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Transforming an empty lot into a bright and welcoming public open space in the Austin neighborhood.

ARC, a Chicago Architectural Biennial initiative, is a network of local designers, city planners, and community organizers committed to making Chicago safe, healthy, and economically resilient for all. ARC was formed in the summer of 2020, during the height of the pandemic and after the civil unrest, to help communities on the city’s south and west sides re-open during challenging times.  In a matter of weeks, ARC deployed an outdoor dining solution in Chatham, The 75th Avenue Boardwalk (75th St. – Indiana to Calumet), with the help of community leaders, volunteers, and local artists.  In 2021, our work will carry on.  By the end of the year, (5) five ARC initiatives will be complete, all focused on an equitable re-opening of Chicago.

POPCourts!, ARC’s second project, was developed in concert with Mayor Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West initiative. The goal in Austin was to create a sense of place and identity for a community with limited access to public open spaces.  The team transformed a vacant lot at the corner of W. Chicago and N. Lockwood Avenues into a place for activity, gathering, and commerce.

The project includes three zones, “Courts,” each serving various community functions, with the programming meant to be flexible, allowing activities to “Pop” up and transform over time. 

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City of Chicago


Chicago, IL


20,000 SF


  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urban Planning + Design


2022 – AIA Chicago Roberta Feldman Architecture for Social Justice Award Honoree

2022 – ULI Americas Awards for Excellence

2022 – Architizer A+ Award Finalist – Architecture + Community Category

2022 – WLA Professional Award Honoree (Built Small)

2022 – Greater Chicago Food Depository Commercial Real Estate Awards – Community Impact Project of the Year

2022 – CoreNet Real Awards – Diversity + Inclusion Winner

2022 – ASLA Illinois – Presidential Award

2021 – AIA – Film Challenge Grand Prize Winner

2021 – ASLA Central States – Merit Award

2021 – APA IL – Advancing Diversity and Social Change