"What she [McGuire] found were the ghosts of Lake Michigan’s shoreline: giant sand deposits, old dunes, just inches below the surface but as much as 25 feet deep, hiding beneath the surface of the city.
The discovery has spurred a multifaceted research project that rethinks the materiality of cities’ surfaces. McGuire sees the asphalt and concrete layer that covers much of Chicago as a “hard scab” that obscures the area’s history and shunts water into an already overtaxed stormwater system. She wants to instead find ways to reveal, and eventually tap into, the naturally occurring soils and sand below. “We need to design at the level of the raindrop, and not be just thinking about the interceptor system,” she says. “[We need] to work back up to the surface of the city.”
- Timothy Schuler