Green Graft

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Riparian Reclamation
Studio Gang

Re-connecting Public Spaces through New 

Green Infrastructure

Traffic heading into the city on Congress Parkway barrels through the Old Chicago Main Post Office and over the river. This crossing is a transition point between the high-speed, high-stress Circle Interchange to the west and the slower boulevard of Congress Parkway, interrupted by the city grid.  Along the river in this area, access and visibility is poor and uninviting. Here, vehicular traffic is prioritized and pedestrians are an afterthought. The green space can be found but only as isolated pockets.  We envision a cohesive public realm that celebrates this river crossing and re-introduces the civic importance of Congress Parkway, as proposed in Burnham and Bennett’s 1909 Plan of Chicago.  

The Green Graft layers over existing infrastructure with new decked parks and pathway connections to carry people over and along the river. The upper-level pedestrian bridge sits above the expressway and provides  access to new amenities planned for the Main Post Office and a safe link to neighborhood parks. It also connects to the new north-south pedestrian and bicycle path at the river’s edge. By merging disconnected residual spaces with a continuous pedestrian and bike path, people will be encouraged to visit and gather in the public open space and enjoy moving seamlessly along the river and across the connective gateway.

Before & after

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

The Green Graft subverts the heavy infrastructure of Congress Interchange into a multi-programmed space that links disconnected assets and prioritizes the pedestrian. The intervention is designed to better orient people moving to and through the site by providing increased visibility, separating modes of traffic, and introducing signage and art.

All ideas for Congress Parkway Edge

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