"Northerly Island Park" is the name of the ambitious green project, the first stage of which will be implemented in Chicago this fall. In 2010, the Studio "Gang Architects" and landscape architects "SmithGroup JJR" announced long-term plans for the reconstruction of the Northern Islands of the city. The project involves converting the 91 acre Peninsula that used to be a small runway, and only in 2003 was again placed at the disposal of nature.
To start a small excursion into history. In 1909, the famous Chicago architect and planner Daniel H. Burnham proposed to create a chain of artificial Islands, which would act as a green bridge between the parks Grant, and Jackson. His vision for this Park included lagoons, ports, beaches, recreation areas, scenic walkway and large areas of green space that would provide a worthy frame of the already spectacular view of lake Michigan and the city skyline. The main goal of the plan was the development of the lakefront for the public: "It rightfully belongs to the people," wrote the architect. But the case ended with the fact that it was built only one large island, which was called "Burnham Park".
This artificial piece of nature over the past century has seen a lot. First, there was the second session of the world fair, then trees sacrificed in favor of a Parking lot. In 1947 there appeared a small airport, known as "Meigs Field", which signed a 50-year lease of the island. This period expired on 30 September 1996, and seven years later, the then mayor Daley ordered to level the airport to the ground – because it felt that its proximity to the city center increases the possibility of terrorist threats.
Since then, this artificial mound is a public Park and concert venue – but he clearly lacks landscaping. And yet people are drawn here to enjoy the view, fishing, picnics or to watch the work of contemporary artists. In addition, every summer for six weeks this opens up a youth camp. Looks like it's time to add fresh colors to the life of the popular island!
"Gang Architects" and "SmithGroup JJR" we intend to radically transform this space to create a large urban "Park of the Millennium", as expressed by architect Jean gang (Jeanne Gang) in an interview to "Chicago Tribune". The once perfectly smooth runway will be converted using the delivered portions of land: the architects will create a varied topography, which will be home to six different ecosystems. There will be a zone of oak groves, prairies area, the area of wet, marshy meadows and ponds that are connected to lake Michigan through a narrow channel.
At the North end of "Northerly Island Park" — on the hillside — will be built a large concert hall. The new coastline will be equipped thus, to create the perfect space for living fish. And the creators of the project specifically will flood the shores of the old liner so that divers could explore the underwater world of the Park.
The plan also takes into account the winter period (this is also an inevitable fact of life in Chicago) – and so green project is not without the rink under the open sky.
It's been two years perfecting the finishing touches, and today, "Chicago Park District" and "U. S. Army Corps of Engineers" have teamed up to work on the first phase of the plan. It is hoped that the $ 6.65 million from two Federal grants and another $ 1.5 million from commercial investors will really help to turn a modest island in the "Millennium Park".