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  • Center for Aerial and Circus Arts

    Daniel CAVEN, Center for Aerial and Circus Arts.
    chicago ILLINOIS

    Illinois Institute of Technology

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Daniel CAVEN: Center for Aerial and Circus Arts (CACA) is located on the Northern portion of Goose Island. Situated in a busy upcoming business area of the Near North Side of Chicago, the center takes on a new symbolism of architecture, orchestrating a new typology for performers and the public-realm. The exterior form and programmatic layouts coincide with each other with rationell towards fluidity and movement. This new type of language in architecture is developed and decomposed through formal and spacial studies of the performers.

    CACA’s program incorporates several practice studio spaces that offer a superior aspect of visionary dynamics in aerial performance. In short, this allows for the floor to not only be the single surface for performances—that is, walls become apart of the performance and training. The programmatic layout is based around a central node of interaction. This creates a base point for everything around it and allows for a multi-directional plan. The users/public are able to view performances in a promenade fashion at everything vantage point. Working with a central node gives CACA an open plan that creates a social interaction from space to space; giving instructors a prominent vantage point for students. The exterior architecture is generated around a language of movement in relation to the movement that is taking place on the interior. The exterior is innovative in design, due to the hanging extremities. These loops and rafts give the performers the ability to hang off them and give outdoor performances. This sort of architecture does not limit the performers to the interior environment. The form also allows for viewing holes to the public when walking around the site, as well as a play on shadow and light. The roof of CACA is laid out to offer an outdoor theater for summer activities, as well light holes to the interior auditorium. The exterior skin is composed of an abstracted idea of symbolism giving an additional texture to form and breaking up the softness to the site. These abstractions are based off images of performers, that are thresheld, then converted to a perforated arrangement using a parametric scripting technique. During the day CACA center takes in light,then at night gives a glowing playful show. This kind of light show exerts an experiential quality to the passer by and to the site. The CACA center gives a new architecture experience to Goose Island in a new stylized way for its patrons. The center creates a new spectacle for the community as well as for the arts, breaking new ground in an untapped progressive language of architecture. The CACA center plays a major role in the world of aerial and circus arts as a symbol and language of architecture. The center is a step towards a new kind of design and a push towards a new age architecture for specialized fields.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    DC: The movements of aerial artists.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    DC: Reading Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander; listening to Opie and Anthony (Sirius 206 Ch. 103); watching House of Cards.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    DC: GRAFT, Julia Koerner, SDS, BMW.

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