Birthday pavilion for Burnham Plan

Niki May Young
Tuesday 14 Apr 2009

Burnham Pavilion celebrates 100 year Chicago Plan

UNStudio have revealed Ben van Berkel's design for the Burnham Pavilion which will stand in Chicago's Millennium Park to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Burnham's Chicago Plan, which outlined the structure of Chicago.

The pavilion will join Zaha Hadid's pavilion in the park between 19 June and 31 October this year. Both are intended to echo the audacity of the 1909 Burnham Plan, which proclaimed, “What we as a people decide to do in the public interest we can and surely will bring to pass.”

Framed by Lake Michigan on one side and Michigan Avenue on the other, the UNStudio pavilion relates itself to diverse city-contexts, programs and scales. Programmatically the pavilion invites people to gather together, walk around and through, to explore and watch. The UNStudio pavilion is sculptural, very accessible and it acts as an urban activator.

The design of the UNStudio pavilion initially uses the orthogonal setup of the city and park grid. The edges of the pavilion follow the severe setup of the surrounding city- and park-geometry. This runs true to Burnham’s Plan which one hundred years ago introduced the generic grid to the city and introduced a device to read specificity and variation in the form of the diagonal boulevards creating specific vistas throughout the city. This diversity is illustrated in UNStudio's pavilion across a 360 degree spectrum introducing in a floating and continuous form.

The structure is comprised of a steel structure of columns in the three “legs” of the pavilion with horizontal steel beams. A secondary wooden rib structure forms the smooth geometry before being panelled with plywood to create the skin. Finally the structure will be bound in bondo (an elastic plaster) before being painted. 49 LED lights will illuminate the structure creating an evolving light display which will vary in intensity, rhythm and colour.

Key Facts:

Civic Buildings
United States

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