Steam Cleaned Space
First explorations into the nature of the Port of Chicago’s Free Trade Zone identified an inextricable link between pharmaceutical industries and privatised territories within the city. A ‘pills-eye’ view as it disappears into a drug recycling station, shows an architecture designed to sit partially onshore and partially offshore, straddling the legal sovereign boundaries of the USA.
A continuation of these territorial themes resolved itself into a space for conducting advanced chemical reactions sited in Chicago’s medical district. The architecture is defined through a series of interlocking testing rigs, and through the definition of bio-safety zones within the building. Attached to a giant medical autoclave in a nearby building, the architecture operates like a gigantic negative pressure suit, constantly pumping purified air up through the testing spaces to the chimney ‘scrubbers’ and can periodically steam clean itself through the manipulation of its mobile testing laboratories.
Inspired by the likes of the Andromeda Strain, the architecture operates as a giant schematic, a machine for experimentation that becomes a totem for the processes that take place within. Territories defined through density and thickness to protect from radioactive substances meet the gossamer edges of contained air, a landscape of ballooning surfaces, curly cables and isolated laboratories.