James Corner completes first regeneration phase of Chicago's Navy Pier

by Kim Megson | 20 May 2016

The completed first phase of redevelopment at Chicago’s Navy Pier will be officially unveiled on 27 May, kicking off a year-long programme of celebrations.

Landscape architecture and design firm James Corner Field Operations have been revamping the pier since winning an international design competition for the US$278m (€255.9m, £197.6m) project in 2012.

Phase one includes new arts and cultural programming, restaurants and landscape design across nine acres. It has been completed in time for the pier’s 100th anniversary.

“We have reimagined South Dock as a new green spine,” said studio founder James Corner. “It extends all the way from Lake Michigan back into the city and anchors a series of plazas, museums, theatres, restaurants, and social destinations that exemplify the vitality of Chicago life and culture.”

The client is Navy Pier Inc (NPI), which wants to reimagine the space – once called the ‘People's Pier’ – as a public leisure hub by “reconnecting it with Lake Michigan, with culture, and with spectacle.”

NPI is targeting SITES certification – a new US Green Building Council-led international system for developing and evaluating.

Phase one includes the following completed works:

• New crossings and reconfigured traffic patterns have been added to assure a safer and more welcome arrival for pedestrians and cyclists.

• The landmarked Navy Pier Headhouse has been illuminated with architectural lighting to “amplify the importance of its historic façade.”

• The Polk Bros Fountain and Plaza has been recreated with a complex geometry of dynamic water jets. In winter, this area will be transformed into a skating rink.

• A curvaceous “Wave Wall” designed by nArchitects lets light and movement into the interior South Arcade while coalescing to create a grand south-facing stair, moving upwards and on-axis with a new Ferris Wheel.

• The South Dock Promenade has been installed with new herring-bone paving, large shade trees, grass and perennial plantings, social furniture and reflective kiosks and Lake Pavilions.

• New pier lighting, designed by L’Observatoire International, has been added to support all of the existing varied uses of the Pier and to create a view path to the city skyline.

Future planned attractions for the pier include a museum dedicated to the Chicago blues and an extension to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. A cable car designed by Marks Barfield Architects is also being considered to link the pier with Millennium Park and the Chicago Lakefront.

Navy Pier welcomes more than 8m guests annually. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, it now has more than 50 acres of parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, sightseeing and dining cruise boats.

Other design, engineering and consultancy firms who have collaborated on phase one of the project include Gensler, Thorton Thomasetti, Environmental Systems Design, Terry Guen Design Associates, Jeffrey Bruce + Company, Fluidity Design Consultants, Pentagram, Re:Vision, Buro Happold, Billings Jackson, Primera, Kimley-Horn, Construction Cost Systems and D’Escoto.

James Corner Field Operations  Navy Pier  Chicago  Lake Michigan  Navy Pier Inc  regeneration  architecture  design 
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The completed first phase of redevelopment at Chicago’s Navy Pier will be officially unveiled on 27 May, kicking off a year-long programme of celebrations. Landscape architecture and design firm James Corner Field Operations have been revamping the pier since winning an international design competition for the US$278m (€255.9m, £197.6m) project in 2012. Phase one includes new arts and cultural programming, restaurants and landscape design across nine acres. It has been
CLD,RST,VAT,AAC,PRO,ARC,DES,DEV,INV
A year long programme of celebrations will take place to mark the pier's 100th anniversary / James Corner Field Operations, courtesy of Navy Pier Inc
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