Posts tagged with "Navy Pier":

Placeholder Alt Text

First look: photographs of Chicago’s redeveloped Navy Pier

Phase 1 of the James Corner Field Operations-masterplanned Navy Pier is complete, and Iwan Baan and Sahar Coston-Hardy have captured a first look of the refurbished pleasure pier. James Corner Field Operations is also acting as lead designer on the multi-year project. James Corner Field Operations is also acting as lead designer on the multi-year project, with other collaborators including nArchitects, Gensler, Thornton Tomasetti, Fluidity Design Consultants, Buro Happold, and graphic designers Pentagram. The architecture of the kiosks, pavilions, and “Wave Wall” was designed by New York-based nARCHITECTS. Often cited as the most popular tourist destination in Chicago, Navy Pier is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The 3,300-foot-long pier is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Originally part of Danial Burnham’s Plan of Chicago, the pier has served many purposes over the last century, including as a campus for the University of Illinois (UIC). Before UIC’s School of Architecture moved to its current Walter Netsch-designed building, the school was located near the end of the pier. AIA Chicago’s Design Night awards ceremony, along with many other major art and design events, including EXPO Chicago, are now held in the pier multiple exhibition spaces. James Corner Field Operations’s designs include extensive renovation of the exterior public promenade of the pier. An undulating Wave Wall, inspired by Rome’s Spanish Steps, features a louvered facade that transforms into a grand stair. Near the entry to the pier a glass- and chrome-clad Info Tower acts as a beacon orienting visitors while reflecting the city and the lake. Replacing a hodgepodge of mismatched kiosks along the length of the pier, new Lake Pavilions will act as boat ticket kiosks and shaded rest areas. The polished stainless steel canopies reflect the lake’s rippling water onto the surface of the pier. Other freestanding kiosks provide for the remaining promenade guest services. Other features completed as part of Phase 1 include the new Polk Bros. Park and Fountain Plaza near the base of the pier. As the interface with the city, new traffic and pedestrian patterns were worked out to increase safety in the heavily trafficked area. The new fountain, engineered and programmed by Fluidity Design Consultants, shoots complex geometric jets of water and transforms into an ice rink in the winter. Early designs for Phase 2 of the project indicate the pier will have a new hotel designed by Chicago-based Koo Associates, and a sweeping viewing platform and pool at the pier's end. The project is also the first SITES v2 Gold-Certified project in the world, a new comprehensive international sustainability matrix managed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Placeholder Alt Text

Navy Pier unveils plans for sweeping overlook designed by James Corner Field Operations

Chicago's Navy Pier has released new images of the next phase of its Centennial Vision plan. The new renderings reveal a sweeping elevated walkway over the eastern end of the pier. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, the “Lake Overlook” sits over a reflecting pool called “Lake Mirror.”  Along with a new hotel, a rooftop bar, and a redesigned landscape are all part of a multi-year reimagining of the popular tourist attraction. Navy Pier has recently finished much of the first phase of the Centennial Vision, including an updated enlarged Ferris wheel and promenade. The latest improvements to the pier were also designed by James Corner Field Operations. Currently the entry park at the western end of the pier, Polk Brothers Park, is also under construction. The new green space will include a lawn for for gatherings and performances. A 4,000-square-foot entry pavilion will be tucked under the park. A 240-room hotel was announced recently for the pier. The hotel is being designed by Chicago-based KOO Architects. Along with the hotel, a new rooftop bar and restaurant will be constructed on top of one of the pier’s existing structures. The restaurant is expected to be completed in 2017, with a 2018 completion date set for the Hotel. The other improvements, including the “Lake Overlook,” are dependent on funding, which the pier hopes to secure through private sponsors.
Placeholder Alt Text

Chicago’s Navy Pier announces plans for a hotel and completes a bigger, better Ferris Wheel

For the first time in its 100-year history, Chicago’s Navy Pier may be the site of a new hotel. As part of Centennial Vision, a multiphase redevelopment of the Pier, the city and Chicago-based hotel management company First Hospitality Group, Inc. announced plans for a 200-room hotel.

