Lakefront Kiosk Competition




Chicago Architecture Biennial


Lisa Little, Wes Jones, Kristy Velasco

BlurBots is a series of proposed lakefront kiosks for the shoreline of Chicago. This collaboration between Vertebrae and J,P:A is a competition entry for the Chicago Architecture Biennial. The pavilions mark eddies of activity along the shoreline of the Chicago lakefront: from a distance they appear blurred, their outlines fuzzy and indistinct, but as the visitor approaches, beckoned by their subtle coloration and inviting demeanor their fuzziness resolves into…an even greater but engaging complexity: completely functional kiosks that transcend mundane commercial expectations, emerging from the city fabric to become a striking new icon for Chicago. This is interactive public art on the urban scale.

At once functional architecture and large scale art installation, this proposal takes advantage of economic fabrication methods borrowed from industry, including laser cutting, powder-coating, and industrial metal brake folding. Using generative scripting technology in combination with digital fabrication, inputs like sign waves are transformed into physical metal forms that suggest blades of grass or stegosaurus fins to proliferate a series of BlurBots for all the seasons of the year.

In addition to scripts written to vary the amplitude of the sine curve “waves” in a random pattern, manual interventions and adjustments are made during the design phase blurring the line between the generative process and human artistic agency. The outcome is the irregularity and fuzziness that give this collaborative art project its distinct identity.