Fast Company — “Five Big Ideas From the Chicago Architecture Biennial”

October 8, 2015

Fast Company interviews Jeanne Gang about the Studio’s Chicago Architecture Biennial project, Polis Station.

“‘The two prongs are police station becomes community center’ and police officers are ‘atomized’ and become part of the community,’ she says. Her conceptual proposal includes things like having computers with public Internet access in the stations; constructing shared athletic facilities; building police housing in neighborhoods where there’s an abundance of vacant properties; planting community gardens. Gang points out that some current policy might not make some of these proposals feasible. For example, in New York City officers cannot live in the precincts they patrol. Moreover, there was no client; the firm could let its ideas run wild. However, much of this is actionable. One of the suggestions, turning parking lots into basketball courts, was actually built at a Lawndale police station and was met with excitement when it opened this weekend. That said, Gang views the Polis Station as a more potent conversation starter than a blueprint.

‘We need something,’ she says. ‘The violence in the neighborhoods is really intense and the conflicts between the police and community are more visible. This is a great time to try and take on this issue from multiple vantage points ... Developing relationships and building trust—that's where architecture can have a strong impact.’”

Read more at FastCo.Design

The Polis Station process included a “Round Table” event with students from the Al Raby Public High School, where we learned about the spaces and programs they want to see in their neighborhood.