606 Trail, Chicago
10,000 Sq. Ft
As part of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial the city opened its newly created Bloomingdale Trail, a public park built on top of an existing (though no longer used) train track that cuts through several neighborhoods in the Wicker Park area. The project succeeded in revitalizing abandoned infrastructure but lacks dimension or variation throughout, and has no public restrooms. The “S” Room is a restroom facility for the 606 Trail that meets a variety of programmatic and site specific criteria, and challenges the linearity of the railway with a dynamic form where movement and rest can exist simultaneously.
The square-footage requirement called for a larger area than the footprint of the 606 itself. To avoid having to stretch the program out even longer, the footprint of the “s” room is contoured to its placement in the site; No trees or existing structures would have to be removed to accommodate the facility. The resulting dynamic shape gives the project its nickname.
The project was introduced with an awareness of voyeurism central to the residential neighborhood it inhabits. The brise soleil maintains the privacy of both its users and the residents living around the 606. Access to the street level is limited to help decrease the amount of pedestrian traffic outside of the surrounding houses.