Chicago Biennial Lakefront Kiosk



Chicago, IL



Chicago Park District






200 sf | 19 sm



Multi-functional Kiosk









Cultrual | Recreational


Multisensory Experience via an Unexpected Wild Onion Kiosk


As part of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, a transportable lakefront kiosk which explores the intersection of architecture, art, and public engagement through a transformative multi-sensory experience was created.


Our “Chigagou” Kiosk leverages the rich history of Chicago, highlighting the origins of a city that was filled with marshes of wild onion and garlic.  The intent is to create a universal language among the people of 70+ neighborhoods with over 40 languages by engaging their visual, auditory, kinesthetic, & tactile senses. The Kiosk pays tribute to Chicago’s past, as well as unites the communities in a way that enables them to experience one space together, which hopefully bridges differences in a way that generates a better tomorrow.


The kiosk accommodates a range of commercial uses and features two service areas.  The outdoor seating could be supplemented with additional tables and chairs, which would be stored inside the Kiosk.  A rooftop fan supplements the Kiosk’s natural ventilation and the garlic and onion rooftop garden can be harvested, used by the Kiosk’s tenants as well as donated and contribute to Chicago’s Food Repository.


….the anticipated experience


As you approach the Kiosk, you begin to see a tall structure that appears to be a large Chinese paper lantern. As you continue to get closer, its shape begins to morph, as a slight smell of garlic fills the air.  The shape of an onion or garlic stalk begins to form as you see what looks like “hair” or grasses coming from the rooftop of the “lantern.”  This image is reinforced by the way-finding and Kiosk signage showcasing the wild onion/garlic artwork.  Once you arrive at the Kiosk, you locate a spot on one of the large wood benches and begin to feel the cool and soft mist coming from the side and rooftop of the Kiosk.  On these hot humid days of summer you enjoy this moment as you see families playing nearby and enjoying the Lake.


As sunset begins to set in, the movement of light coming from within the kiosk is apparent as children start to make hand puppets on the outside of the Kiosk on onto the white fabric.  You decide to test out your own shadow making ability and begin to play with the light, triggered by motion sensors.  All of a sudden, you realize that the sound is moving to the rhythm of the shadows you're creating.  A few minutes later, a crowd begins to form and join in.  The light and sound quicken as a result of the unifying orchestra like movement from the larger group.


What starts as a very personal moment of creativity and interactivity with light and sound, quickly evolves into a small group of strangers experiencing a similar moment, a significant sense of unity, connection and community.


This Kiosk leverages advancements in technology, lighting and art to create a multi-sensory experience through motion sensors that trigger the movement of light and sound. This technology becomes almost tactile in an era where virtual reality worlds are starting to become the norm and where we as humans continue to seek out our realities by being mentality, spiritually and physically present…and in the moment feeling a sense of connection to something greater.