The committee presiding over Chicago’s Navy Pier has unanimously selected a team headlined by James Corner Field Operations — the landscape architecture firm that designed New York City’s High Line — to redesign the iconic attraction for most tours in Chicago. Corner’s plan for Navy Pier calls for developing a raised park around the existing Ferris wheel, installing hanging gardens inside the Crystal Gardens pavilion, and adding a swimming pool with a sandy beach on the southern side of the pier.
The Steps, located on the east end of the pier, will provide a meeting place and an elevated area from which to take in views of Lake Michigan. The Lake Pavilions will house water-related activities, including boat ticket kiosks and shaded areas for boat queuing. Undulating steps will provide a new social area while offering direct access between two pedestrian levels.
NYC-based L’Observatoire International, which designed the lighting for New York’s High Line, will be in charge of lighting at Navy Pier. The iconic Ferris wheel at Navy Pier will be outfitted with green pod-like cars.
An aerial view from the east end of Navy Pier shows the The Lake Room and the proposed swimming pool. A large interactive fountain will be added near the entrance to Navy Pier.
James Corner Field Operations will be charged with revamping Navy Pier’s public spaces, including Gateway Park, the Crystal Garden, Pier Park, and East End Park.
The winning bid was one of 52 entrants in the high-profile design competition, and it beat out four other finalists that included AECOM/BIG, !melk/HOK/Urban Lab, and others.
Corner’s plan for Navy Pier also calls for developing a raised park around the existing Ferris wheel.
Navy Pier officials have stated their wishes to have many of the changes completed in time for the pier’s centennial in 2016.