Heading the preliminary design is Chicago-based KOO. Led by Jackie Koo, the office is also responsible for the Wit Hotel in the North Loop and the Inn at Lincoln Park. The new privately funded hotel is expected to cost roughly $90 million. According to a press release, financing has already been secured, and construction is expected to begin in 2017.

The preliminary design of the hotel includes five levels of hotel rooms looking out over the south side of the Pier. Located near the Pier’s east end, each room would include a balcony and bay window.

The announcement coincides with events surrounding the Pier’s 100th anniversary. The most visible of these events is the opening of the new 196-foot-tall Centennial Ferris Wheel. The new wheel replaces a smaller version, which has been moved to Branson, Missouri. Like the last wheel, the new ride will have light shows coordinated with the Pier’s regular weekly and holiday fireworks shows. At a cost of $26.5 million, the Centennial Ferris Wheel is 50 feet taller, and can hold 150 more passengers than its predecessor. Erecting the 525-ton wheel presented unique problems, which included a limit on crane size due to the parking garage below and the weight limits of the Pier. Chicago’s inclement weather also played a role, as wind speeds and temperatures on the Pier are often much more extreme than in the city.

Along with the Centennial Wheel, the Polk Bros Park and a reconfiguration of the general park and entry roadways have been completed. These projects were all part of Phase I of the Pier’s redevelopment. Also nearing full completion is the Wave Wall designed by New York–based James Corner Field Operations as part of its master plan for the entire Pier. New renderings have also been released for additions to the existing Shakespeare Theater on the Pier. These additions, designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, are expected to be complete by fall 2017.

Navy Pier is considered one of the largest tourist attractions in the Midwest, with over nine million visitors a year. The Pier was conceived as part of Daniel Burnham’s Chicago Plan. In its 100-year history it has been, among other things, a municipal pier, a naval training area, a school of architecture (now the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago), and has seen varying levels of popularity and disrepair. The now-packed 50-acre pier and this new redevelopment are playing a large role in the mayor’s goal of bringing 55 million annual tourists to Chicago by 2020. 

       
Placeholder Alt Text

Navy Pier’s new “Wave Wall” by nArchitects lays a modern Spanish Steps at the foot of a Ferris wheel

Navy Pier is three years into a $278 million overhaul, and the new face of Illinois' most visited tourist attraction is beginning to emerge—most recently a grand staircase titled “Wave Wall" washed over the foot of the pier's famous ferris wheel. The peninsular mall and mixed-use amusement park has many major changes still in store, courtesy of a design team led by James Corner Field Operations. But photos available on the website of designers nARCHITECTS reveal a completed portion of the project collectively called “Pierscape” that creates an outdoor amphitheater from a simple stairway. (The full design team includes dozens of consultants.) The form of the new public space, which faces south into Chicago Harbor, resembles a sweeping wave or a wending draft of wind. Treads made of composite materials domesticate the snarling steel risers. Glass beneath the steps allow passersby indoors at the Pier to glimpse activity on the steps outside. From the bottom of the stairs, the project unspools into an audience seating area for public performances, and also frames the historic Navy Pier Ferris wheel—a 196-foot tall wheel will soon replace the current one, itself a stand-in for the 264-foot icon first transported to the spot from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. The designers say “Wave Wall” was inspired by the Spanish Steps in Rome.
Placeholder Alt Text

