Making Architecture That is Engaging to a City

Chicago's Aqua Tower
Chicago’s Aqua Tower, designed by Studio Gang Architects. PHOTO BY STEVE HALL © HEDRICH BLESSING

Architect Jeanne Gang talks about sources of inspiration and the importance of architecture that engages a city:

So many times, inspiration comes from just reading about a subject and where the mind starts to take you. It starts getting more and more exciting the more that you build up that knowledge base.

The other kind of inspiration comes when you are not really trying, and you are just experiencing the city or something in nature; it is from direct observation of the world around you.

I think the most important thing has been to make architecture that is engaging to the city, to make the city a compelling place so that people want to be living in a more compact city. For example, something like the Aqua Tower…. The amenities and the architecture are working together to make the building be something that can draw people in, from empty nesters from the suburbs to students who want to live downtown, to live in a city and be close to the cultural amenities, to be close to work, and to reduce reliance on automobiles. 

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