South Lawn Fountain with Art Institute in the background
Millennium Park Site Plan as of April, 2000
Music Pavilion designed by Frank Gehry
To previous Millennium Park and Busway page
To New Eastside Forum Home Page
And Receive Notification of Important Updates
Imagine the restored historic Peristyle, a semi-circle of classical columns, at the north end of the park, facing Randolph Street. This recreation of a structure which existed at this site in the original park, will be rebuilt with a reflecting pool in front of it.
Located along Michigan Avenue, this rink will replace the one located on Block 37. Imagine the hours of fun to be had by families and friends at the ice rink, followed by a visit to the warming house and restaurant facility.
Several changes have been made to earlier conceptual plans in response to community input and to make Millennium Park more user-friendly. They include the following:
Ice Skating Rink
The rink was moved from upper Randolph Street to the Michigan Avenue location to provide easier access to public transportation and a more centralized site for the facility. The new site will allow for a warming house, restaurant facility and equipment storage in a below street level area instead of a park structure that planned for Randolph Street. The new rink will replace the one located on Block 37.
Music and Dance Theater Chicago
Expansion of planned indoor theater space from 500 seats to a 1,500-seat auditorium to accommodate Music and Dance Theater Chicago. The new theater will make music and dance performances more accessible to broader and more diverse audiences and offer opportunities for expanded public programs in the park. Built below grade, it will be the only mid-sized theater in the downtown theater district.
Commuter Bicycle Center
The proposed center adjacent to the skating equipment storage area will serve cyclists with bike storage, repair facilities and a dressing area for changing clothes. It will accommodate up to 500 bicycles in attended storage area.
Green House Pavilion
The glass green house pavilion replaces two restaurant buildings in the original park plans. It will be a public space to be used all year and will serve as an access pavilion to the Music and Dance Theater Chicago on the lower levels. It will have year-round plantings, a concession café and a public information center.
Park Opens in 2001
Originally planned for summer of 2000, the opening date was pushed ahead to allow greater community input into the planning process. Additional time was also needed to finish the Grant Park North Underground garage reconstruction, allow the landscaping to become established and expand the indoor theater for the Music and Dance Theater Chicago The park will open with the Grant Park Music Festival 2001 season. The Music and Dance Theater Chicago will open in the Fall of 2001.
Original estimates to accommodate 30,000 people in the park for events were based on raw land square footage and did not separate the numbers that could be accommodated in the music venue. The band shell will accommodate 12,000 to 14,000 with good sight lines in the seasonal seats, on the Great Lawn and adjacent areas.
The new park plans will require a $200 million budget. Garage parking revenue bonds will yield $150 million, the private donor campaign will contribute between $30 million and $50 million and the Music and Dance Theater Chicago will raise the required funds to construct the theater.
An extraordinary new work of public art by internationally known artist Anish Kapoor will grace Millennium Park on Chicago's lakefront thanks to a $3 million gift by the Ameritech Foundation. The gleaming, elliptical sculpture will be placed on the Ameritech Plaza after the park opens in 2001. The seamless polished stainless steel construction will be Kapoor's first public work installed in the United States. The radiant surface will reflect Millennium Park's landscape and the dynamic Chicago skyline. The sculpture, which measures 60 feet long and rises 30 feet high, appears to envelop viewers as they cross its space.
"The Kapoor sculpture adds to the city's rich public art tradition and will join the Picasso, the Chagall and the Dubuffet as a new Chicago icon. When you look at [the Kapoor Sculpture], you'll see reflections of everything--the Skyline, the Lake, Michigan Avenue--that represents Chicago, said Mayor Richard M. Daley. "We appreciate Ameritech's extraordinary generosity in making Chicago the first city in the United States to have a Kapoor installation."
The sculpture will be centrally located in the new park between Washington and Madison streets. It will be positioned on the Ameritech Plaza inside the 24.6-acre site situated above the ice skating rink.
Kapoor, who was born in India and now lives in Great Britain, is one of the world's most respected and popular artists. Well known for powerful and intriguing abstract shapes, Kapoor won the Turner Prize in 1991 and exhibited at the Premio Duemila Venice Biennale in 1992. At any given time during the last decade, the artist has had concurrent exhibitions in three to four different countries.
Frank Gehry's preliminary design for the new Millennium Park Music Pavilion features dramatic ribbons of sculptural stainless steel and a state-of-the-art, trellised sound system that will provide concert-goers with an audio experience that simulates the finest, indoor music venues.
The sculptured exterior reflects Gehry's distinct style, wrapping the stage in a series of panels that erupt like petals of a flower across the expanse. The stage interior, clad in Douglas fir, will feature a series of portable risers to accommodate an orchestra of up to 120 musicians. There will also be a choral terrace for 150 performers.
"The beauty is heart-stopping," said Ed Uhlir, Project Director for Millennium Park. "It will fit wonderfully into the park and be a tremendous addition to the lakefront."
The unique sound system will be suspended from a trellis that spans the entire 600-foot length and 300-foot width of the Great Lawn. It will give the audience - no matter where they sit on the lawn - a full sense of the onstage sound. The trellised system also will control sound levels around the park's perimeter - for the comfort of the surrounding residential neighborhood.
The trellis, shaped like a flattened dome, will be constructed of curved stainless steel pipes spaced 65 feet apart. It will be supported by cylindrical stainless steel piers and incorporate a decorative lighting system to enhance the design during evening performances.
Designs typically go through various stages of revision and changes will continue to be made as the pavilion is integrated into the overall park. The design will be finalized in the Spring of 2000 after engineering studies are completed.
"We are delighted the city is bringing Frank Gehry to Chicago to create this wonderful new music venue for the millennium. As one of today's premier architects, Gehry will now have a place in the city known for its celebrated architecture" (Thomas Pritzker, Pritzker Foundation).
The trellis sound system
Progress as of March, 2000
End of Page
Plaza Design Ideas
The graphics and text on this web page are the property of the City of Chicago and the Millennium Park Project. Richard Ward, the administrator of this website, agrees to remove these materials if requested by the Millennium Park Project.
This page was last updated on: June 14, 2008
This page counter was added 5-15-2000 when the homepage counter passed 1000.