ChicagoismynewBlog

Archive for the ‘Parks’ Category

Construction photo of the West Loop’s newest park!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on April 23, 2010

This photo, taken from the roof of 901 W. Madison, shows that the parking being built in the heart of the West Loop is definitely underway and looks like it won’t take to much time to be completed!  Replacing a run down and delapitated factory-type building and underused parking lot, this new park should definitely act as a focal point to the neighborhood and will definitely increase property values surrounding it.  I assume this will become part of the Chicago Park District when done?

The park is located on a full city block with Monroe Street to the North, Adams to the South, Sangamon to the West, and Peoria to the East.

 

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A city park in the middle of the Loop? Planned and ready to go ahead!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on March 30, 2010

So although I wasn’t happy to see two old buildings demolished, I’m glad there will be a patch of green and trees in the middle of the Loop.  The John Buck Company, developer of the neighboring 155 N. Wacker, is helping to develop this new downtown public plaza located at Randolph and Franklin Streets.  Now for the fun part, Chicago taxpayers are footing the $7MM bill for this public plaza through TIF funds.

Photos courtesy of Skyscraperpage contributer, ‘george.’

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Design change for Chicago’s Grant Park and Northerly Island. This would be a great HGTV show!

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on November 21, 2009

Northerly Island, Grant Park have big changes in store

Both getting fresh designs — maybe for the better

Northerly Island

A design team recently held a public workshop for remaking Northerly Island, the 91-acre peninsula that once was home to Meigs Field. The team was led by JJR landscape architects of Chicago and including Studio Gang Architects, the Chicago firm responsible for the spectacular new Aqua tower. One of the ideas floated at that forum was integrating the peninsula’s massive Charter One concert pavilion into a hillside as part of an effort to create a more naturalistic landscape. (Tribune photo by Alex Garcia / November 10, 2009)
Blair Kamin CITYSCAPES
November 20, 2009

They are two of the most contested pieces of ground on Chicago’s lakefront — the first, where the Chicago Children’s Museum wants to build its controversial kiddie bunker; the second, where Mayor Richard M. Daley executed his infamous “midnight raid” and shut down Meigs Field.

Big changes are in store for both. And — hold your breath — they might even turn out for the better.

The Chicago Park District on Wednesday hired the highly regarded New York City landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh to redesign 25 acres in Grant Park’s northeast corner, an area that encompasses the dreary Daley Bicentennial Plaza and, within it, the proposed site of the mostly subterranean Children’s Museum.

As part of the project, which will renovate the East Monroe Street Garage below Daley Bicentennial Plaza, just about everything in the plaza — grass, shrubs and sidewalks — will be ripped up. In turn, the park will get a completely new layout, including a children’s play area of up to 5 acres.

Meanwhile, on Nov. 10, a design team led by JJR landscape architects of Chicago and including Studio Gang Architects, the Chicago firm responsible for the spectacular new Aqua tower, held a workshop for remaking Northerly Island, the 91-acre peninsula that once was home to Meigs Field. Among the ideas floated at that forum: integrating the peninsula’s massive Charter One concert pavilion into a hillside as part of an effort to create a more naturalistic landscape.

That the Chicago Park District has engaged such talented designers is a sign of how much Millennium Park and its Lurie Garden have raised the standards for landscape architecture along the lakefront. But given the bitter controversy that has preceded them, no one should expect either project to travel a smooth road.

The 58-year-old Van Valkenburgh, who was chosen from a field of 29 firms, brings to Chicago a long roster of acclaimed projects, such as Teardrop Park, a 1.75-acre public space that is expertly sandwiched between banal residential high-rises in lower Manhattan. The park is highlighted by massive bluestone walls that evoke the wild, rocky topography of upstate New York. It also contains features that don’t look as though they were made by nature (or God), like a 25-foot-long slide in a children’s play area.

This tension encapsulates Van Valkenburgh’s approach, which respects but does not slavishly follow the picturesque urban landscapes of great 19th century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. At the same time, a Van Valkenburgh park is not likely to be as intense as Millennium Park and its oversize pieces of public art. For Chicago, he said, “we’re talking about something that’s neither Olmstedian nor Millennium Parkish.”

“One element that we’re interested in,” he explained, “is a children’s play area. We’re operating under the expectation that (the Children’s Museum) is going ahead. We’re interested in how you draw some of those kids to a very different kind of play space, something you wouldn’t buy out of a catalog.”

Typical playgrounds, he added, “keep children busy, but they’re not memorable, they’re not inspiring.” The Chicago children’s play area, he said, might be anywhere from 2 to 5 acres in size, making it a “significant but not dominating” part of the park. He wants the play area to engage adults as well as children, and to be designed for a wide range of children, not just aggressive boys….

To read the full Chicago Tribune article on the new park plans, click HERE!

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Public meeting TONIGHT at Spertus Institute on future plans for Northerly Island.

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on November 10, 2009

Plans take new look at Northerly Island

With 2016 dreams dashed, what should become of Meigs site?

November 10, 2009

BY LISA DONOVAN Staff Reporter ldonovan@suntimes.com

A month after Mayor Daley’s Olympic team washed out in the race for the 2016 Games, the tide has shifted as planners focus on Northerly Island’s long-term place in the lakefront landscape.

Before Chicago lost to Rio de Janeiro in the Olympic contest, the Park District was eyeing how to develop the 91-acre man-made island east of Soldier Field, while making the former site of Meigs Field a temporary home for Olympic venues for beach volleyball, the canoe and kayak slalom courses and even an observation point for sailing contests.

Today, Chicago Park District officials are holding a public meeting downtown to unveil a series of sketches for the site, pen-to-paper ideas that will serve as a conversation starter, says Gia Biagi, director of planning and development for the Chicago Park District. “We’re not holding up a particular concept,” she said. “But looking at what are the components of a great park.”

The Park District hired a design team that includes Studio Gang Architects, best known for the Aqua Building at the Lakeshore East site near downtown, to sketch out ideas — though officials did not release the cost of the work.

One thought is to extend the swimming and beach areas on the eastern edge of the island. Another is to carve out portions of the “island” — really a peninsula — creating bays or coves or even inland waterways….

Check out the full Chicago Sun Times article by clicking HERE!

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