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New York City firm picked to redesign Navy Pier

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The team led by designer James Corner is the winner in a competition to revamp Navy Pier’s public spaces or Pierscape. New York City-based James Corner Field Operations was in charge of converting an unused elevated railway into Manhattan’s High Line and is currently working on a plan for reviving Seattle’s waterfront.

The winning design proposal calls for adding a pool that in winter could be used as a skating rink. The designer’s renderings also show the construction of an amphitheater at the Pier’s east end.

The board of Navy Pier, Inc. voted on Thursday to select James Corner from among five finalists. NPI Board Chairman Sarah Garvey pointed to the practicality of Corner’s design as one of the deciding factors.

“They dreamed big, but were able to do it in a way that we can actually pay for it,” said Garvey.

The board also pointed to Corner’s work on the High Line.

"It's not that different from here. They were working with an existing space that needed redevelopment," said Garvey.

She also said the High Line project showed Corner was open to taking into account public input on the design.

A committee of NPI board members is scheduled to meet with the winning team in the next months to work on a final design proposal. Garvey said they are still planning on staying within the initial proposed budget of $85 million. She hopes a good part of the Pierscape will be built by 2016.

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