Chicago’s river runs through the city’s very heart, right next to its famous Loop business and commercial core. Connecting it with surrounding suburbs, this important feature has been playing an important role in the city’s development for decades. Yet up until today large chunks of it remained disused. Now, a significant part of this once-industrial space has been transformed into a welcoming 1.5 mile long promenade, named the Chicago Riverwalk.

Ross Barney Architects collaborated with landscape architecture firm Sasaki to reclaim this valuable piece of urban land for the public and redefine it into a ‘dynamic space, lined with public amenities, restaurants, cultural activities and access to natural habitats for city residents and visitors alike.’ The project’s aim was to ‘return the river to Chicago and return Chicagoans to the river’, says lead architect Carol Ross Barney.

The recently launched project has already proven very popular, offering several leisure and hospitality activities that will transform Chicago’s urban experience

Recently launched to the public, this represents the final phase in an important city project, which has been ongoing since 2009, when its first stage was completed. Further works were finished by 2015, bringing developments up to this final phase that includes six brand new riverside areas that are especially designed to enhance the way Chicagoans interact with the riverbanks.

There’s a plaza, where visitors can simply relax and sunbathe; a series of piers that highlight the river’s ecology; and the Broadwalk’s sloping bridge and floating gardens – all conceived to bring tourists and locals close to the water in a meaningful way. Several activities are offered across the stretch of the project, ready to provide an eager crowd with a range of leisure and hospitality options, no doubt set to transform Chicago’s urban experience.

TAGS: LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE, URBAN PLANNING, AMERICAN ARCHITECTURE