RESEARCH – MILLENNIUM PARK

Architect:  SOM

Year realisation: 2004

Size: 68.800 sqm

Location: Chicago, USA

Elements: art, open air theatre, greenery

Materials: limestone, greenery

Designed in a Beaux Arts-style, using beige limestone and by creating a central promenade the Millennium Park has a monumental appearance. The park is clearly divided in separate spaces. These spaces contain art work or have an other public function. For example, there is an ice skate rink or the Pritzker Pavilion designed by Frank Gehry which hosts al kind of events. The famous mirroring ‘Cloud Gate’ sculpture made by Anish Kapoor, an interactive video installation by Jaume Plensa and Lurie Garden can be found in the Millennium Park. The provides Chicago with an extra green space, because its build on top of parking garages and a rail yard. A pedestrian bridge, also designed by Frank Gehry connects the Millennium Park with the Maggie Daley Park.

I didn’t experience the Millennium Park as a positive park space. It looks like a classic park, but it is basically a space for big American companies to invest in art and to show that. Companies like for example AT&T, BP, McDonalds or Boeing invest millions in the park and the artwork. That’s the reason why this park has a AT&T Plaza, BP Pedestrian Bridge, McDonalds Cycle Center and the Boeing Galleries. The park isn’t for the people of Chicago, but for tourists. The Millennium Park became the top tourist destination in Chicago and placed among the top ten in the United States with 25 million annual visitors.

Patterns:

33 Night life – occasionally during events in the park.

71 Still water – there is a water basin including a fountain artwork.

88 Street café – there is a café around the ice rink, not in use when I was there. Could create a nice environment, during winter.

120 Paths and goals – you easily walk from art piece to art piece, they guide you thru the park.

126 Roughly in the middle – some artworks can be experienced like roughly in the middle, this breaks with the traditional design of the park.

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