Burnham Pavilion
Christian Richters

Burnham Pavilion

UNStudio as Architects

Placed on the unique location in the middle of Millennium Park framed by the Lake Michigan on one site and Michigan Avenue on the other, the UNStudio pavilion relates itself to diverse city-contexts, -programs and -scales. Programmatically the pavilion invites people to, gather together, walk around and through, to explore and watch. The UNStudio pavilion is sculptural, very accessible and it acts as an urban activator.

Based on the specificity of the site, the design of the pavilion develops an elaborated relationship to the existing form of a rigid geometry but it also introduces a floating and multi-directional space. It orients itself to the city texture, to the flows of visitors exploring Millennium Park and most importantly introduces diverse vistas towards the park and city surroundings. The pavilion is open towards its sides in between two at the outset horizontal planes of a podium and a roof.

The design of the UNStudio pavilion initially uses the orthogonal setup of the city and park grid. The edges of the pavilion follow the severe setup of the surrounding city- and park-geometry. Burnham’s Plan one hundred years ago introduced that generic grid as main generator of the city texture but also introduced a device to read specificity and variation in the form of the diagonal boulevards creating specific vistas throughout the city.

The UNStudio pavilion is operating similarly, but using the entire spectrum of 360 degrees. Instead of Burnham’s tectonic layering of the city the pavilion introduces in a floating and continuous form a gradient between its ingredients of floor, wall and ceiling. The hierarchy of either being horizontal or vertical is converted into an understanding of a space of continuous transformation and fluidity. The initially horizontal panorama on top of the pavilion’s podium smoothly shifts diagonally into the three roof openings, framing vertical views of the city skyline. The ambivalence of directionality and the introduction of continuous flow of the structure allow to smoothly opening-up spaces, directions and importantly the most diverse vistas to frame and read the city context.

Temporary pavilion to house multimedia installation

Zaha Hadid Architects as Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects’ pavilion design for Chicago’s Burnham Plan Centennial celebrates the city’s ongoing tradition of bold plans and big dreams. The project encourages reinvention and improvement on an urban scale and welcomes the future with innovative ideas and technologies whilst referencing the original organizational systems of Burnham’s plan. Our design continues Chicago’s renowned tradition of cutting edge architecture and engineering, at the scale of a temporary pavilion. The design merges new formal concepts with the memory of bold historic urban planning. Superimpositions of spatial structures with hidden traces of Burnham’s organizational systems and architectural representations create unexpected results. By using methods of overlaying, complexity is build up and inscribed in the structure.

The pavilion is composed of an intricate bent-aluminum structure, with each element shaped and welded in order to create its unique curvilinear form. Outer and inner fabric skins are wrapped tightly around the metal frame to create the fl uid shape. The skins also serve as the screen for video installations to take place within the pavilion.

Zaha Hadid Architects’ pavilion also works within the larger framework of the Centennial celebrations’ commitment to deliberate the future of cities. The presence of the new structure triggers the visitor’s intellectual curiosity whilst an intensifi cation of public life around and within the pavilion supports the idea of public discourse. The pavilion was designed and built to maximize the recycling and re-use of the materials after its role in Millennium Park. It can be re-installed for future use at another site.

Moving-Image Installation of Chicago Past, Present and Future

The Gray Circle as Moving Image Artists

In 2009 Metropolis 2020 and the City of Chicago celebrated the centenary of the Burnham Plan of Chicago and commissioned Zaha Hadid Architects and The Gray Circle (www.thegraycircle.com) to create one of the highlights--a pavilion and floor-to-ceiling multi-layered video installation called ‘Chicago Past, Present and Future’.

The unique design of the Zaha Hadid Pavilion called for something which does more than tell a story so we created a film installation to stimulate imagination, energize into action and inspire. The Gray Circle were chosen because of our experience with integrating video images into the architecture in a way that transforms the space, providing panoramic screens that could wrap round the curvature of the shaped fabric walls, as well as an unexpected approach to imagery, and creatively, Thomas Gray, founder and creative director sees with the eye of an artist and focuses more on engaging audience emotions than presenting a historical narrative. Like Burnham, Gray believes in the power of beauty and nature to transform, paying tribute to Burnham’s inspiration for Chicago.

Walk into the 400 square foot pavilion and you’ll find a relatively intimate space, made large as you experience a seamless collage of beautiful, layered, moving images flowing around the curved fabric wall. People walking, standing and watching become part of the screen and can even touch the evocative images.

As Blair Kamin, the architectural critic of Chicago Tribune (5 August 2009) succinctly wrote: "A striking, 7 ½ -minute video installation by London artist Thomas Gray can only be seen at dusk and after. The installation, which evocatively conveys sounds and images of Burnham's Chicago as well as visions for tomorrow's metropolis, is crucial to cluing in parkgoers that this is a pavilion with a purpose, not a mere folly."

More information and a video showing the pavilion and the film installation can be found at http://www.thegraycircle.com/chicago_pavilion.htm

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Casa Cuata II
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Casa Cuata II

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Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico - Build completed in 2021
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