South Shore Beach House

South Shore Beach House was commissioned by the Chicago Park District in 2017 and serves Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. Located on the same site as the South Shore Cultural Center landmark, the structure takes a modern but elegant turn, with clean horizontal lines inspired by the lake horizon beyond. The 2500 SF structure is a seasonal building that also changes with the seasons. The parti shifts as the ever-changing dunes around the site: the lifeguard pavilion shifting forward toward the beach for optimized site lines, and a concessions/bathroom pavilion steps back, allowing views up the beautiful coastline.

The concept was to create a structure with a light footprint that responded to its context; a seasonal building that changes with the seasons. The parti for the project shifts as the ever-changing dunes around it, with the lifeguard pavilion stepping forward toward the beach for optimized site lines, exposing the location for a future community mural to the beachside of the building for patio occupants to enjoy; and a concessions and bathroom pavilion stepping back, allowing views up the coastline, sharing access to golfers utilizing the newly re-designed, championship South Shore Golf Course currently in late planning stages.

A floating canopy, rising out of a thoughtful stepped back parapet detail, connects the buildings, providing a framed view of the shoreline; a formal entry sequence. It acts as shelter for the junior lifeguard program during training exercises, when 300 students may be in attendance. The large overhead doors, clad in a durable but warm cedar-like material, open the building daily to beachgoers and golfers, providing integral shading devices for the building during the hot, sunny summers; while also remaining a beautiful feature when the building is closed for the season. Concessions serve the beachgoers during the summer, from early spring and into late fall they are designed to serve the ‘turn’ at the golf course, nestled in at the 9th hole. The lifeguard pavilion, connected but separate, is designed to be decommissioned for the season while the concessions and restrooms can remain open to serve golfers well into the fall.