Chicago Urban River Edges Ideas Lab

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Chicago Urban River Edges Ideas Lab

Illinois Urban Realm Renewal – collaboration funded by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and Comcast

Mar 16, 2017

Chicago Urban River Edges Ideas Lab News

Design: Ross Barney Architects with landscape architects Sasaki Associates

Chicago Riverwalk

Chicago Urban River Edges Ideas Lab. Ross Barney Architects along with David Adjaye, James Corner Field Operations, Studio Gang, Perkins & Will, and SOM, are among those participating.

Building on the interest in getting people to the River and the success of our Chicago Riverwalk, both the Great Rivers Chicago and now this Ideas Lab have continued this excitement.

MAYOR EMANUEL, CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT & THE METROPOLITAN PLANNING COUNCIL ANNOUNCE CHICAGO URBAN RIVER EDGES IDEAS LAB

Lab, funded by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and Comcast, will engage architectural firms to explore ideas for the development of Chicago’s public river edges

Chicago Riverwalk

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) today announced the Chicago Urban River Edges Ideas Lab, a collaboration funded by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and Comcast. The Lab will engage select architectural firms with experience in designing award-winning riverfronts, parks and public spaces to develop design concepts that will lead to a unified design aesthetic for Chicago’s riverfront.

Chicago Riverwalk

“Following the successful completion of the latest sections of the Chicago Riverwalk and with a number of riverfront developments in progress across the city, including the planning process for the North Branch Industrial Corridor around Goose Island, now is the perfect time to engage the architectural community to help us create new river edge guidelines,” said Mayor Emanuel. “From building to open spaces, developments along the river are helping to deliver economic, environmental, recreational and social benefits to the City of Chicago.”

Chicago Riverwalk

The Ideas Lab will build off the visionary work started by Great Rivers Chicago, and will serve to engage Chicagoans in envisioning the next wave of transformative riverfront investments.

“When Mayor Emanuel asked MPC to lead Great Rivers Chicago almost two years ago, we knew it was an amazing opportunity to tap both Chicagoans and the design community for ideas on how to make our rivers more inviting, productive and living. The Ideas Lab is an exciting outgrowth of that, and we’re pleased that the Ideas Lab designs and community response will inform DPD’s update of the City’s riverfront design guidelines, which was identified by Great Rivers Chicago as goal for the year 2020,” said Josh Ellis, Vice President at MPC and lead on Great Rivers Chicago, a partnership between the City of Chicago, MPC, Friends of the Chicago River and many other partners on the Chicago, Calumet and Des Plaines rivers.

Chicago Riverwalk Chicago Riverwalk

The primary purpose of the Ideas Lab is to gather fresh and innovative ideas from design experts and to excite and engage a local and global audience to provide feedback. The Lab will engage six to ten leading architectural firms to develop renderings and design concepts for several typical river edge conditions found throughout the river system, using examples from the South Branch of the Chicago River. The selected firms all have significant riverfront experience and have demonstrated an ability to blend civic space, nature and opportunities for both solace and active recreation into their designs. The idea development aspect of the Lab is supported by the Driehaus Foundation.

“The look and feel of all redevelopment along Chicago’s rivers is critical to preserving our unique sense of place and enhancing the quality of life,” said Richard Driehaus, Chairman of Driehaus Capital Management LLC and President of The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. “The Ideas Lab is a necessary first step to ensure design that responds to human needs and emotions is at the center of future development.”

Chicago Riverwalk Chicago Riverwalk

“Chicago’s riverfronts present great design opportunities: People can connect with nature and, at the same time, connect online to work and to friends and family members. Comcast has made this possible by adding WiFi along The 606 and thousands of other locations throughout the city,” said Matthew Summy, Comcast’s Regional Vice President for External Affairs. “Comcast is proud to support the Ideas Lab, and in particular, this fall’s travelling exhibit that will include digital applications that enable Chicagoans to share their thoughts on the future of our riverfronts.”

The architectural firms will submit their design concepts in June 2017. They will then be organized into an exhibition at public locations for review and public comment. The concepts will also be displayed at the Chicago Architectural Biennial. The input collected from residents will provide DPD with invaluable feedback as they update the City’s riverfront design guidelines, which will be released in 2018. In addition to physical exhibitions, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff will work with MPC to develop digital exhibition components, supported by Comcast, including viewing augmented and virtual reality via cell phones and physical installations using Owlized technology.

Chicago Riverwalk Chicago Riverwalk

Participating architectural firms include Studio Gang, Ross Barney Architects, Perkins & Will, Site Design, SOM, SWA, David Adjaye, James Corner Field Operations and Sasaki.

“On behalf of all of the firms participating in the Ideas Lab, we’re honored and excited to get to work. Chicago’s rivers are an amazing landscape and waterscape that can connect our neighborhoods, enliven our civic life, and provide solace, all at the same time,” said Carol Ross Barney, whose firm, Ross Barney Architects, was the lead design architect of Chicago’s Riverwalk, and the architectural consultant for Great Rivers Chicago.

