Shifting Fields

See the vision for all three river sites »

Urban Sublime

Outside the more urban reaches of the river, acres of post-industrial elds sit fallow, welcoming a new pioneer landscape condition yet unexplored and unappreciated by city residents. Here, at Site #3, softer slopes and more expansive edges offer unique environmental restoration opportunities—where an ecologically productive landscape is a fertile ground for new kinds of urban experience and program.

Characteristic of the native prairie and marshes that once de ned the pre-urbanized Chicago region, flatness has a magic of its own. Our Shifting Planes serve to dramatize the uniquely flat surfaces of the land, the water, and the sky. Changing platforms and landforms make these planes—and their dynamic interaction—more visible, while giving people places to be among a new thriving, restored ecological setting. Productive and recreational landscapes are interwoven, making a new node on the riverfront.

Before & after

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

A Dynamic Landscape. Inspired by the movement of Chicago’s Bascule bridges and floating docks, Shifting Fields engages dynamic components. The roof of the community building deploys as a shade structure for events on the plaza and counters the historic St. Charles Air Line Bridge nearby. The pool barge raises and lowers with the flood stages of the Chicago River.
At the Water’s Edge. The near-seamless meeting of the floating pool with the surface of the Chicago River gives a physical and tactile dimension to what is normally a purely visual relationship with the water. Here visitors can splash, swim, and watch the dramatic spectacle of river life unfold.
Reaching to the Sky. Climbing to the top of the community building rewards visitors with spectacular views, cool breezes, and a proximity to the sky that dazzles. Human infrastructure and natural elements both appear to float on air.
A Vibrant Prairie Plaza. At the plane of the prairie, a productive food landscape blends seamlessly with an active plaza that plays host to farmer’s markets, performance artists, and community events. Here, Chicago’s diverse residents gather to celebrate a myriad of cultural expressions.

All ideas for Air Line Bridge Edge

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