In response to the Millennium Celebration, the City of Chicago hired a design team led by Leigh Breslau, while at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, to develop an approach for a permanent performance and festival site on the remaining vacant parcel in renowned Grant Park on Chicago’s Lakefront, often referred to as the city’s “front porch.” Millennium Park, essentially the largest “green roof” in the world at over 20 acres, has become one of the largest tourist attractions in Illinois.
Built above an active railway station, the park accommodates parking for 2500 cars, a 1500 seat theatre, backstage support facilities, and public accommodations. The design was developed as a sequence of outdoor rooms that transform the traditional palette of Grant Park to a more contemporary language as one moves from west to east, from the city toward the lake. The “rooms” along Michigan Avenue at the west edge of the park are configured to relate to their sister spaces along the south side of Michigan Avenue. Moving east, visitors reach a series of plazas developed for festival use. Finally visitors arrive at the Great Lawn, marked by a massive outdoor stage facility to the north, designed by Frank Gehry and a display garden to the south. Gehry’s bridge connects Millennium Park to the existing gardens to the east. Other significant elements in the park include Jaume Plensa’s fountain and Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate Sculpture. The design team completed schematic and design development and construction documentation for much of the park context, and collaborated to varying levels with the many other designers invited to contribute to the park design.
Adrian Smith, Leigh Breslau, Phil Enquist, Jason Stanley
Frank Gehry, John Syvertson, Ted Wolff, Wendy Schulenberg, Doug Hoerr, Schuler Shook, Talaske, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Jaume Plensa, Krueck Sexton, Anish Kapoor, Lella Vignelli, Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge, City of Chicago
AIA Honor Award: Urban Planning, 2006
AIA Chicago Honor Award, 2002
Award for Excellence: The Americas Urban Land Institute (ULI), 2006
ASLA General Award for Design Excellence, 2008