A quick acknowledgment of a faint signal from the usually noisy Dezeen: O+A's “conceptual floating swimming platform for the river IJ in Amsterdam.”

UUrban Beach - “conceptual floating swimming platform for the river

We wouldn't mind seeing several of these “urban beaches” plopped down on Chicago's lakefront beaches, perhaps as a sort of super designery groynes to slow the erosion of alien sand. Weighty, crisp and angular, one could be mistaken for believing that a Tony Smith sculpture has been appropriated as an infrastructure of leisure — or that it's inspired by disused, water-filled Midwestern quarries re-purposed into swimming and diving hot spots. (If Studio Gang can unconvincingly claim that Aqua was somewhat inspired by Great Lakes geomorphology, then we can similarly go grocery shopping for referents.)

UUrban Beach - “conceptual floating swimming platform for the river

Of course, a better proposition would be to liberally sprinkle them on the banks of the Chicago River, as this would necessitate mitigating water pollution and massive rezoning, which also would require equally monumental alteration of the city's rotten political landscape — all precursors we definitely wouldn't mind seeing coming to pass (with or without an urban beach in the end).

In fact, we're beguiled by the possibility (however remote) of O+A's jagged shorelines spurring or accelerating profound changes in how Chicago relates to its river. Some cities buried theirs under soil and concrete; Chicago, for the most part, turned its back to it, cordoning off public access with a veil of industrial and commercial thicket, made more exclusive by bubble-era condominiums and converted lofts. With some choice editing of its brief, this Urban Beach would thus be rescripted as a vision of a “forever free and clear” Chicago River, a battle cry to daylight our river, an antidote to our collective alluvial amnesia.

Urban Beach - “conceptual floating swimming platform for the river

Related Posts with Thumbnails