Chicago Paddle Company

Boards in a Box
In its inaugural season at Kathy Osterman Beach in Chicago, the Chicago Paddle Company needed an efficient and affordable way to launch a park district-approved rental and storage station. With YOLO (You Only Live Once) branded boards and sentiment, the Paddle project highlights the adventurous paddle boarder lifestyle and builds awareness of this fast-growing watersport. Container architecture became the resilient, recycled, and recyclable seasonal solution for transforming a bleak stretch of beach into a hub of paddleboarding, family fun, and fitness. 

Putting boards in a box is green, durable, low cost, and easily available.  Modulating the well used, prefabricated mobile trailer challenged the status quo. Whitewashed recycled pallets raise the roof, shaping a billboard parapet that announces the sport’s presence. Urban materials and graphic forms, such as chain link, scaffolding, banners, flags, and colorful Put-In-Cups create a playful and contemporary design. Adirondack-style chairs made of recycled milk jugs and paddle-related prop further enhance an appropriate beachfront vernacular and extend the branded identity. Being able to unfold and open up the container allows activity and boarders to sprawl out, which allows the Chicago Paddle Company to create a sense of community, bringing together new and experienced paddlers in a fun-filled ephemeral environment. Chicago Paddle Company Arrives

Padded modular steel tubing racks are devised to hold performance boards for elite riders and recreational boards. Paddles, flotation devices, and secure cubbies are located in the center of the container, easily accessible when the boards are out on the beach for rental. Steel tube and scaffold framing creates a frame for visibility. Colorful Put-In-Cups used for construction barriers fit securely into the fencing. Creating shade for staff on either side of the location, these are easily changed to create murals and impromptu art projects. Retail is displayed on the interior walls.

Using a container as architecture allowed the Chicago Paddle Company to fast track and contain their inaugural season costs. At the close of the season, shelving is dismantled and boards are sold off or stored. The mobile mini gets picked up. The nomadic prefab nature of this solution allows the company to grow next season with ease. The replicable design is adaptable for multiple location drops. Boards in a box is an appropriate ephemeral and form for Osterman Beach — the endless YOLO-type summer. Chicago Paddle Company’s Version of Endless Summer

Owner:  Chicago Paddle Company
Architecture:  Architecture Is Fun, Inc.
Location:  Kathy Osterman Beach/Chicago/Illinois
Status: Completed 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Renderings: © Architecture Is Fun, Inc.