Chicago Riverwalk

The launch of the Ideas Lab comes as Mayor Emanuel and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo are today convening 16 mayors from around the world for an Urban Waterways Forum in Chicago designed to foster an international conversation about the future of urban waterways. Urban waterways – whether on rivers, lakes, seas or oceans – have always been natural centers of gravity. Over time, transportation and manufacturing have evolved and the old industrial waterways that turned into unused land are again ripe for new design, development and purpose.

Chicago Riverwalk

Photographs: Kate Joyce Studios

Oct 29 + 28, 2016

Chicago Riverwalk Opening

Design: Ross Barney Architects with landscape architects Sasaki Associates

Chicago Riverwalk Opening

The final phase of the Chicago Riverwalk, designed by Ross Barney Architects in collaboration with landscape architects Sasaki Associates, is officially open to the public as of October 31, 2016. Once an industrial space in disuse, the Chicago Riverwalk, a 1.5 mile promenade along the Chicago River, has been transformed into a dynamic space lined with public amenities, restaurants, cultural activities and access to natural habitats for city residents and visitors alike.

Chicago Riverwalk

Design leader for the 15 year project, visionary Chicago Architect, Carol Ross Barney said the goal of the project is to “return the river to Chicago and return Chicagoans to the river. The swampy Chicago River gave birth to arguably the greatest city of the 20th Century. In Chicago’s formative years, the river was its lifeline, brimming with traffic. Burnham built his 1909 plan on a civic waterway and promenade along the river. We were entrusted with the responsibility of to finally complete that vision and transform what had become a postindustrial leftover into a 21st century urban waterfront.”

Chicago Riverwalk

Chicago Riverwalk – October 2016

Chicago Riverwalk Completion

Chicago Riverwalk Chicago Riverwalk
photo : Iwan Baan

CHICAGO, October 22, 2016 –Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City of Chicago celebrate a renewed commitment to the city’s waterways. For the past 15 years, Ross Barney Architects has been the City’s partner in imagining, re-inventing, and strengthening connections to the rivers that course through its diverse neighborhoods.

This collaboration has manifested two significant projects:

– The Chicago Riverwalk, the most visible and ambitious public project in Chicago since
– Millennium Park.
– A report entitled Our Great Rivers, which has become Chicago’s first unified vision for the Calumet, Chicago, and Des Plaines Rivers.

Chicago Riverwalk

During the August release of Our Great Rivers, Mayor Emanuel placed emphasis on his commitment: “From opening new boat houses to reinventing the Riverwalk, we’ve made significant investments in the Chicago River to make it the City’s next recreational frontier, and we will continue our efforts to ensure that residents across the City have access to recreational opportunities on all three of the City’s rivers.”

Chicago Riverwalk

On August 17, 2016, Our Great Rivers, Chicago’s first unified vision for the Calumet, Chicago, and Des Plaines Rivers, was unveiled. Ross Barney Architects worked in collaboration with the Metropolitan Planning Council, City of Chicago, and a host of advocacy and government organizations to promote ecological research and stewardship of an invaluable regional asset.

Chicago Riverwalk

The entire river system has steadily gained a vocal collective of advocates, all looking to reconnect the daily experience of the City with the dynamic and changing life of the River. With over 150 miles of riverfront and 70+ species of fish, the river is an evolving ecosystem of inestimable natural value.

Chicago Riverwalk Chicago Riverwalk

By reinterpreting the relationship to water, the report focuses on five place-based examinations that manifest new dimensions and perceptions. From the suburban context where the connection between office park, transportation, and forest preserve is knit together by a riverfront trail to the Post-industrial south canal that now flows adjacent to thriving residential neighborhoods that offer a unique relationship between river, production, and commerce.

System wide in its scope and recommendations, Our Great Rivers is the start of an evolving perception and deep appreciation of Chicago’s second shoreline.

Chicago Riverwalk

The final phase of the Chicago Riverwalk, designed by Ross Barney Architects in collaboration with landscape architects Sasaki Associates, opened to the public on October 22, 2016.

Chicago Riverwalk Chicago Riverwalk

Lead Design Architect for the 15 year project Carol Ross Barney, FAIA said the goal of the project is to “return the river to Chicago and return Chicagoans to the river. The swampy Chicago River gave birth to arguably the greatest city of the 20th Century.

Chicago Riverwalk

In Chicago’s formative years, the river was its lifeline, brimming with traffic. Burnham built his 1909 plan on a civic waterway and promenade along the river. We were entrusted with the responsibility to finally complete that vision and transform what had become a postindustrial leftover into a 21st century urban waterfront.”

Photography: Kate Joyce Studios

Chicago Riverwalk images / information from Ross Barney Architects

Ross Barney Architects Chicago


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Early Childcare Center Bright Horizons University Chicago

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