Period of time




Chicago, United States

Re-Purposing Entire Streets

Fall - Winter 2020

The project was developed by WCA’s partnership with the Illinois Restaurant Association and Stella Artois.

To dine outdoors comfortably and safely in pods shaped as igloos or mini greenhouses in response to the pandemic

Harlem beats to the pulse of its art, food and culture, with its Fulton Market being home of popular Chicago restaurants. But with the onset of the pandemic in 2020, their traditions were threatened. Businesses’ survival were at risk, and in particular restaurants.

City officials shut down indoor dining in mid-March to slow the spread of coronavirus. By the following winter season, restrictions had been relaxed, but there were still limits on indoor capacity.

That's why it was necessary to think creatively to keep Chicago's restaurants afloat during these challenging times, and especially during the cold winter months. For restaurants, getting additional seating space outside was critical. 

This is how the idea of individual pods came about. These 6 domes and 15 greenhouse-like pods allow dining al fresco comfortably and safely, meeting the safety health standards of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

The Fulton Market structures are made with a polycarbonate material that traps heat, without heaters in the enclosed pods. They also have panels to regulate airflow.

In addition to this, a donation campaign was held to help workers in the industry most affected by the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus. 

On the other hand, a temporary chalk street mural designed by famed artist Shepard Fairey’s Studio One helped to bring an artful approach to social distancing and collective-yet-safe dining. 

“The continuation of socially distanced and safe outdoor dining — through our remarkably successful expanded outdoor dining program and structures like these dining pods — helps bring a little bit of joy and normalcy to all of us while we face these extraordinary times together,” Major Lori Lightfoot said.

After the kickoff weekend, they were working with additional restaurants throughout the city by providing dining igloos to safely serve diners further into the colder months.

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