Inspired by something overheard on the Riverwalk – namely Chicago’s Mayor Emanuel said “The Riverwalk creates a profound intimacy between our citizens and their river. It’s our Yellowstone. It’s our Grand Canyon. The National Park that defines our city.” – the Chicago River’s Edge Idea Lab entry by Sasaki was entitled “The Urban Sublime”. Gina Ford led this design work while a principal at Sasaki working closely with project designer Matthew Macchietto.
Terms like sublime or awe-inspiring, wild or terrifying, sacred or magic have left our urban lexicon. They feel needlessly florid to describe the everyday. They seem psychologically relegated to our large, remote national parks. Yet the spaces that are most meaningful, that draw us back time after time, are precisely those that have us tremble in desire, delight, disorientation. They titillate us with expectation. They paralyze us with awe. They release us into wonder.
The latest phases of the Riverwalk hint at this—providing an upfront and personal introduction to the dazzling and reflective world of this once-hidden waterfront. As we envision the southern expansion of this “recreational frontier”—we imagine an amplification of this burgeoning physical and sensory new memory—a series of connected places that capitalize on the river’s ability to provide provocative adventure, unexpected wildness, and phenomenal collision.Project Images