Andrés López Franco earned his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in 2007. Andrés is interested in cultural and performance venues and how these can be redesigned to act as agents for social change and inclusion.
Cultural spaces like museums, performance venues and theaters have had important roles in society that have evolved throughout time making these places today an interesting option for becoming agents that can address social issues and contribute to the development and strengthening of diverse communities and cities while stepping away from the historic notion of the fortress-like cultural building for the elite. Chicago's Cultural and Performance Belt: building for Social Change and Rethinking the Role of Cultural and Public Spaces within the Urban Field is intended to develop a cultural and social infrastructure embedded within the boulevard park system of Chicago, creating inclusion and redefining the nature of cultural spaces into more horizontal, permeable and approachable places.
Chicago is a diverse territory but at the same time is one of the most segregated cities today. By following a non-centralized strategy and bringing the cultural infrastructure to the limits where the actual segregation happens, Chicago’s Cultural and Performance Belt is a place that gathers people offering them a rich cultural program where they can learn, participate, and experience while being in a diverse environment of equal opportunities that creates in the citizens a strong sense of belonging.
The project exhibited is a proposal for a first phase of Chicago’s Cultural and Performance Belt taking place in Douglas Park. The proposal offers a space that connects the urban fabric with the rest of the park establishing a natural flow throughout the site where different cultural experiences can take place in an inviting landscape for performing and entertainment as well as for learning and living. This open, approachable and permeable place is an experiment of what cultural venues can transcend to, going beyond their roles and becoming places that generate inclusion and build equality in a diverse and segregated city.
(Master of Architecture)