Endgame: An Open Letter to the Guggenheim Helsinki Finalists

The following is an abridged version of an open letter by Chicago architect and urban planner Marshall Brown, which was originally presented at the The Design Competition Conference by the GSD and the Van Alen Institute. It follows a previous comment by the author for AN about the state of design competitions in the 21st century. It is in direct response to the Guggenheim Helsinki Competition, which attracted 1,715 submissions before the winner was announced yesterday My Dear Colleagues, I would like to extend sincere congratulations for your recent achievements and the recognition it has brought to your practices. I suppose you may be wondering about the cause for this letter since, at least that I can recall, we have never formally met. One year ago I wrote an essay for AN that criticized the current state of architectural competitions. It concluded with the melodramatic, yet also sincere invitation for likeminded architects to join me in “early, complete, and permanent retirement” from such contests. In the meantime I have mostly managed to follow through on my retreat from the design competition industry, despite several invitations from colleagues to collaborate. Instead of speaking negatively about the Helsinki contest, I would like to speak to the finalists, in hope that some of us might grow in the process, or at the very least, avoid undermining each other in the ways that architects too often do. In 2009 I worked briefly with J. Max Bond, David Adjaye, and Phil Freelon on the competition for the National Museum of African American History, until Max Bond’s untimely passing, after which I withdrew from the project. In 2012, my team was a finalist in the Navy Pier Centennial competition in Chicago, after which I consulted with the winners, James Corner Field Operations. But for various reasons, and despite some measure of success, participation in both of these contests, among others, left an assortment of bad tastes in my mouth. Without airing too much dirty laundry in public, I will say that I trace many of the problems to the nature of design competitions themselves: Competitions create a culture that devalues our labor. Competitions often cultivate animosity among colleagues. And competitions often preference spectacle over substantive architectural development. Your contest is an interesting case, since it involves an American institution staging a competition for a private building on public land in a European country. After examining the Competition Conditions, I found it evident that the competition is not for an architectural commission. The only prizes explicitly guaranteed to the winners are bragging rights and a small stipend. I look forward to being corrected if necessary, but the following passage from page 8 in the conditions seems to disclaim any obligation or commitment of the organizers to build the winning proposal: “A decision on whether to proceed with the construction and development of the museum is expected to be brought to the City of Helsinki and the State of Finland for consideration following the conclusion of the competition and the public announcement of the winning design.” So it appears that yours is actually an ideas competition and marketing campaign that might inspire a building project by someone, somewhere, sometime, in the future. Okay. Fine. The winners will receive enough money to recoup some portion of their actual costs. The rest will console themselves with whatever prestige falls from the brief afterglow of the whole spectacle. As I wrote last year, many architects don’t care that competitions are bad business. That discussion has been well covered by others with deeper knowledge of professional practice, and is not the point of this letter. I am only trying to ask: Where does it all end? How much of our careers and lives are we willing to give? How far will we bend for the ever more limited promise of increasingly uncertain rewards? Despite my early retirement, I had a recent reengagement with the competition industry. Against better judgement, I attended the final presentations for a major design competition in Chicago. It was a closed session for the organizers and a few members of the political and design communities. As usual, each team presented their requisite manifestos, slides, and video animations. I found the entire show to be excruciating, not because of the design proposals, but because of the architects’ performances. Their faces were a mixture of desperation and barely masked contempt for their self-imposed captivity. At one point I found myself head down, ears covered, and overwhelmed by the pathos of the whole scene. One contestant from a well-established Chicago firm actually stripped to reveal a t-shirt with their project logo. Free t-shirts were provided for all in attendance. I left the building that night feeling personal shame, not disappointment in those other architects, after realizing that I had subjected myself to the same indignities on a similar stage just two years ago. At the time I had felt privileged and honored to sit alongside so many accomplished and notable professionals like Bjarke Ingels, Martha Schwartz, and James Corner. But only after witnessing a similar scene from the outside do I now realize that I was just another sad prisoner in the lineup. So what is the end game? You will all submit your projects. After the submissions, you will likely be asked to give public presentations. These performances could be broadcast to the entire world. The jury will meet and hand down their decision. Prizes will be awarded. Critics will pass judgement. Some of you will receive more prestigious academic appointments. A museum may be built. Another blockbuster competition will probably be announced later this year. And we will all move on. Yet while writing this letter I have begun to imagine other endings to the story: What if you had decided not to complete your projects? What if you had completed the projects, but staged a group exhibition instead of handing them over? What if you had insisted on renegotiating the terms of the competition before submitting? What if you had all just walked away? Some will accuse me of being cynical, sanctimonious, overly judgmental, or naive. They may be right on all counts. But in my own defense, these words come from a colleague who has been where you are at this moment, and wishes that he could have sooner had the resolution and foresight to turn from this path we architects are expected to follow. As I wrote one year ago: “The old argument that competitions drive architectural innovation is no longer credible. Developers, cultural institutions, and government agencies have mastered the use of design competitions as publicity campaigns. Their claim of searching for the best ideas is just an alibi that unfortunately continues to seduce too many of our best talents… The real justifications are simple. Developers and institutions gain fantastic and relatively affordable publicity from the mad traveling circus of design competitions. By helping them attract financing and donors, we encourage the proliferation of these sham exercises where enormous projects are fully rendered without contracts, necessary approvals, or even clear programs.” From what I have been able to surmise from a brief examination, the GHDC submits fairly well to this assessment. But most of you probably knew this from the beginning, and soldiered forth regardless of the real odds or evident risks. Therefore I conclude this letter with thanks for your time, an open invitation to respond, and two simple words: Good luck. MARSHALL BROWN
Placeholder Alt Text

