The Chicago River is the lifeblood of the city in many ways, functioning as an industrial highway, the city's stormdrain, and a leisure landscape. And the potential for the river is even greater still. The Chicago Architecture Foundation's exhibition Take Me to the River explores the complex and compelling identity of the river, and four attributes that make the city's riverfront a unique place: beautiful, livable, fun, and public.
Our work along the Chicago Riverwalk—one of a number of initiatives to reclaim the Chicago River for the ecological and recreational benefit of the city—is featured as a part of the exhibition. With the growth of outdoor activity and the improvement of water quality, life along the waterfront is beginning to flourish. Our project, which addresses six blocks of the Riverwalk from State Street to Lake Street, expands the walkable area along the river banks, creating a distinct identity for each block that, together, create a dynamic experience.
Sasaki principal Gina Ford, along with Carol Ross Barney of Ross Barney Architects and Michelle Woods of CDOT, will be hosting a guided boat tour of the river in conjunction with the exhibition. The tour will highlight noteworthy and emerging design along the Chicago Riverfront. Register for the event here.
The exhibition also features the work of Sasaki landscape architect Nina Chase. In her last year at the Harvard GSD, Nina conducted research on repurposing Chicago's Pilsen industrial corridor into the city's first Water Institute, which would be devoted to research, training, and technological developments in freshwater management. The new landscape of Pilsen would become a testing ground for the institute's water filtration technologies. Using the historic industrial boating slips that once allowed barge access into the industrial corridor, stormwater would be collected, treated, and used to educate Chicagoans about stormwater management. Nina received the 2012 American Society of Landscape Architects Student Honor Award in Analysis and Planning for this research.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation's exhibition Take Me to the River runs through December. Visit this site for details. We're proud to be featured in the show and hope you'll check it out if you're in the area!
The Main Branch of the Chicago River has a long and storied history that in many ways mirrors the development of Chicago itself. Once a meandering marshy stream, the river first became an engineered...