Breakwater Chicago – Floating Island for Lake Michigan

Submission: October 25, 2015
Registration: October 25, 2015
Language: English
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Prizes: 1st Prize:$5000
Type: Open


Breakwater Chicago’s mission is to create an entertainment venue utterly unique to Chicago: a national and international attraction bringing visitors to experience a world-class city in an unprecedented way, by enjoying an extraordinary location that is both luxurious and truly at harmony with its environment.

Breakwater Chicago LLC (“Breakwater”) is currently designing a 300-foot by 100-foot passenger vessel with restaurants, spa, retail shops, sunbathing, nightclub, event spaces, private club, and even swimming pools. This “floating island” is engineered like a barge, finished like a yacht, and operated like a five-star resort. The Breakwater Chicago vessel will be anchored off-shore from May through September and requires private boat or water taxi access, but is then enclosed during October through April and attached to shore, continuing to offer the sensation of summer throughout the harsh “Chi-berian” winters.

While an extensive engineering and construction team is already in place and actively developing plans necessary to construct a ship, Breakwater has initiated a design competition to begin work on the customer-facing spaces aboard Breakwater Chicago. The competition is intended to solicit design concepts for outward facing exteriors, inward facing exteriors, and interior spaces that are aesthetically pleasing, creative, sensitive to the environment, and financial viable.

Given that the vessel will be operating off-shore for the entire summer season without ever being connected to land-based utilities, water and energy conservation are of the utmost importance. Along these lines, the company has developed a Sustainability Plan that can be found on the company’s website at the following web address, and is available as an additional resource for designers: http://www.breakwaterchicago.com/#!sustainability/c192n.

The city of Chicago is the third largest city in the United States by population with over 2.7 million residents and around 10 million people living in the metropolitan area. Chicago is a proud city, nicknamed the “City of Broad Shoulders” by famous poet Carl Sandburg in 1916. It was home to the world’s first Ferris wheel, the site of the first skyscraper, and the birthplace of deep-dish pizza. Most importantly, Chicago is situated on the shores of Lake Michigan and has been deemed the “Third Coast” as the view from its shores looking out could easily be mistaken for that of an ocean, as one cannot see land across the lake.

Breakwater has established the following goals for the project:
* Design an exterior that represents a super-yacht;
* Design an interior that emulates a private island; and
* Optimize guest experience, guest flow, and operational efficiencies.

Breakwater and its team are following an aggressive but realistic schedule for the design and delivery of the Breakwater Chicago vessel.
* September 7th – launch the design competition
* October 23rd – close the design competition
* October 30th – announce winner(s) of the design competition
* Winter 2016 – commence construction on the vessel
* Summer/Fall 2016 – deliver completed vessel

All submitted design proposals shall be evaluated by the entire Breakwater team. Community members, elected officials, Breakwater advisers, and others may be given the opportunity to provide comment on proposed designs. All designs shall be evaluated based on the criteria of “outside the box” creativity [25%], adherence to the guidelines provided [25%], guest experience [25%], and operational efficiency [25%].

Submissions must be submitted by Sunday, October 25, 2015, at 11:59pm CDT.


The competition is open to architects and students. You can sign-up and participate at this competition for free at: http://bit.ly/1JKREkd