Watch Chicago move a 762-ton mansion to make way for Pelli Clarke Pelli’s arena

Preservation and new development are often at odds, but sometimes Chicago has its cake and eats it, too. Case-in-point: the Harriet F. Rees House, a landmark on both local and national lists that happens to share an address with an arena and hotel complex planned for the South Loop. The Rees House is currently the only building on the 2100 block of S. Prairie Ave., but on Tuesday it begins its two day journey 600 feet north to 2017 S. Prairie Ave. The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (McPier), a semi-public entity that oversees Navy Pier and the McCormick Place Convention Center, sued to gain control of the property earlier this year. Now McPier is paying $6 million to move the remarkably well-preserved 19th century townhouse to make room for a Pelli Clarke Pelli–designed arena for DePaul University that is expected by the end of 2016. They will also pay $1.9 million to acquire the land and $450,000 to compensate Rees house owner Sam Martorina for loss of use of the property during the moving process this summer, reported Crain's Chicago Business. This feat of engineering will clear land in the South Loop for a series of developments including a hotel, office space and an arena that the city has agreed to help finance with public tax benefits—not without controversy—because it is intended to boost economic activity associated with the massive convention center. Construction firm Bulley & Andrews is working with Wolfe House Building & Movers to roll the 762-ton house up the street, employing massive dollies and a steel exoskeleton to stabilize the historic structure during its journey. The wheeled dollies are semi-automated and will begin the move Tuesday morning. The Rees House is expected to arrive in its new location by Wednesday afternoon. A webcam will monitor the move here. Built in 1888, the three-story brick and limestone mansion won recognition from the national register of historic places in 2012. It was built for the widow of real estate pioneer and land surveyor James H. Rees, and remains a well-maintained example of Romanesque Revival architecture. Impressive though the move is, it's not the only time Chicago has heaved hefty buildings instead of opting for demolition. As Josh Mogerman wrote for Chicagoist earlier this year, Chicago's oldest house—the nearby Henry Clarke Mansion—was lifted and relocated twice. Much of Chicago itself was hoisted hydraulically as the booming city overwhelmed its swampy foundations. The Rees House will be registered once again as a national landmark at its new address—assuming it gets there in one piece.
Placeholder Alt Text

Navy Pier redesign gets $20 million private donation

Chicago’s Navy Pier is currently undergoing major changes courtesy of a design team led by James Corner Field Operations. That work got an infusion of cash Thursday, as local benefactors from the Polk Bros. department store chain announced a donation of $20 million. It’s the single largest private gift ever made to Navy Pier, Illinois’ most-visited tourist attraction. Their donation will support the redevelopment of 13 acres of the site, including Navy Pier’s entrance, Gateway Park. The park will be renamed for the Polk Brothers upon construction, which is expected to wrap up in time for the Pier’s 100th anniversary in 2016. James Corner Field Operations’ plan for the new Polk Bros Park calls for two performance spaces and a 75-foot wide fountain that will serve as an ice rink during winter. Renderings also detail a wider promenade for pedestrian traffic and a welcome facility that will rent bikes. An “arts and culture plan” will be devised, said Bill Brodsky, chair of Navy Pier, Inc.—the nonprofit formed three years ago to guide the multiphase redevelopment. The plan is expected to detail how to feature art, plays, and other cultural programming originating from neighborhoods around Chicago. Polk-Bros-Fountain-and-Plaza800px Members of Navy Pier, Inc. were on hand to thank the Polks Thursday, as was 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly. Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared to choke up as he compared the Polks’ early 20th–century immigration from Romania to his own family background, praising the appliance retailers as an embodiment of the American dream. Though the project’s $115 million first phase is already under construction, Navy Pier’s makeover still faces hurdles. Redeveloping the Pier is a delicate undertaking, necessitating a mix of high design and sympathetic populism to sufficiently update the downtown icon without overwhelming the appeal it has as, to quote Daniel Burnham, “the People’s Pier.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Chicago breaks ground on Navy Pier flyover for Lakefront Trail

