Tag Archives: Chicago

Claude Cormier: Step Down, Splash Down

Claude Cormier + Associés and Confluence untangle a puzzle of wayfinding and stormwater management on a tricky site along Chicago’s lakeshore.

By Zach Mortice

A zigzagging network of wide paved paths brings pedestrians and cyclists down to the lake. COURTESY CCXA
A zigzagging network of wide paved paths brings pedestrians and cyclists down to the lake. Photo by Jin He-Candido, ASLA.

A few years ago, if you wanted to visit the site of Cascade Park in Chicago, designed by Claude Cormier + Associés (now CCxA), you’d find yourself near the shores of Lake Michigan at a 50-foot cliff overlooking a vacant pit bordered by a foreboding service road that led to the lakefront trail to the east. “The entire site was one giant hole,” says Matthew Strange, ASLA, a principal at Confluence, the landscape architect of record for the project. (Confluence was preceded by another landscape architecture firm of record, Living Habitats, from the design development phase through construction documents.) Elsewhere in the Lakeshore East high-rise district, there’s a park by OJB and residential skyscrapers by Studio Gang and others, built atop parking and amenity podiums that hoist the developments over the lake. But Cascade Park was the anomaly. Continue reading Claude Cormier: Step Down, Splash Down

Pier Review

A renovation of Chicago’s Navy Pier by James Corner Field Operations is out to attract a new audience that’s local, urbane, and into design.

By Zach Mortice / Photography by Sahar Coston-Hardy

The Wave Wall stairs act as a social space as well as a visual centerpiece. Photo © Sahar Coston-Hardy for Navy Pier, Inc., and James Corner Field Operations.

New Yorkers avoid Times Square, and Chicagoans stay away from Navy Pier. It’s an ironclad rule. The public spaces that are most popular are there to attract tourists. Locals don’t go there.

Continue reading Pier Review

The Halprins in Motion

Design as a sensory experience.

By Zach Mortice

“Driftwood Village—Community,” Sea Ranch, California. Experiments in Environment Workshop, July 6, 1968.

Put away your tracing paper and charcoal pencils. Shut your books. Stop thinking. Put on a blindfold and go for a walk in the woods. Make a structure out of yourselves, human bodies. Catalog everything that you see, hear, feel, and smell. Build a city out of beachside driftwood in complete silence. Take off your clothes. Now start thinking about design. Continue reading The Halprins in Motion