Bringing awareness to a 100-year vision for the Great Lakes

Great Cities, Great Lakes, Great Basin
Exhibition and Information Design
2013
SOM

Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing

Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing


In 2009, SOM began a pro-bono initiative to protect the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and Gulf Watershed: The Great Lakes Century Vision Plan.

Great Cities, Great Lakes, Great Basin builds on the research, planning, and engagement efforts of this Vision. Working under the creative and art direction of 3st design practice and collaborating, and collaborating with members of the urban planning studio and the International Secretariat for Water (ISW), I helped bring this vision to life through material research, mapping, prototyping, storyboarding, and graphic refinement.

Enquist (SOM's Urban Design and Planning Partner) wanted to create a "global classroom" in the first floor gallery space of Chicago’s historic Santa Fe Building by surrounding CAF's Chicago City Model with 15-feet tall panels. Content was culled from over five years of research and woven into a story about awareness and responsibility for the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and Gulf Watershed.

To draw the connection between CAF's Chicago City Model and the Great Cities, Great Lakes, Great Basin exhibition, plinths were designed to call-out both private and public initiatives surrounding city design, mobility, water, energy, public works, ecology and the River. The plinths were placed directly into the 3D model, calling viewers to consider the relationship between their city and watershed.

Role
Conceived 3D prototypes and storyboard iterations
Refined GIS vector data to create super graphics of current-day forests, wetlands, urban areas, and agriculture
Coordinated printing and fabrication of the 15x30’ graphics that “wrapped” an existing truss structure, framing CAF’s Chicago City Model

Exhibition Partners
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)
International Secretariat for Water (ISW)
Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF)

Creative and Art Direction
Thirst

Printing and installation
TenFab

The flow of movement through the space was mapped to understand entry points, tourist traffic, tenant traffic, height restrictions, and optimal viewing points.

Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing  We created a "global classroom" by wrapping CAF's existing truss structure in bold, super graphics printed on tension fabric.

Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing
We created a "global classroom" by wrapping CAF's existing truss structure in bold, super graphics printed on tension fabric.

Tom Harris © Hedrich Blessing
As senior designer, I refined GIS vector data to create super graphics that mapped forests, wetlands, urban areas, and agriculture throughout the watershed.

To incorporate the 3D Chicago city model and the Great Lakes vision, plinths were designed to encourage viewers to consider the relationship between their city and watershed.

Plinths call out both private and public initiatives surrounding city design, mobility, water, energy, public works, ecology and the River. The plinths call