Chicago Biennial '15
For the inaugural Chicago Biennial, UrbanLab presented Filter Island. The project proposes a new public space for Chicago based on an intractable challenge to its physical form. On a semi-regular basis, intense rainstorms overwhelm the Chicago River, which leads to raw sewage overflowing into Lake Michigan (Chicago’s drinking water supply). Filter Island cleans this toxic overflow by filtering pollutants in a series of large-scale wetlands and bio-pools. Once the river water is decontaminated, it is safely discharged into the lake. Filter Island is also a recreational park filled with swimming pools, water parks, sports courts, and playgrounds. Beaches, walking trails and breakwaters wrap the island providing visitors with stunning views of the city and Lake Michigan. Rather than hiding the water cleaning process, which is standard operating procedure in most cities, Filter Island reveals it as a monumental infrastructural landscape. Additionally, Filter Island prevents many invasive species from traveling between Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.
Photos by David Schalliol and UrbanLab.