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Exhibit shows designers re-imagining neglected neighborhood structures

The Chicago Architecture Foundation exhibit "Between States — 50 Designers Transform Chicago's Neighborhoods," runs through March 1. | Chicago Architecture Foundation

Fifty Chicago design firms venture out into the city’s neighborhoods, imagining long-neglected and overlooked buildings brought back to life in an exhibition that opened Tuesday downtown.

The exhibition, “Between States: 50 Designers Transform Chicago’s Neighborhoods,” runs through March 1 at Chicago Architecture Foundation Atrium Gallery, 224 S. Michigan Ave. Admission is free.

Dirk Lohan of Wight & Company envisions turning the charred Pilgrim Baptist Church in Bronzeville, originally designed by architect Louis Sullivan, into a national gospel museum.

“We have torn down several Sullivan buildings over the years. In this case, we still have the entire façade available to us as a historical landmark of the late nineteenth century architecture by one of America’s most influential architects,” Lohan wrote in the fall edition of the CAF Member Magazine. “It is my concept to combine these relics of history with a contemporary design as a solution that combines the old and the new in a symbiotic juxtaposition.”

Elsewhere in the exhibit, designers envision transforming the Wilson Avenue water crib — about two miles out into Lake Michigan and slated for demolition — into a research and recreation “oasis.” That particular project envisions star-like spines extending out of the brick-and-stone structure.