Passage, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 2015

Realized as part of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, Passage is a reflection on the spatial qualities of the ramp. As a connection of horizontal planes, the ramp is inherently an ambiguous, in-between space. Often unnoticed in daily life, the ramp presents itself as an opportunity for disruption.

The experience of being on a ramp is clearly directional, up or down and its change in gradient subtly affects one's sense of self. In response to a perceived incline and distance, our navigational sense corrects one’s movement by adjusting pace and posture. This installation endeavors to interrupt this ingrained response by heightening an awareness of one’s body in space.

Passage consists of a series of portals that envelop the space of the ramp at the Chicago Cultural Center and an aerial photograph of the Chicago skyline —taken by Iwan Baan— that spans the length of the ramp. Each portal is a unique form and shape. When seen from a distance, the overall structure increases the volumetric presence of the ramp. Traversing through the space, the sequence of portals unfolds as individual picture frames, establishing a sense of pace and rhythm to one’s movement, and revealing glimpses of the photographed city beyond the portals. The repetition of frames slows or accelerates the perception of movement and their varied heights shift the perception of perspective.

The installation is composed of standard, off-the-shelf steel studs—an omnipresent architectural component that is seldom visible and typically beneath layers of drywall and insulation. Daylight from two large, glazed openings highlights the reflective surface of the portals and the individual presence of each frame.

Prolonging the experience of transitioning from one state to another, the installation reimagines the everyday experience of encountering a ramp into something anew.

Chicago Architecture Biennial

Chicago, Illinois, USA


Completed, 2015

Florian Idenburg, Jing Liu, Ilias Papageorgiou, Pietro Pagliaro, Lucie Rebeyrol, Kerim Miskavi, Kevin Lamyuktseung, Molly Minot Hubley, Danny Duong

Photography: Iwan Baan
Videography: Underscore Films
Installation: Methods and Materials

Passage, Installation view
Passage, Installation view
Passage, Installation view
Passage, Installation view
Passage, Installation view
Passage, Installation view
Passage, Axonometric view
Passage, Plan