The Navy Pier Inc. (NPI) Board recently announced that design firm James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) has been selected to help reimagine Navy Pier’s public spaces, an effort designated as “Pierscape.” Corner and his team were among the five finalists in Navy Pier’s search for a Pierscape design team that began six-months ago with 52 submissions from around the globe to redesign the Pier’s public spaces.
“Public spaces do not only help define a city – they are the heart and soul of a city. We have a remarkable opportunity to make Navy Pier one of those unique public spaces,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Having an internationally renowned design firm like James Corner Field Operations working with one of our city’s greatest icons demonstrates that Chicago has the energy and vision to continue to lead on the world stage.”
The Pierscape portion of the Centennial Vision plan calls for reimagining the Pier’s public spaces including Gateway Park at the west entrance of the Pier, Crystal Garden, Pier Park, East End Park, the South Dock as well as the smaller public spaces that dot the length of the Pier. This work will include enhancements to the Pier’s landscaping and streetscape along with the addition of water features, public art and lighting.
The next step in the process will be for Navy Pier and JCFO to begin putting more definition around the project. The Board emphasized that JCFO’s vision will inform and guide the Pierscape redesign, but were quick to point out that the final design will reflect other factors including practicality, functionality, collaboration with the NPI board, and available capital.
While there are many factors that went into the Board’s decision, Garvey highlighted a few elements in JCFO’s presentation that stood out among board members:
• an interesting and appropriate balance between creativity and practicality;
• a thorough understanding of the complexity of Navy Pier;
• relevant experience with several successful high profile, large-scale and complex projects; and
• a strong sense of flexibility and collaboration.
Other finalists included teams from AECOM/Bjarke Ingels Group, Aedas Architects/Davis Brody Bond/Martha Schwartz Partners, !melk/HOK/Urban Lab, Xavier Vendrell Studio/Grimshaw Architects.
IMAGES: James Corner Field Operations