Chicago Architecture Club 2017 Burnham Prize

Civic Projects was a collaborator with Jurassic Studio (Jen Park) and Faiza Uppal for Dome De Dome. Project selected for Exhibition as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. 

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Dome de Dome

/dum-dē-dum, dōm-dē-dōm / 

1: infers the ease and happiness of a person humming a song 

2: literally translating to “dome of domes”; multiple domes in one; house of domes 

Etymology: 21st c. < Chi-town, urban archi-speak from French, Italian, Latin, Medieval Latin and 

some Greek and the southside

Dome de dome is a playful enumeration and celebration of the past life of the St. Stephen’s church and dome. Encompassed by the dome, its new life revives the value of ‘congregation’. Dome de dome renews the significance of the dome not by recreating the formal and symbolic, but creating accessible domes of levity and joy.

History roots the new life of the dome. The segmental dome of St. Stephen’s is a hybrid of two pure forms –hemisphere and catenary. The hemisphere was used by Aldo van Eyck as a modernist jungle gym. To Aldo, the simplicity of the form allowed for children to use their imagination. The catenary arc was studied by Antoni Gaudi through his hanging chain models to understand the efficiency of material and load in pure compression. While Aldo’s domes were made for play, they were utilitarian in form. And while Gaudi’s catenary domes where utilitarian in structure, they were ornate in form. 

This inversion and lineage reciprocates in the proposed dome layers. The rigid hemispherical domes recall Aldo’s jungle gyms and the soft catenary domes recollects the studies by Gaudi. Furthermore, the wedge figuration on the inner decorative dome translates into a pivoting pattern for the new rigid domes. The original structural layering of bricks of the outer dome translates into an intricate woven pattern for the new soft domes. The open oculi of each are layered to allow for climbing and lounging between. At the top layer, one gazes at an animated projection of the dome’s life in metamorphosis. 

The singular becomes the multiple renewing its presence at an approachable scale and recalling its lineage. The structural and ornamental are intertwined and reconceived as armatures for animation. And the once formal and spiritual is reborn as a lively, imaginative space for the neighborhood to congregate. 

Minjung Ku