Bicyclists and pedestrians cruising down Chicago’s 18-mile Lakefront Trail generally enjoy an exceptionally open, continuous and scenic path along Lake Michigan. But near Navy Pier they’re shunted inland, underneath a highway, onto sidewalks and through road crossings that interrupt their journey in the middle of one of the popular pathway's most congested corridors. The Navy Pier Flyover, announced in 2011, was designed to remedy that situation, and today Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the project has officially broken ground. Though it won’t be fully open until 2018, work began on schedule for the portion of the pathway between Jane Adams Park and the Ogden Slip. The first phase of construction has a budget of $22.5 million. The total cost will be $60 million, split over three phases. The Lakefront Trail and Lake Shore Drive will remain open throughout construction. To track progress and occasional detours during the work, the city has set up navypierflyover.com. Sporting bike lanes and space for pedestrians, the trail will be 16 feet wide and approximately as elevated as Lake Shore Drive.  LED lighting will supplement the “ambient light of Lake Shore Drive,” according to the city's website. The city called in architect Muller+Muller after studying the problem for years. That design, from 2011, remains intact. When complete the trail will allow for uninterrupted travel over the Chicago River, through DuSable Park, the Ogden Slip, across Illinois Street, Grand Avenue, Jane Addams Park and into the Ohio Street Tunnel. (The news comes among other improvements to the lakefront trail announced recently.) More design details are available here, in a presentation by the city made available online.
Placeholder Alt Text

New Navy Pier Plans, McCormick CTA Renderings Revealed

[beforeafter] navy_pier_redo_01 navy_pier_redo_02 [/beforeafter] Above: "Gateway Fountain" in warm and cold seasons. (Courtesy Navy Pier) Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration Wednesday revealed details about two initiatives they said would amount to $1.1 billion in investment: a new 10,000-seat arena for DePaul University located across the street from McCormick Place, and an overhaul to Navy Pier — the city’s largest tourist attraction. Navy Pier’s remodeling, which includes a new water feature and an expansion of the Children’s Museum, will total $278 million. Future phases of the project will involve redesigned public and commercial spaces along the pier, additional dining space, and a new park featuring a bicycle flyover on the pier’s west end. Marilynn Gardner, president of Navy Pier, told Crain’s Chicago Business’ Gren Hinz that the pier “was becoming too carnival-like,” as proposals for the aging tourist mainstay picked up momentum. Last year High Line designer James Corner was chosen to head the renewal. “We're creating a more authentic experience,” she said, “celebrating the fact that it's a pier.” Gensler's Elva Rubio wondered aloud in a blog post, "What Will it Take to Make Navy Pier a Real Place?" The $140 million DePaul basketball arena plan calls for an additional $33 million in public TIF funding for land acquisition and streetscaping. A sky bridge would connect McCormick Place West to the arena, which would double as an event center for shows smaller than McCormick Place is accustomed to. It would be between Cermak, Prairie, 21st and Indiana streets. Two hotels — one 500-room boutique hotel and a 1,200 “headquarters hotel” announced last year — would round out the area’s new development. Also previously announced, Ross Barney Architects will design a new CTA Green Line station for McCormick Place, on the south side of Cermark and 23rd Street. New renderings reveal a bit more about the project, expected sometime in 2014. Emanuel’s team made the announcements on the first day of the Mayor’s third year in office, and the initiatives reflect his oft-repeated promotion of tourism and trade shows in the city. McCormick Place is the largest convention center in North America.
Placeholder Alt Text

