Blair Kamin, architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, recently reviewed three of Chicago's newest civic projects, all of which push landscape architecture to the fore. Kamin is quick to differentiate the merits of these—The 606, Maggie Daley Park, and the Sasaki and Ross Barney Architects-designed Chicago Riverwalk—from the "ordinary park or the typical corporate landscape of sod and trees." He sees the projects instead as a presenting the citizens of Chicago with a "different kind of open space—more interaction and richly planted."
Through the opening of three of the Riverwalk's "rooms" this summer, the city has been able to interact with the city in entirely new ways; Citizens and visitors can now locate themselves within a "cool and quiet realm," writes Kamin, "that brings them close to the Chicago River and affords spectacular top-to-bottom views of the skyscrapers." The Riverwalk can be reached from descending stairs at block intervals along Upper Wacker Drive, or by small watercraft, which can tie up at the Riverwalk Marina. Construction on two more rooms is currently underway, both of which are expected to open next year.
According to Kamin, the success of these public spaces demonstrates the value of landscape architecture in "transforming once-marginal areas of cities and regions into centers of civic life."
Click here to read the full review, and here to read more recent press on the Chicago Riverwalk.
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 channel...