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Pershing Road Recycling Center

Summer Hofford
Pershing Road Recycling Center

From the first-year graduate studio One Rusty Iron Heart: Chicago, Industry, Architecture, Spring 2019
Faculty: Francesco Marullo

About the studio:

This studio investigated the long, glorious evolution of industrial architecture in Chicago, developed in the shadow of the glamorous skyscrapers of the Loop and often considered as its monotonous yet indispensable counterpart. Chicago would not have been Chicago without its grain elevators and railway networks, its lumber yards and warehouses, its stockyards and steelyards, its tools and furniture makers, its printing rows and textile manufacturers, its electronic and pharmaceutical labs, its wholesale stores and merchandise marts, its elevated trains and logistical underbelly. The studio mapped this entrepreneurial energy and tackled current debate about the conversion of the industrial corridors into creative districts—as with Goose Island, Lincoln Yards, or Fulton Market—to meditate on the political role of architecture in valorizing the general intellect, labor force, and spirit of the city and the resources of the metropolitan area.

About the project:

This building serves as a comprehensive material-reuse project, aiming to engage the community with the recycling process, encouraging more participation, education, and enthusiasm. In conjunction with the recycling facility, a donation center on the second floor accepts used clothes, toys, electronics, furniture, books, etc., from the community to be resold and repurposed. The donation center, unlike single-stream recycling, offers a place for the public to be physically brought into the process and space. These tandem operations—the impersonal, primarily mechanized, streamlined process of single-stream recycling facility and the varied, unregulated personal donations brought in by the community—serve as a regulating guide for the organization of the building.