Projects

Comiskey Commons

Chicago, Illinois

    Client

  • Chicago Architecture Center

    Project Size

  • N/A

UNDERSTANDING THE CHALLENGE

In their public showcase “Between States – 50 Designers Transform Chicago’s Neighborhoods”, the Chicago Architecture Center challenged local firms to develop community-based design solutions that reimagine underappreciated and underperforming spaces in the city. The Ghafari team contemplated the transformation of the area surrounding Guaranteed Rate Field (home of the Chicago White Sox) into a vibrant sports-oriented urban destination. Drawing inspiration from successful sports-related venues such as San Diego’s Petco Park, we sought to develop a meaningful context to fill the void created by the area’s excess of parking lots.

TAILORING THE SOLUTION

Our proposal – titled “Comiskey Commons” in recognition of the stadium’s heritage – converts the area’s existing parking lots into highly textured multi-use city blocks of flexible modular units. We reimagined the stadium’s outer perimeter as a pedestrian-friendly buffer / promenade with links to adjoining neighborhood streets, sidewalks, and public spaces. Our concept adjusts the stadium’s parking program to meet current demand while being adaptable to other uses in response to future transportation technologies, such as expanded public transit, ride sharing, and autonomous vehicles. An attractive and highly visible public space is positioned adjacent to the stadium, imparting a sense of local identity throughout the year. Our plan also positions an iconic high-rise residential tower to accentuate this identity both within the neighborhood and at a distance.

SUPPORTING WHAT MATTERS

Today, Guaranteed Rate Field represents the last of the “lump-in-a-parking-lot” generation of stadiums, leaving a significant number of city blocks vacant for 75 percent of the year. Comiskey Commons proposes a contextually relevant but neighborhood-oriented development, positioning the stadium as the central feature of a broader, functionally-integrated community.