Pierscape reactivates the public realm of Chicago’s Navy Pier as a vibrant social and recreational space. As the architects on a team led by James Corner Field Operations, nARCHITECTS collaborated on the overall plan and designed new structures along the pier that merge building and landscape through strategies of reframing, integrating, and reflecting their surroundings.
Our architectural scope included larger structures that merge with the lakefront context and smaller structures that punctuate the 3,000-foot-long pier. A new centerpiece, the Wave Wall provides a grand stair, connecting the South Dock to the attractions on the plinth above, while providing a large social space with lake views and access to 30,000 square feet of retail spaces below. The Info Tower, conceived as a mini skyscraper, is a new urban beacon that mirrors the city skyline. Spaced along the pier, four Lake Pavilions mirror and frame views of the lake, bouncing its dappled light onto the publicly activated dock.
As a centerpiece of the pier, the Wave Wall is a dramatic social space connecting the South Dock to an upper-level amusement park. Inspired by the Spanish Steps in Rome, this significant new public amenity for Chicago offers an armature for a variety of cultural events set against a backdrop of Lake Michigan.
The Info Tower, conceived as a mini skyscraper, is a new urban beacon that mirrors Chicago’s skyline and shifts in character.
A series of four Lake Pavilions combine boat ticket kiosks with large canopies, bringing cadence to the pier and offering shared shelter from sun and rain.
Undulating polished stainless steel canopies reflect the rippling water of Lake Michigan, merging it with the activity on the dock.
Client: Navy Pier Inc.
Location: Chicago, IL
Dates: 2012 – 2016
Sq Footage: 3,000 ft-long pier (1km)
Program Architectural structures – Wave Wall, Info Tower, Lake Pavilions, and kiosks
Environmental: The first project to achieve Gold certification under the Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES) v2 rating system
Design Team: Eric Bunge, Mimi Hoang | Marc Puig, Albert Figueras | Gabrielle Marcoux, Lily Zhang, Chris Grabow
Collaborators: Client: Navy Pier Inc. | Design Lead / Landscape Design: James Corner Field Operations | Structure: Buro Happold | MEP: Primera | Envelope: Simpson Gumpertz Hager | Local Consultant: Epstein | Lighting: L’Observatoire | Graphics/Identity: Pentagram
Photography: Iwan Baan, Sahar Coston-Hardy