The River Beach

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Third Nature
Perkins + Will

The River Beach reveals a prehistoric sand bar and creates the first swimmable beach on the Chicago River in modern history. A key element of this concept is water filtration. The surrounding natural wetland cleans river water that is pumped into the system when the sliding pedestrian bridge rotates.

As the water conveys through the wetland filtration system it becomes clean, clear, and flows into the swimming hole. At the bottom of the wetlands, clean water drains from the swimming hole back into the Chicago River. On a regular interval, bridge movement maintains water circulation through the system and enables a navigable waterway. During storm events, the wetland system can be drained to increase storm water storage capacity and mitigate negative impact  to Chicago’s combined sewer.

The rotating bridge connects to a new trail on the west side of the river. The St. Charles Air Line Bridge upright is fitted with a timber skeleton and observation deck that allows visitors to take in views of the city and surrounding neighborhoods.

Before & after

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

The first beach on the Chicago River features a natural wetland water filtration system that provides clean water for the swimming hole. Access to clean water encourages beach activity on the river along the South Branch.

All ideas for Air Line Bridge Edge

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