Reviving Chicago’s 1893 Glory with Seven Ferris-ish Wheels

Chicago’s 1893 Ferris Wheel—the world’s first—inspired visitors at the World’s Columbian Exposition and helped establish the burgeoning city’s reputation for big dreams and hard work. Although it’s unlikely to have quite the same impact as its historical touchstone, a new proposal for seven wheels in Navy Pier’s Gateway Park could rekindle a semblance of that awe in modern day passersby. The idea is the brainchild of Hapsitus, an urban design studio based in Beirut whose name is a portmanteau of “happening” and “situation.” In sticking with the firm's philosophy of viewing the city as an organism and a “concentrated distribution of energy,” Hapsitus’ Wheels of Chicago project is composed of “Chicago moments,” including its over-arching diversity and individual regions: Southside Industry, Lakefront Playground, Downtown Business, Westside Art, and Northside Leisure. The steel sculptures would range in size from 65 feet in diameter (“business” and “art”) to 115 feet, compared to the 150-foot-wide Navy Pier Ferris Wheel. Wrapped in steel cables, the objects would turn thanks to motors in their central hubs. Though the 1893 wheel is long gone, the project’s Ferris Wheel homage is accurately descrbied by the designers as “a continuous celebration of Chicago.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Slideshow> AIA Chicago Honors 39 Projects

Friday marked Designight 2012—AIA Chicago’s annual awards gala—which brought nearly 1,000 members of the area’s design community together at Navy Pier to recognize 39 projects in four awards categories: Distinguished Building, Interior Architecture, Divine Detail, and Sustainability Leadership. John Ronan’s Poetry Foundation; Perkins+Will’s Universidade Agostinho Neto in Luanda, Angola; Sheehan Partners’ Facebook Data Center in Prineville, Ore.; and David Woodhouse Architects’ Richard J. Daley Library IDEA Commons in Chicago (featured in the October Midwest issue of AN Midwest) were among the repeat winners of the night. Helmut Jahn accepted a lifetime achievement award, calling on the designers present to imagine a better future and then “make that future happen.” On behalf of his firm, Jahn also formally adopted the changes reported earlier—a new name, JAHN, and the ascension of Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido to share design leadership with Jahn. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. The full list of winners and all 262 projects entered into the competition can be found on AIA Chicago's website.
Placeholder Alt Text

Five Approaches to Reviving Chicago’s Navy Pier

Five proposals to rethink the public spaces at Navy Pier have gone on view at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The finalist teams--AECOM/BIG, Aedas/Davis Brody Bond/Martha Schwartz Partners, James Corner Field Operations, !melk/HOK/UrbanLab, and Xavier Vendrell Studio/Grimshaw Architects--use variety of approaches to revitalize the historic pier, which has long been a favored destination for tourists. Organizers hope revitalizing the pier's public spaces will make it a world-class destination for residents as well as visitors, much like Millennium Park and the rest of the lakefront. AECOM/BIG's proposal calls for a series of undulating ramp/bleachers that form a new landscape over much of the pier's midsection, culminating in a new park at the tip. The Aedas-led team calls for a zig zagging series of promenades, some that would serve as boat launches, boardwalks, or pools, extending out from the pier and connecting to the lakefront. The existing pier would receive a dramatic new lighting scheme. The !melk-led team's proposal also features undulating extensions of the pier with low-slung buildings below the ramps, along with a substantial increase in vegetation, including large trees. The zig zag "edge," features a constructed wetlands. Perhaps the proposal's most dramatic feature is a artificial "glacier," a fountain designed to freeze in the winter into a ice column. James Corner Field Operations has perhaps the most lush proposal, with grassy landscape elements, trees, play fountains, and a large floating pool at the end of the pier. Xavier Vendrell's plan is arguably the most modest proposal, largely building upon the existing pier, including a new winter garden. They end of the pier includes a cantilevered sloping lookout over Lake Michigan. All the proposals are on view at the Chicago Architecture Foundation through mid May. Learn more about the designs and comment at Navy Pier Vision.