It is also easily expandable with more lumber board pieces for the future expansion.

The kiosk can be used as a community center or exhibition space during the Chicago Architecture Biennial. The form can also be changed from time to time during the Architecture Biennial to show the multi-functional aspect of the kiosk.