Cloud Burst

See the vision for all three river sites »

Urban Sublime

In many American cities returning to their riverfronts, often sites exist (like Site #2) where infrastructure (rail, highway, or industrial right- of-ways) severs physical, visual, and symbolic connections. Importantly, this is true for non- human species and natural systems (hydrologic, geologic, biotic, etc.) as well. Overcoming many lanes of vehicular traf c, highway-style walls and engineered edges requires a bold and synthetic strategy— one that heroically (not subtly) reconnects severed systems.

Inspired by the hydrologic cycle (rain to ground to river), our Cloud Burst delivers an urban-scaled topographic response—a hilltop that seamlessly re-engages the city sidewalks to the river’s edge. Newly introduced hillsides offer places to be, to see, to traverse—creating a green foreground to emerging city skyline. A water feature, from a cloud of mist to a dramatic falls, provokes the senses and reminds the visitor of natural flows long since buried in time and progress.

Before & after

Drag the slider left and right to see how this site looks now compared to if this idea were built.

Fluid Connections. Both the water cycle and the landform itself flow fluidly in Cloud Burst. Visitors experience and understand a connection between the cloudy hilltop, falling water and the plane of the river. At the same time, the earth rises gesturally to connect the river with the community reaching great, but accessible heights over the current infrastructure.
The Water Curtain. A powerful and mighty sheet of water falling from the pedestrian bridge commands attention for all visitors. Walking through the waterfall on the main path feels exciting and precarious—a hand reached out just a touch will get wet, and the thunder of water hitting the river surface encompasses the senses. Stepping through it is like parting a curtain, revealing a dramatic new landscape to explore.
Great Heights and Big Drops. The sheer height of Chicago’s newest hill lends itself to a long and shriekingly-fast decent via slide. Whether climbing up or jumping down, this is a landscape that invites play and puts everybody at the edge of a precipice.
The Magical Hilltop. Shrouded in an ethereal mist emitted by the Cloud Pavilion, the hilltop is a magical and mysterious place where the unexpected can happen. A surprising street performer might emerge from the cloud, threads of music made by hidden artists might dance on the air, a hot air balloon might float delicately above the fog.

All ideas for Congress Parkway Edge

More about this river site »