Perkins + Will's innovative design for downtown Chicago
This is a commissioned proposal to provide a continuous air rights park over the Kennedy Expressway directly west of Chicago’s downtown. Adding open space to existing mature urban centers will involve bridging over existing infrastructure, such as highways and rail yards, since vacant land will not be available for such uses. This project serves as an example of how bridging over an existing highway can provide areas for new open space in downtown Chicago and serve as an urban catalyst for future growth.
A series of inhabitable park bridges link either side of the expressway at mid-block to avoid disruption of existing entry ramps. Functions located within the bridges can provide new public or private facilities and link up with developable parcels on either side of the expressway. Suggestions for future buildings surrounding the park are shaped to capture breezes along with park wind scoops. By creating air movement, the air quality is improved for the open space by flushing out and reducing the concentration of emissions.
Trees and plantings assist in controlling noise levels as well as filtering CO2 emissions from the expressway below and the network of green continues vertically through a series of gardens incorporated in the surrounding structures. Thus, this design is conceived not only as additional green space, but as a breathing lung for the City.