Floating World Gallery

Distinguished Building Award Submission

The project, a gallery for Japanese contemporary art, is located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The challenge was to create a quiet space to view artwork amidst a bustling urban area.

The owners requested that the gallery be on the second level of the existing 1920’s structure allowing for a commercial tenant at ground level. To accomplish this, only three of the existing exterior walls and ceilings were retained. A new entry was created within the eight-foot gangway separating the building from its residential neighbor to the south.

A garden path along the south side begins the entry sequence to the gallery. Upon arrival, the all bamboo stair “capsule” transports the participant into the cerebral world of the gallery, and symbolizes the idea of the “floating world”.

The building’s new front facade is a minimal plane of natural cleft slate from Vermont, which extends beyond the confines of the existing brick south wall.

Upon completion of the second floor, the owners decided to create another gallery on the ground floor. A new challenge arose – how to provide two galleries and differentiate them – one public, more experimental gallery for the neighborhood and a private gallery for the cognoscenti.

S. Conger Architects LLC
Bill and Roberta Stein
  • dbHMS
  • Rockey Structures
General contractor
W.E. O'Neil Construction
Chicago, Illinois