Chicago Riverwalk- 2017 Global Awards for Excellence Finalist

riverwalk_chicago_4

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Developers: City of Chicago, Department of Transportation
Designers: Ross Barney Architects [All Phases], Sasaki [Phases 2, 3] Alfred Benesch & Company [Phases 2, 3], Jacobs/Ryan Associates [All Phases] and Collins Engineers [Phase 1])
Site Size:  3.5 Acres

Utilizing derelict infrastructure, the Chicago Riverwalk is a one-and-a-quarter-mile-long civic space between Lake Michigan and the confluence of the main, north, and south branches of the Chicago River.

This reinvention of urban life is at the heart of a new chapter for Chicago in which public space becomes a gathering ground for citizens from all walks of life. With sweeping views and new connectivity, this invaluable civic amenity returns the River to Chicago and Chicago to the River.

Conceptually, the park references the infrastructure that defines it by creating unique rooms between the bridges that cross the river. These new connections enrich and diversify life along the water with each block taking on a unique character and typology, from hardscaped civic space to naturally planted shoreline.

©Hedrick Blessing, Kate Joyce Comprised of a plaza commemorating Chicago's Vietnam Veterans and a connected path from Michigan Avenue to State Street, Phase 01 brought respite to the busy urban canyon.
©Hedrick Blessing, Kate Joyce
Comprised of a plaza commemorating Chicago’s Vietnam Veterans and a connected path from Michigan Avenue to State Street, Phase 01 brought respite to the busy urban canyon.
©Kate Joyce  Ripe to accommodate an audience enjoying a concert by barge, the River Theater has already played host to memorial ceremonies, Friday night concerts, and a Water Taxi stop.
©Kate Joyce
Ripe to accommodate an audience enjoying a concert by barge, the River Theater has already played host to memorial ceremonies, Friday night concerts, and a Water Taxi stop.
©Kate Joyce A link to the streets above is provided at the River Theater. A block-wide set of steps bends the city down to the river, creating a graceful, borderless transition from street to water.
©Kate Joyce
A link to the streets above is provided at the River Theater. A block-wide set of steps bends the city down to the river, creating a graceful, border-less transition from street to water.
©Kate Joyce  A fully accessible path is geometrically woven in, becoming a central circulation feature with seating for both staged events and watching the "theater" of the river and city.
©Kate Joyce
A fully accessible path is geometrically woven in, becoming a central circulation feature with seating for both staged events and watching the “theater” of the river and city.

What might have been unimaginable years ago has been achieved; an activated riverfront in the heart of a booming urban core. When Chicago turned its back on the river, a natural asset that was seen purely as functional became the city’s backyard. The Chicago Riverwalk has become the city’s living room; an urban counterpoint to Chicago’s front yard, Grant Park. With a wine bar, kayak tours, boat docking services, water taxi stop, and a myriad of public programs, the city’s newest civic space has mobilized with unthinkable energy. Scenes of young office workers sipping drinks and kayaks scooting along the water have become a normal occurrence.

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