The Lakeview Low-Line transforms the maintenance path under the Chicago Transit Authority elevated tracks between the Southport and Paulina Brown Line stations into a continuous, half-mile long art walk and garden. The first phase of the project was completed in the summer of 2018 and was primarily focused on the renovation of the Paulina Brown Line CTA Station Entrance Plaza.
Taking formal cues from the track structure itself, we developed a collection of custom urban furniture. The design called for a new approach to urban furnishings that synthesize overhead cover, sound mitigation, lighting, seating and vending. The bright yellow rectangular boxes—which we call “cubbies”—are playful takes on a vendor booth, a picnic table, a wavy bench, and a lean-to. To further distinguish the space, we took advantage of the existing canopy to hang perforated metal scallops encompassed by a bright yellow ribbon that creates a dynamic overhead surface, inviting visitors into the space and enhancing the quality of the lighting.
The long-term Low-Line project intends to transform this space into a continuous, half-mile long art walk and garden beneath the CTA ‘L’ tracks, allowing it to become a new community amenity and unique connector between the Lincoln Ave. and Southport commercial corridors. The Lakeview section of the Low Line is also a prototypical project – with more than 35 miles of CTA-controlled overhead track in Chicago, there is vast potential to use modest interventions like the Low Line to enhance safety and bring a sense of spectacle and charm to otherwise neglected spaces.
Construction was completed by the CTA as an in-kind donation to the project; working directly with the CTA management and contractor team required a unique construction documents and administration process in comparison to traditional projects. Artists Yollocalli and Lauren Asta have transformed the walls of the two adjacent buildings that frame each side of the plaza with amazing murals. Phase 2 of the Low Line is currently under construction and is expected to open in 2020.
Name of the project: Lakeview Low Line Phase 1
Project category: Public Project
Project location: 3411 N Paulina St, Chicago, IL 60657, USA
Design year: 2017-2018
Year Built: 2018