windowless bldgHow do you fit infrastructure into a city that values beauty?

That’s a question – and challenge – that is consistently posed to architects tasked with designing infrastructure buildings.

Cities like Chicago, New York, and LA have a wealth of attractions aimed at tourists. And the city’s residents pride themselves on snagging aesthetically pleasing condos right in the heart of it all. The last thing businesses and residents want are visible corridors of pipes, compressors, wires, or power stations cluttering up their neighboring spaces and turning off tourists and new residents. And yet the infrastructure is what keeps it all going; it’s the greatest of necessity.

In an article recently posted on Curious City, a publication of WBEZ Chicago, the authors, including the Chicago Architect Foundation reveal the strategies and solutions devised over the decades for dressing up, or completely hiding all this “ugly” infrastructure. In some instances, cement, windowless buildings conceal what’s going on inside, and because of their non-descript design, passerby might not even notice its existence.

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Other options include a more transparent design; almost highlighting the function of the building, showcased in an artistic way.

Check out the article for other examples and images. Which design style do you like best?