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Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative Wins 2013 Activate Union Station Competition

Posted Sept. 16, 2013 | Amanda Lang

Architectural project Blah Blah Blob! attracts a crowd in Chicago

enter photo description
The Blah Blah Blob! winning design created by Kent State
University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative was
placed on the Fifth Third Center Plaza at the entrance to Union
Station in Chicago from Aug. 24 to Sept. 2.

(Image provided by: Kent State's Cleveland Urban Design
Collaborative)

Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative was one of two winners in the city of Chicago’s Activate Union Station competition for its architectural design project, called Blah Blah Blob! The contest, organized by Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council, aimed to “enliven Chicago’s iconic Union Station as a community gathering place,” according to the contest Web page.

The winning design, Blah Blah Blob!, is a large nylon inflatable sculpture, 26 feet across by 45 feet long, constructed on an AstroTurf lawn. People can go inside the blob for recreational events, music and food. David Jurca, Jeff Kruth and Kristen Zeiber from Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, in collaboration with Katherine Darnstadt from Chicago-based architectural firm Latent Design, received $5,000 from sponsor Fifth Third Bank.

“We’re really happy to not only do a project, but to win a competition in the process,” says Jurca. “We wanted to create a space that is fun for people to use, but also attracts other people to join in, so you have kind of a ripple effect. So we created a space that is really unexpected and whimsical.”

The blob was placed on the Fifth Third Center Plaza at the entrance to Union Station from Aug. 24 to Sept. 2. Free events were held throughout the course of nine days, including free fitness classes and Blob Parties.

Jurca says the blob may be used in future projects. He mentioned the possibility of bringing it to Cleveland, but there are no definite plans yet.

For more information about Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, visit www.cudc.kent.edu/index.html.

For more information about Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council and the Activate Union Station competition, visit www.metroplanning.org/news-events/media-release/6760.