The elevated rail system run by the CTA is the 4th largest rapid transit system in the US and has been voted one of the seven wonders of Chicago. Machining Chicago proposes a CTA maintenance facility in the Chicago Loop serves as a blue-collar symbol against the increasing marginalisation of Chicago’s rail workforce. The project posits an architecture of infrastructural materiality and industrial heft that re-emphasises the layered spaces of Chicago created by the city’s relationship to technology. The buildings nestles between high-rise buildings in the loop with new tracks tying into the existing elevated rail network creating a new ground plane. The materials used embody the history of rail technology such as the use of Cor-Ten steel – once the material choice in eliminating the need for painting. The building is set out on a grid allowing visual connections between each component part; the stacked spaces relate to the hierarchy of the organisation with ‘the union’ occupying the highest level. The elevated rail track forms the backdrop to each scene – much like its use in film to orient the audience location – and acts as a reference point for the building layout and the benchmark for the maintenance of Chicagoan infrastructure.
Mixed viewpoints within each illustration describe the mania present in the myriad visual connections between glowing maintenance workshops, beeping control rooms and smoky union staff hangouts.
Doug’s second year work was awarded the Victor Kite Award for Design Technology.