Burnham Plan Pavilions

Last night city officials unveiled the designs for the two pavilions commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1909 Plan of Chicago, more popularly known as the Burnham Plan. The Burnham Plan Centennial Committee commissioned two foreign architects–Ben van Berkel of Amsterdam and Zaha Hadid of London–to signify the global impact of the Burnham Plan, as well as to generate excitement among potential donars.

Neither Hadid’s design (above) nor van Berkel’s (at right) makes any specific reference to the Burnham Plan, although Hadid’s pod-like structure is an explicit nod to Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate (or “The Bean”), which also located in Millennium Park. Both are ephemeral structures. 
Hadid’s pavilion will be fabric stretched out over an aluminum frame; come October 31 her pavilion will be dismantled, sold off, and re-erected someplace else. Van Berkel’s pavilion will be constructed out of plywood over a steel frame; it will be demolished and recycled this fall. Light, rather than mass, plays a significant role in both pavilions.

Van Berkel’s squared-off platform nicely sets off Hadid’s curving, enveloping structure. The pavilions are designed to provide a setting for documents about the Burnham Plan while offering glimpses of the skyline, inviting visitors to contemplate the historical distance between Burnham’s horse and buggy urban design and the corporate towers that currently dominate the Chicago skyline.

The pavilions will open to the public on June 19.



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