Chinatown Gateway

Brininstool + Lynch Architects: Chinatown Gateway

Chinatown Gateway

Chicago, Illinois

Master Plan

In 2003, Stanley Tigerman and William Martin asked fourteen architects to design seven gateways to the city on behalf of the Chicago Central Area Committee, and published the results in a book called “Visionary Chicago Architecture” in December of 2004. The architects were separated into two groups of seven, where one group was considered older and more established, and the other, younger and less established. Each member of one group had a different gateway project assigned to them, and those projects were paralleled in the other group. Brad Lynch, as part of the younger group, was assigned the Chinatown Gateway.

A tangle of infrastructures currently isolates Chinatown from its surroundings. To make a visual and functional gateway to the area, we propose a lantern-like transportation hub combining CTA and Metra into a centralized mass with retail, markets, restaurants, and parking.  The Chinatown Gateway addresses the neighborhood’s potential as a transportation hub and portal to downtown, while emphasizing Chinatown’s status as a cultural destination.

The Gateway building is a version of a cable-stayed structure: poured-in-place concrete cores support a structural system of pre-cast, post-tensioned concrete elements that hang over the rail lines.  Translucent cast-concrete panels hang at the building’s perimeter, admitting natural light by day and lending the structure a lantern-like quality at night. Rooftop gardens feature patios for public seating, and openings in the roof provide natural light and ventilation to the market and parking below.

Project Type



1,814,300 square feet


C.E. Anderson & Associates, Structural


Nance, Kevin. “Vision Quest,” Chicago Sun-Times, 17 June 2005.
Tigerman, Stanley and Martin, William. Visionary Chicago Architecture (Chicago: CCAC, 2004), 37–46.