The “site” is on the 58th and 59th floor of a Michigan Avenue high rise, and is dominated by the looming dark mass of the John Hancock Tower to the north. The apartment is divided between “ceremonial” and functional spaces. In the beginning the apartment was considered as a single space within the demising walls. In this space two idealized boxes were inserted: one of metal, one of wood; one on the first level, the other on the second. These containers define the ceremonial space within the apartment. Each box is impossibly thin, containing just barely enough substance to retain their form.
In homage to the John Hancock Building, each box is warped by the Tower’s imagined gravitational pull. The aluminum shell is defined by a series of straight lines which are either orthogonal to either the city grid or the angled sides of the Tower. The curves of the wood shell are tangent to an imagined circle passing through the four outer corners of the Hancock.
The leftover space between the walls of these new containers and the outer apartment walls would provide the bare minimum of space for the “messy” functions needed for sleeping, cooking, bathing and storage. The details evolved from these basic concepts. Almost every surface of each container is hinged providing access to the different functional areas. The stair to the second floor is so thin it defies explanation. The media center wants to be both idealized and functional, and has attached itself to one of the pivoting metal panels where it functions as part of both the sleeping and bathing area, but can also intrude on the ceremonial space.
Photography © Barbara Karant