Please change orientation
Skip to content
Courtesy Iwan Baan

Pierscape reactivates the public realm of Chicago Navy Pier as a vibrant social and recreational space. As the architects on the team led by James Corner Field Operations, nARCHITECTS collaborated on the overall plan and designed new structures along the Navy Pier that merge building and landscape through strategies of re-framing, integrating and reflecting their surroundings.

Our architectural scope included larger structures that merge with their lakefront context and smaller structures that punctuate the pier. As a centerpiece of the 3000 ft long Pier, 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 sf retail spaces below. The Info Tower, conceived as a ‘mini’ skyscraper, is a new urban beacon that increasingly mirrors the city as it rises. Spaced along the Pier, four Lake Pavilions mirror and frame views of the lake, bouncing its dappled light onto the publicly activated dock.

Courtesy Sahar Coston-Hardy
Courtesy Iwan Baan

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 against a backdrop of Lake Michigan.

Courtesy Iwan Baan
Courtesy Iwan Baan

The Info Tower, conceived as a ‘mini’ skyscraper, is a new urban beacon that increasingly mirrors the city as it rises.

Courtesy Iwan Baan

A series of four Lake Pavilions combine boat ticket kiosks with large canopies, bringing cadence to the pier. Sheltered from sun and rain, the public can take refuge alone or together.

Courtesy Iwan Baan
Courtesy Iwan Baan
Courtesy Sahar Coston-Hardy

Undulating polished stainless steel canopies reflect the rippling water of Lake Michigan, merging it with the activity on the dock.

Courtesy Iwan Baan

Client: Navy Pier Inc.
Location: Chicago, IL
Status: Completed
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