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Professional Design Research Project // SAIC Course taught by: Luftwerk and MAS Studio 

transform and activate sites into fertile ground for creativity, innovation, and social interaction.


bLUMEN is a site-specific sculptural pavilion combining art, architecture, and technology to create a flourishing plant-growth environment that engages and connects with the Homan Square community. With bLUMEN, we envision how design can transform and activate sites into fertile ground for creativity, innovation, and social interaction. bLUMEN aims to develop insight into plant behavior, global food issues, light and design strategies that integrate art, science, and horticulture. Source.


Located in North Lawndale, Homan Square had once been a bustling business and trades center, headquartering the former Sears Roebuck and Co. campus. The neighborhood was deserted after the Sears Tower was built in 1974, and has since been seeking new ways of revitalization. Since 1995, the Foundation for Homan Square lead redevelopment efforts, overseeing over 350 affordable housing units, a school, technology center, child development center, and a highly successful community center. How can one transform and activate sites into fertile grounds of social interaction, harnessing existing assets while addressing real concerns of residents? 


Students worked together to research and connect with the local community to design usability and core functions of the existing framework. Modular in form, the temporary pavilion is formed by six 10-foot tall hexagonal steel structures connected to one another, forming an urban canopy. The canopy acts as the physical framework for fifteen interconnected horticulture LED grow lights that help grow a small selection of plants and vegetables. With access to healthy and fresh food being an issue in the Homan Square and North Lawndale communities, bLUMEN focuses on food as a core issue to gather the community and help the effort of other local initiatives working on nutrition and healthy lifestyles.

Project: New public space for Homan Square residents and visitors

Design Team: Luftwerk, MAS Studios, SAIC students

Photography: Tom Harris Photography, David Schalliol

Fabrication: Philips Light, SOM  

Target user: Homan Square Residents and visitors


Duration: 1 year 

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