Northerly Island Olympic Natatorium

Ryan Johnson (website)
University of Illinois at Chicago
Arch 553 Architectural design III
Faculty: Paul Preissner (website)


This project explores a buildings visual qualities and its ability to narrate a new language of composition, one which is able to persuade the perception of the public audience. The sequencing of various users to the venue was carefully choreographed to ensure a unique experience for each user. Through using drawing as a generative tool to express certain architectural, graphical and compositional characteristics, the project formed through a disciplinary, as well as graphically, contextual process. New arrangements of familiar geometries and shapes allowed the formation of the natatorium to exist as a series of semi-covered spaces. Designed for Chicago’s 2016 Olympic Bid, the natatorium was to be located on the famous and under utilized Northerly Island. Program includes an Olympic size swimming pool and diving pool, as well as space for water polo, synchronized swimming and a warm-up facility.

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