Jen Harmon, Seth Ellis
Pop Up Chicago’s genesis is rooted in the idea that while Chicago is known for its Iconic Skyline, it is also a vast city comprised of many unique neighborhoods which posses their own “genus loci.” An idea that suggests each has it’s own spirit of place which is born from the inhabitants, the natural and built environment, as well a historical events which breathe life into the narratives emerging from the combination of these elements.
In Chicago, as in other American cities, urban blight and renewal much of the residential landscape was shaped by the suburbanization of industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Industries pushed out from central Chicago into the plains north of the city, and the wetlands to the south, formed magnets for new settlement. Many grew from the bottom up and a few were built from the tightly choreographed visions of the titans of industry. Nearly all attracted distinct groups of immigrants who not only imported their culture, they influenced the architectural vernacular of the communities adjacent to the factories. These new residential areas that “Popped Up” around the suburbanized industries grew up far from the heart of the city but within this interconnected web of industry and transportation. PopUp Chicago endeavors to honor the preservation of past and present constructed environments and branded identities by acknowledging and enriching the understanding of the connection between architecture, industry, and the people who built the great city of Chicago.