A colorful installation memorializes one of Chicago's lost YMCAs

NEWCITY in the Second City

A colorful installation memorializes one of Chicago's lost YMCAs

Media Objectives (M-O), an environments and branding studio within Chicago-based Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDTA), has produced an installation in homage to a former YMCA. The YMCA was located where the recently finished NEWCITY lifestyle center on Chicago’s near North Side.

The YMCA was built near the former Cabrini-Green public housing projects. It was envisioned as a place to bring the Cabrini-Green community and the nearby Gold Coast communities together in a common recreation facility. Built in 1981, the YMCA’s membership declined in the 1990’s, and the building was eventually sold to developers.

The NEWCITY Heritage Installation is comprised of three walls sections built on raw steel frames. Each section is made from glazed bricks salvaged from the colorful facade of the YMCA. Surrounding the installation, the walls of the gallery space are typographic patterns spelling out ideals associated with the YMCA including; “safe haven,” “inclusivity, and “a shared memory.”

The NEWCITY development is a large three building complex that includes a residential tower, retail, and commercial office space. The installation is in the high-rise’s ground-floor pedestrian through-way.