SOM to build mile-long floating gardens and social hub on the Chicago River

by Andrew Manns | 07 Mar 2019

International architecture firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) have unveiled their designs for a first-of-a-kind floating eco-park in Chicago.

The scheme will see sections of the Chicago River and shoreline transformed into a nature reserve and leisure attraction for urban dwellers looking for a temporary escape from city life.

Called "Wild Mile Chicago", the project – which is being supported by Chicago's Department of Planning and Development, as well as by a collective of urban planners and ecologists named "Urban Rivers" – is anticipated to establish a hitherto non-existent recreational corridor around the city's main waterway.

According to Urban Rivers, the new space will feature "floating gardens, forests, wetlands, public walkways, educational learning stations, and kayak access points".

The site will also maintain a number of habitats for birds, bees, and bats.

"This initiative will improve the North Branch Canal as a truly unique waterfront for the entire city, where visitors will be able to engage and appreciate the city's ecosystem through unprecedented public access," said Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Details for Wild Mile are due to be finalised in March. The project, which has been on the boards since 2017, is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

SOM  Chicago  Wild Mile  Urban Rivers 
International architecture firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) have unveiled their designs for a first-of-a-kind floating eco-park in Chicago. The scheme will see sections of the Chicago River and shoreline transformed into a nature reserve and leisure attraction for urban dwellers looking for a temporary escape from city life. Called "Wild Mile Chicago", the project – which is being supported by Chicago's Department of Planning and Development, as well as
CLD,ARC,DES
The project has been in the works since 2017. / Courtesy of SOM
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SOM to build mile-long floating gardens and social hub on the Chicago River
International architecture firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) have unveiled their designs for a first-of-a-kind floating eco-park in Chicago.