Here at Nook, we have a passion for people, places and properties. There is a reason that we say people first, for what makes a neighborhood special if not the people who live there? Welcome to #TastemakerTuesday, where we’ll feature the visionaries in our favorite nooks who are dedicated to building a better community through their talents.
Studio Gang displays a bold statement on their homepage: An architecture and urban design practice, “We help people, organizations, and cities design their futures.” Many of the architects we’ve profiled, like Zaha Hadid and Ma Yansong, have strong visions of the future of cities and the relationship between urban living and architecture, and so it is interesting to see how Studio Gang works with city leaders to plan for the future desired by those who live there.
Jeanne Gang founded Studio Gang after forging an architectural career that prioritizes relationships, specifically between individuals, communities, and environments. Her designs of creative spaces like the Taipei Pop Music Center, Bengt Bjortstrom Starlight Theater and the Writers Theatre in Illinois are artistic in and of themselves. They offer artists and administrators alike the opportunity to be inspired by their environment and not have to search for a muse within concrete walls that could just as easily be a call center.
The team at Studio Gang also made sure their own space holds beauty and allows for the flow of creative energy to pass. Their Chicago office had an empty rooftop, like most buildings that house offices. Studio Gang didn’t just see that as a fine protective roof over their heads for harsh Chicago weather, however; they transformed it into “a transparent pavilion nestled in a prairie garden and the surrounding skyline. The space hosts a revolving series of events, public and private, where people come together to learn, discuss, create, and celebrate, sharing food and drink while immersed in the city.”
Sharing ideas instead of just hoarding her own as proprietary seems to be Jeanne Gang’s golden touch. Perhaps it comes from her time as a MacArthur Fellow, teaching as the John Portman Design Critic at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, or serving in an advisory capacity for many civic and design committees in her community. By integrating the Treehouse into their building, Studio Gang assured that anyone who wants a unique and interesting venue not only has the exact space they need but also the people who understand your goals. They bring new ideas from all sorts of industries into their studio, and also travel internationally to share these ideals, collaborating with exciting innovators in the architecture, design field and beyond.
To get a physical idea of the impact that Studio Gang has had on Chicago, look no further than the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago, completed in 2009. Boat tours in Chicago will often make a point to show showcase its 82 story undulating curves, pointing out how the skyscraper is mixed use, built of a fascinating combination of materials. All of Studio Gang’s buildings feel like they’re moving, and were designed with the changing seasons of Chicago in mind through their invitations for natural light and ecological uses. Continuing the philosophy that all good ideas should be shared and improved upon, Studio Gang even publishes their research for others to use.
It’s clear that Jeanne Gang and her impressive team aren’t just in this industry to design beautiful buildings, but change the ways we interact with our places and improve cities for future generations.
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Photo credit: Studio Gang Website