The 21st Century Park

The 21st Century Park

Chicago, IL, USA

CLIENT The Graham Foundation / STATUS Competition 2003 / SIZE 1.5 acres / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, Artist Brian Tolle

 The 21st Century Park is a backbone threaded into the city – not an isolated mass serving one area.

The 21st Century Park is a way to flow through the city – not just a destination.

The 21st Century Park is a filter, healing, cleaning, purifying air/water, an active environmental engine.

The 21st Century Park is a spine threaded through the city which gives you a way to flow through it. It creates oases along its length. The aesthetics are drawn from how the parts are organized in space.

The 21st Century Park engages streets – doesn’t leave them out.

The 21st Century Park is a tool for intervening in the City.

I got up this morning, it’s Saturday, and decided to go for a run in that new park they just finished.  A piece of it runs three blocks from my house but you can go all the way downtown on it.

The 21st Century Park is a spine threaded through the city which gives you a way to flow through it.

Took the street down from my stop on the EL. It is nice and narrow, full of crabs and haws with chunks of prairie on the sidewalks.

The 21st Century Park engages streets – Doesn’t leave them out.

As I am coming towards the shore between the trees and shrubs I find myself on the water on a boardwalk with green islands on each side. There is such a great view out here.  I see water forever on one side, the shore on the other, lots of birds singing as I run along it.

The 21st Century Park is a filter of healing, cleaning, and purifying the air and the water along it.

Went down towards Hollywood Beach, by way of the new walk in front of the towers, to get a friend of mine to go running with me.  His apartment is on the 12th floor and it is great to look down and see all the green islands.

 The 21st Century Park is a tool for intervening in the City.

 Let’s go swimming, my friend said, so we changed, took along some towels, went out to the curving pier and dove into the water.  We took a kayak out after that and had fun going in and out of the water lagoons created by the boardwalks, where the water was clear and calm, and then in the choppy waters outside.

The 21st Century Park is a spine which creates oases along its length. The aesthetics are drawn from how the parts are organized in space.