The space underneath Chicago’s elevated tracks is getting re-purposed as a public space, named the Low Line.
PORT Urbanism was tapped to design the concept for the area beneath Paulina Street and Ashland Avenue by the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce. The firm is known for bright, colorful designs and turning underutilized space into functional, engaging areas.
As for the Low Line project, PORT has planned a half-mile long walkway and garden with the goal of connecting the neighborhood. The idea was first proposed back in 2011 but it took a few years for the project to get off the ground. PORT released renderings of the playful vision which include space for art installations, large murals, modern seating, a wavy metal canopy that hides the unsightly tracks, interactive art pieces and a brick and crushed stone pathway.
PORT is a design consultancy that works primarily on new forms of public space from plazas, parks, waterfronts and helps implement planning strategies. Their clients include Active Transportation Alliance, the Art Institute, Chicago Ideas Week, Perkins + Will, and the Chicago Architecture Biennial. They also worked with the Chicago Loop Alliance to transform alleyways into pop-up parties featuring art and music as part of the ACTIVATE program.