Navy Pier redesign proposals unveiled

January 31, 2012

When Daniel Burnham laid out his plan for Chicago, he envisioned the city with five piers, but only one was commissioned: the Municipal Pier.  In the decades since, the Pier has served as a Naval training center for sailors and pilots, a college campus for the University of Illinois, and a public recreational space.

Now known as Navy Pier, the current incarnation is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Illinois - and incidentally, is also home to WBEZ's studios. 

But it's been nearly 15 years since the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois joined forces to redevelop the site, and with its 100th anniversary approaching, Navy Pier management unveiled a new vision for the attraction last year. 

The effort is aimed at updating the current infrastructure and to create more public spaces and year-round evening entertainment options. Reaching out to the global design community, Navy Pier hosted a competition for design teams to reimagine the Pier’s public spaces. 

Now, the five finalists are unveiling their designs. Here are the teams' renderings:

Aedas Architects



Xavier Vendrell Studio

James Corner Field Operations


The internationally renowned teams will present their proposals for the Pier’s redesign to the public Tuesday and Wednesday evening at the Museum of Contemporary Art:

January 31:

6:00 Aedas Architects / Davis Brody Bond / Martha Schwartz Partners

6:45 AECOM / Bjarke Ingles Group

7:30 !melk / HOK / Urban Lab

February 1:

6:00 Xavier Vendrell Studio / Grimshaw Architects / Tom leader Studio

6:45 James Corner Field Operations