Gallery: Construction to Begin on Studio Gang’s Ambitious Northerly Isl...

On the north end of the park, a large concert venue would be built into a hillside.

Northerly Island was part of Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago; it was one of several manmade islands included in the plan, but it ended up being the only one that was actually built. In 2003, then-Mayor Daley ordered workers to bulldoze large X’s in the runway of Miegs Field — the airport that operated out of Northerly Island — claiming that the airport’s proximity to downtown Chicago was a terrorist threat. Since then, the peninsula has served as a public park and concert venue, but because it lacks landscaping it isn’t a big draw among locals.

Studio Gang and JJR plan to radically transform the space into the city’s next great park. “It’s almost like a Millennium Park of nature,” architect Jeanne Gang told the Chicago Tribune in 2010, alluding to the enormously successful park and concert venue in downtown Chicago. The plan calls for moving a lot of earth from the perfectly flat former runway to create a more varied topography that will contain six different ecosystems. According to the Chicago Journal, an oak savannah would be located at the highest point, and at lower points there will be a dry-mesic prairie, a wet prairie, an emergent marsh, and a 4.1-acre pond, which will be connected to Lake Michigan via a narrow channel.

On the north end of the park, a large concert venue would be built into a hillside. A new shoreline would be built to create new wetlands and fish habitats, and a ship would be sunk near the shore for divers to explore. The plan also takes winter into account (winter is of course an unavoidable fact of life in Chicago) with the inclusion of an ice skating rink. With $6.65 million in funding from two federal grants and $1.5 million of the Chicago Park District’s money, work will begin this fall on the south and east sides of the park.

+ Studio Gang

via Chicago Journal


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1 Comment

  1. Armadillo May 5, 2013 at 4:45 am

    Man-made ecosystem park? How oxy-moronic can we get with that.
    Yeah, let’s jam 25 lbs. of an outdoor DisneyQuest enviro-park into the 5 lb. space of what is already the most pristine and beautiful expanse of park space in Chicago – Northerly Island.
    This project makes me literally feel sick to my stomach.
    Pure corporate greed.

    How can we have this 91 acres generating the maximum cash flow revenue though, don’t we? Fuck it over – that’s how.

    How can we attract even more numbers of cars into a space where there is all ready too frequent total gridlock, and which should really be a NO CAR zone? Build an eco theme park.
    Build giant underground parking facilities. Charge $20-$30 for parking. Disrupt and restrict use of the park, with a massive construction that will last many years.

    Witness the complete trashing of Northerly Island, and thank you Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Have fun handing out all those fat contracts to you crony capitalist buddies.

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