Studio Gang is a widely recognized and respected architecture firm with offices in Chicago and New York. They are responsible for many worldly structures, including local Chicago icons, the Aqua Tower and Northerly Island. The Conservation Center is honored to have collaborated with Studio Gang on the design of our state-of-the-art conservation facility.
The framework for Northerly Island was developed for the Chicago Park District to transform a 91-acre man-made peninsula into an exciting public park and living ecosystem. Jeanne Gang's Northerly Island Drawings show a range of habitat types, demonstrating Studio Gang's aim to maximize biodiversity within the perimeter zones.
Jeanne Gang describes the Northerly Island project below:
"As a public park open year-round, it was crucial to understand how people and nature could come together at Northerly for mutual benefit and enjoyment. We collaborated very closely with a variety of experts and listened closely to community members to design the Northerly plan. The experts helped us understand how different combinations of plantings and landscape features support different kinds of animal life, and how to best estimate how these habitats will change over time. We also held community meetings to hear directly from Chicagoans about the activities and experiences they wanted to have at Northerly—from kayaking to skating to camping under the stars—and then designed ways that these activities could be integrated with the ecological environments."
In Jeanne Gang's Northerly Island Drawings, The Center’s conservators noted moderate distortion throughout the sheets and a slight layer of surface soiling, creasing, and folds. These issues were addressed in treatment through a light surface cleaning. The drawings were also humidified and flattened locally in areas of creasing using filtered water, blotters, and weights while retaining traces of historic use. After treatment, the framing department secured the drawings using sympathetic hinges and museum quality framing for future display.
The Aqua Tower is an 82-story mixed-use tower known for its “wavy” balconies, which encourage neighbors to meet amidst a great view of the city. Jeanne Gang's drawings show each side of the tower, narrating how its balconies allow residents varying views of downtown Chicago landmarks.
Jeanne Gang provides insight on the Aqua Tower project:
"We wanted to create a high-rise building that could become a vertical neighborhood, giving people the social community and connections with the outdoors that are more naturally found when living closer to the ground. So we began Aqua’s design by using models and sketches to explore how the building’s façade could move in and out—creating a topography of 'hills,' 'valleys,' and 'pools'—that could become outdoor social spaces with views of special Chicago landmarks."
Further demonstrating its relationship with nature, the Aqua Tower is home to one of Chicago's largest green roofs. By incorporating such features, the architecture firm was able to foster an environment conducive for both sociability and experiencing the natural world.
During examination at The Center, it was apparent that the Aqua Tower Drawings were utilized regularly as evidenced by the hole punches, various handling dents, and pinhole areas on the sheets. Apart from the aforementioned conditions, the drawings were in overall good condition prior to treatment. Similar to the treatment of the Northerly Islands Drawings, the sheets were surface cleaned and sympathetic hinges, reflective of the inherent qualities of the sheets, were added. New museum quality framing brought the treatment to conclusion.