Rainbow Beach Park Beach Houses


Rainbow Beach Park Beach Houses


Chicago, Illinois

Rainbow Beach is a half-mile-long crescent of sand and surf on Chicago's South Side where a teeming urban community comes to play in Lake Michigan. The beach buildings activate this spectacular park with new rest rooms, a lifeguard station and a concession stand that celebrate the spirit of their superb natural setting. Simple forms splay towards the lake and the distant Loop skyline, embracing the beach's sweeping curve, shaping zones for entry, lounging, picnicking and playing.  Horizontal beams repeat the lake's rhythmically undulating flatness; angled booms launch puffs of opalescent clouds into the sky.  Materials are tough, durable, undressed, "beachy":  sand-colored ground-face concrete block heaped like dunes; silver-painted steel glistening like sun-bleached driftwood; rippled waves of translucent, corrugated fiberglass shimmering like billowing clouds. We wanted the spirit to be playful:  splashing, bubbling water; wind-tilted parasols; sun-faded beach towels; buoyant beach balls; flip-up sunglasses.



2002 AIA Chicago Distinguished Building Award

Chicago's Urban Nature: A Guide to the City's Architecture and Landscape, Sally Kitt Chappell (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007)

AIA Guide to Chicago, A Sinkevitch (Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2004)

www.aiachicago.org, 2002

Why Architecture Matters, B Kamin (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001)

The City in a Garden: A Photographic History of Chicago's Parks, J Sniderman Santa Fe, NM: Center for American Places, 2001)

Chicago Tribune, 08.17.1999




Chicago Park District


Completed 1999

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Project Data

Area/Budget: 2,900sf / $1,000,000

Scope: 2,900sf buildings with concessions, lifeguard station & comfort stations on Lake Michigan

Project Team: David Woodhouse, David Poorman (project architect), Rob Chambers, Rebekah Ebeling, Marsha Woodhouse

Nayyar & Nayyar International (structural); H S Nachman Associates and Primera Engineers (mep); Jackson, Tull & Graham (civil); Michele McKay (landscape); Capital Control Systems (cost); Carnow, Conibear & Associates (environmental); Rudnick & Company (general contractor)

Photographer: Barbara Karant; Tricia Koning