Millennium Park—2015 Urban Open Space Finalist
June 4, 2015
About millennium park
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Owner: The City of Chicago
Designer: Edward Uhlir, FAIA, et al
Size: 24.5 acres
Project website: www.millenniumparkfoundation.org
In 1998, Mayor Richard M. Daley established a partnership with Chicago’s philanthropic community the Millennium Park Foundation (MPF) a 501c3 not for profit corporation and together they produced Millennium Park which opened on July 16, 2004.
It is located at the northwest corner of Grant Park and transformed 16.5 acres of rail lines and a surface parking lot and another eight acres of shabby park land built on top of a deteriorated underground garage into a unique outdoor cultural venue. It was built on top of two new underground parking garages, a commuter rail station and a bus roadway making it one of the largest public roof landscapes in the USA.
It is a place for Chicagoan’s and tourists to enjoy 80 annual outdoor major concerts, gardens, ice skating, restaurants, festivals, fairs, fountains, water features and interactive public art and it is all free.
Many architects, landscape architects and artists have contributed to create this new Chicago icon including McDonough Associates, Gehry Partners, Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, GGN, OWP/P, SOM, Terry Guen Design, Harley Ellis Devereaux and Muller and Muller. There are two art pieces within Millennium Park that have received extraordinary public acceptance because they provide a community experience that is very interactive. Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate Sculpture and Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain are now Chicago’s sculpture icons.
Millennium Park’s many “enhancements” were funded by an extraordinary public/private partnership. The city’s $270 million commitment which was used to provide the park’s infrastructure and the private sector raised $220 million from individuals, foundations, and corporations. The private investment provided the park enhancements and included an endowment of $25 million. The park is ten years old and the annual visitation to the park has grown each year and is now in excess of 5 million.