The city's proposed Olympic Village is to contain 21 new high-rise structures roughly 12 stories high. Critics of the plan oppose the wholesale razing of the site and recommend instead an alternative approach that would preserve some of the complex’s buildings. Two such plans that emerged last week, one by the advocacy group Landmarks Illinois and another by Chicago architects DeStefano Partners, aim to do just that.
The Landmarks Illinois plan calls for preserving seven of the site’s 29 buildings, eight of which are attributed to the Bauhaus master while the DeStafano plan preserves just one. While the DeStefano plan is light on preservation, both offer a far better planning approach to the site than the city’s village plan, which has been likened to the urban housing projects of the 1960s with its slab like structures lined up like dominos in rhythmic march. By comparison, the alternative proposals create lively streets, save buildings and offer a diversity of uses- important attributes if the project is to become a vibrant community beyond the Olympics.
Chicago’s 2016 officials have met with the teams behind both proposals but have declined to comment on the status of its plans. At least alternate plans are emerging and the city is still listening.