Crossing the (Finish) Lines(s)

Proposals for the Chicago Marathon

2019 — Chicago Prize Honorable Mention

Urban Design; Architectural Design

There is no athletic event more entangled with the lines of our urban fabric and the complex forces and bodies that make up the built environment than the historical and contemporary marathon. This project draws and re-draws the strict 26.2-mile raceway of a marathon and its surrounding spheres of influence to interrogate, narrate, and speculate upon multiple layers, scales, and identities of Chicago’s culture.

What if the Chicago Marathon did not repeat the same course every year? Alternative routes and infrastructure for the annual race event are opportunities to activate underrepresented regions of the city, while celebrating a variety of public interests and agendas, as well as existing building stock and social capital. We propose a set of new lines for novel marathon trajectories that crisscross existing political and community boundaries in order to inspire new pleasurable cultural connections across space and time.

The existing Chicago Marathon traverses the the city’s well-trafficked lakeside “front yard” year after year. By re-routing the race through a greater breadth of Chicago's neighborhoods, the Marathon in diaspora might bolster its exuberant civic spirit and economic uplift to a more equitable and expansive reach. With a new line drawn every year and a series of support kiosks to provide amenities for both racers and the event’s 1.7 million spectators, the Chicago Marathon becomes a vehicle to dissect, activate, and celebrate the significant plurality of geography and peoplehood that make up our great city.

Choose your Finish Line.