Heliomorphic Chicago, with Charles Waldheim & the Harvard GSD Office for Urbanization for the 2017 Chicago Biennial; Chicago, IL. All photos by Peter Maloy.

Heliomorphic Chicago presents two counterfactual visions for what Chicago might have been in light of the Biennial’s 2017 theme, Make New History. The project considers a pair of alternative histories for Chicago’s collective urban identity: (1) the city optimized for ecological performance and (2) the city optimized for solar access.

Twenty four of Chicago’s most iconic buildings were selected for abstraction. Each pair of models was optimized (socially and ecologically) using algorithmic modeling. Each model was cut from high density foam blocks with a six-axis robot.