Ayelt van Veen

Gardens of Heritage


Turning two old warehouses in Chicago into a public park to function as a local seedbed for handicraft economy.


Graduation Project

TU Delft

Gardens of heritage turns two decayed pre-war warehouses into an interior park with small retail activity and workshop spaces. The project functions as a key node in a masterplan called Enclaves of Specialty.


The diagram below shows one of the so called connection projects that are part of the masterplan. These projects are key nodes for both pedestrian and railway traffic. Also, the project is part of a green ring that strengthens the common identity of the enclaves. This greenery also grows inside the building along routes and perforations.

The masterplan is designed to regain productivity in Chicagos underutilized industrial corridors. It is based on a thoroughgoing demographic research that focuses on segregation. That research reveals the current presence of enclaves of people who contribute a lot to the industrial corridors. Typically, such enclaves appear between the corridors and gentrifying areas. The masterplan strengthens their identity by emphasizing their specializations. These specializations are based on spatial and programmatic findings within the area. Eventually, a ring of strong enclaves is planned. All together, this masterplan functions as a pilot project for the rest of the pre-war suburbs.

Building fragment

Greening strategies

The greenery in the building is planned with help of a catalog for greening strategies. This catalog contains some strategies for individuals operating in the project, and strategies for the collective.

A special chapter with climbing plants is subdivided into plants that stay green during the winter and plants that don’t. Especially the last catagory is favoured on surfaces where a lot of sunlight enters the building.

A building of parcels

The public space inside the building, as well as the train station platform is subdivided into parcels. These can be bought or rented by individuals or small businesses to start for instance little shops, boutiques or restaurants. These parcels can be found next to the public routes through the building. The remaining spaces are available for workshops or small offices.

Next to the greening strategies, another catalog is made for building parts. It contains both elements for individuals (Fig above: pop-up elements) and elements for the collective.


The phasing of the project plays an important role in its possible success. It is necessary that an investor, perhaps together with the municipality, invests in the new train station bridge and the hardware modifications of the buildings. The latter also includes the collective greenery along the perforations and the routes. The more the building transforms into a park, the more attractive it becomes for entrepreneurs and the greater public.


Building climate

The project contains both actively and passively climatized spaces. The passively climatized space is between the workshops and the pop-up units. Plants that lose leaf during the winter are used along the façades to gain more solar heat when it gets colder and to provide more shading during the summer. Lamellas in the roof extensions are used to reflect sunlight deeper into the building (winter), or to provide shading (summer). During summer nights, the building is cooled by a major air flow that is the result of differences in height and temperature.

The climatized workshop spaces are heated up or cooled down by a system of liquid vessels in the floors, ceilings and walls. These vessels are connected to a geothermal installation through a heat exchanger.

(c) Ayelt van Veen - 2017