You can swim, stroll, picnic, camp, prance, bird watch, and otherwise make a fool of yourself in the open naturalized expanses of Northerly Island. With a sort of hardscrabble Prairie habitat now firmly rooted in much of the artificial peninsula's 91 acres, we're wondering how Studio Gang's dynamic plan will better the site for multiple users and whether rendering the plot as iconic landscape — and "expanding educational opportunities synergistic with the adjacent Museum Campus" — is all that necessary. But we're not here to pass unilateral judgment.
Components of the Gang plan are intriguing: barrier islands; lagoon with submerged "reefs" (echoes of Burnham); ice rink; pedestrian bridge crossing; forest; and grade alteration. The plan preserves passive spaces (including the 12th Street beach) and refines "instructive ecosystems", which take over as one travels toward the south end. And, though it may seem incompatible, the Charter One Pavilion remains the focal point of the park's northern end. In fact, the city has recently authorized the addition of 6-8 30,000-person events in coming summers. Presently, the pavilion has seating for 8,500 and has staged 16-24 smaller shows each year since 2005. The Park District is also considering expanding urban camping grounds to allow space for up to 100 tents.
Construction is getting underway on the Gang vision. A tenuous balance of interests has been struck, and the city clearly wants Northerly Island to graduate to civic destination status. Years of public input have informed the planned design, and we've seen Studio Gang's expertise in ecological constructions in the South Pond nature boardwalk, but we still want to ask our readership: What feature or amenity are you most fond of?
·Northerly Island Park [Studio Gang Architects/JJR Landscape Architecture]
·Construction Draws Near for Northerly Island Makeover [Curbed Chicago]
The poll is closed as of Wednesday morning. Thanks for participating!