Start ups can see if their ideas will work in the boombox. by Amy Rutledge

“Launched in September – the Boombox is a first of its kind for Chicago.

Temporary tenants can use the space for a week, a month, several months, whatever they need to jump start their ideas.

The Boombox is just one component to a new program called Activate – between Katherine’s company – Latent Design – and the City of Chicago, aimed at boosting neighborhood economies.

In the next year, Katherine hopes to have two more of these micro retail kiosks up in other neighborhoods.

They will feature anything from art, furniture, books, mini museums, even musical performances – all which the Boombox has already hosted.”

“Boomboxes” are pop-up retail shops that their designers hope will enliven Chicago’s streets. by Ian Spula

“Tactical urbanism is having a moment in Chicago. In 2013 the city elected to advance arts, culture, and retail for its 49 underused pint-sized public spaces. The gig went to Latent Design, who responded to a request for proposals with a pitch for micro-retail kiosks as a way to activate forgotten bits of the public sphere. The firm spent a year working with city departments and the mayor to craft an ordinance legalizing the sale of goods and services on public rights-of-way.

Darnstadt brought the kiosk concept to design-build firm Formed Space. “Her idea was fantastic,” said Formed Space founder Conrad Szajna. “With a tight budget and quick turnaround, we chose to work with shipping containers.” Szajna sourced them from a container graveyard on the South Side for $1,000 to $3,500 a pop. He keeps to the lower end and the scrappers cut and weld onsite before delivering the modified containers to Formed Space’s warehouse.”

CHICAGO INNO  :  Chic-and-Mortar

The 10 Most Innovative Retail Spaces in Chicago. by Will Flanagan

“Activate! Chicago, a new partnership between the City of Chicago and architecture firm Latent Design, is behind the BoomBox, a prefabricated micro retail kiosk that can be easily installed in high-volume public spaces. BoomBox is designed to “providing retail opportunities for local entrepreneurs and community activators” and one is currently on display in WickerPark. Now through November, 29th, the Read/Write Library is using a BoomBox for a pop-up library.”

ACTIVATE : Boombox

Between Start up and Store front

“Boombox is a prefabricated micro retail kiosk installed in high volume public spaces to provide short term pop up retail opportunities for local entrepreneurs and community activators.

The Boombox kiosks are integrated into the urban infrastructure and potential sites would be vetted based on a variety of factors: zoning allowance, pedestrian traffic, retail vacancies, retail rent, transportation access and market density. Boombox sites have the potential to range from commercial services to civic community-based resources. The Boombox concept would expand to available storefronts across the city and provide new venues for art, architecture, and commerce in a short term model.”

DOMUS  :  Architecture from Ireland

Three emerging Irish practices presented at the Chicago Design Museum an intervention – part installation, part exhibition – related to the Biennial’s theme.

“Selected by curators Nathalie Weadick and Raymund Ryan, “New Horizon_architecture from Ireland” presents the work of three practices – A2 Architects, GKMP Architects and Ryan W. Kennihan Architects – for the first time in Chicago, as part of Irish Design 2015.

Informed by the Biennial’s theme, “The State of the Art of Architecture”, the three Irish practices have been tasked to make an intervention – part installation, part exhibition – in the Chicago Design Museum. The architects have collaborated on constructing a temporary mirrored canopy, designing and fabricating a generous communal table, and presenting a selection of work from their offices in Dublin.

The practices have planned an elegant intervention augmenting the structure of the Chicago Design Museum, taking inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe’s geometric modernism.”


“We Built This City traces the Irish involvement in building Chicago, from the famous I&M canal to the rise of the Irish culturally and politically. A generation of Irish architects came to study under Mies van der Rohe at IIT in the fifties and sixties and this has inspired Irish architects working internationally today. The film is presented by Clare Lyster, Associate Professor at UIC School of Architecture, who is a writer and urbanist based in Chicago.

We Built this City is a Dyehouse Films production, directed by Bonnie Dempsey and edited by David O’Sullivan. The film was screened as an introduction to a panel discussion about the contribution Irish people have made to the built and cultural fabric of Chicago, from historic to contemporary times, which took place at the Arts Club of Chicago on November 10th 2015.”

CURBED CHICAGO  :  Chicago Architecture Foundation 

“The Chicago Architecture Foundation is the leading organization devoted to celebrating and promoting Chicago as a center of architectural innovation. As Chicago’s forum for the exchange of ideas on urban design, CAF inspires people to participate in the building of vibrant communities and to demand the highest standard in urban design. CAF awakens young people to achieve their potential through the discovery of architecture, engineering and design.”

ARCHELLO  :  Trillium Resort & Spa

“The tower’s waterfront site is located in Guaruja, Brasil. The formal expression is inspired by the Trillium plant; a three petalled flower which exhibits its efficiency in maximizing solar exposure with minimal flowering obstruction, and minimal structure. This concept translates into an efficient tower design by maximizing resident occupancy with minimal system infrastructure. The tower tops out at 540’ with 40 levels of guestrooms, amenities including fitness-center, game rooms, indoor sky-diving, a full-service spa, and restaurants at the tower’s base and rooftop. The resort hosts 380 luxurious guest rooms ranging from 400 SF Deluxe Rooms to 800 SF Elite Suites.”