Loren Johnson’s “Lift Loft” Selected for AIA Emerging Professionals Exhibit
Designer’s concept for Chicago homeless housing featured at prestigious national exhibition
[Washington, D.C.] – Loren Johnson, designer at Legat Architects, has been focusing on a stronger relationship between architects and the communities that they serve. This mission fueled his “Lift Loft” housing concept for homeless young adults on Chicago’s south side.
So Johnson was pleased when, earlier this year, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) sought entries for its Emerging Professionals Exhibit. The competition challenged young designers throughout the country to submit concepts that capture the theme of “It Takes a Community.”
Lift Loft was one of 30 from over 130 submissions selected by a jury of licensed architects for the AIA’s Emerging Professionals Exhibit 2016. The exhibit features the “best work from young designers highlighting community impact and engagement.”
The AIA’s Center for Emerging Professionals said, “The jury celebrated all selections, including Loren’s concept, for their alignment with the theme “It Takes a Community,” as well as their impressive design and planning.”
“The Lift Loft concept accomplishes what so many of us in the architectural profession strive to achieve,” said Ted Haug, Legat’s head of design. “It is distinctive, flexible, and cost effective, plus it responds to the physical and emotional needs of the user.”
To create the Lift Loft façade’s rippled look, Johnson and Evan Menk, technical director at Legat, explored an inexpensive spray-on concrete called shotcrete traditionally used for utility tunnels and in-ground pools. The concept proposes spraying the liquid slurry onto a steel framework, then wrapping it in fabric and pressing it to give the concrete wrinkles.
Johnson said, “I’m honored to represent my peers and other emerging professionals in a national exhibition like this, and I hope the message of the exhibition is one that all architects take to heart . . . that we have little purpose outside of a community.”
Get the full story on Johnson’s Lift Loft including who he envisions living there, types of spaces, and other design details.
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