As the new Maggie Daley Park opened to mixed reviews this weekend, Blair Kamin spoke with park landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh to discuss the design inspirations and directions behind the 25-acre addition to Grant Park. Much of the initial feedback has understandably focused on the new 700-person skating ribbon, a recreational centerpiece providing a new view of the city's skyline, while reaction to the playground area has been a little more mixed, with some commenting on how the lighting and wooden play fort present an odd juxtaposition with the rest of the park's formal style. While it's premature to judge the new facilities until the landscaping fills in, Van Valkenburgh did say that it's important to understand the park is designed to be "appealing to children and those young at heart."
Play is meant to be "a beacon of the park," according to Van Valkenburgh, with child-scale design adding engagement and more livability to the area. The park's sense of scale and contrast will shift as landscaping fills in. Once the trees mature, they'll be closer in height to the tripod-shaped light standards, so the later won't stick out. As time goes on, the pines coming in alongside the skating ribbon will create more of a feeling of skating through the trees. And that's not even taking into account the ways the park will change this spring when grass comes in and the tennis courts are finished, providing additional options and recreational space. Though the public got its first taste of the park this past weekend, it still may be a bit too early to form a final opinion on the park that still has a lot more coming its way.
·Maggie Daley Park architect says it's still a work in progress[Tribune]
·Skating at Maggie Daley Park: GoPro Footage [DNAinfo]
·Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park Officially Opens This Saturday [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous Maggie Daley Park coverage [Curbed Chicago]