Pavilions, designed by world-renowned architects to draw attention to the future-looking centennial, and hundreds of exhibits, events, and other activities presented by more than 200 Centennial Program Partners in the three-state metro area.
The visually striking pavilions by UNStudio of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) of London, UK, were commissioned by the privately funded Burnham Plan Centennial Committee to visibly promote civic involvement in making bold plans and big dreams for the next 100 years.
"Public art and visionary design are necessary for any city to play a global leadership role in the 21st Century," said John Bryan, Burnham Plan Centennial Committee co-chair. "These two Burnham Pavilions make bold statements to the world, as did Millennium Park, about Chicago's confidence in its future."
Ben van Berkel, founder and principal of UNStudio, was part of a press conference and later celebrations opening to the public his Pavilion, which shows traces of inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie style and offers windows onto the Chicago skyline. Hidden beneath the sculptural form is a steel substructure made of material donated by ArcelorMittal.
"The Burnham Pavilion relates to the diverse city contexts, program and scales. It invites people to gather, walk around and through and to explore and observe. The pavilion is sculptural, highly accessible and functions as an urban activator" said van Berkel.
"The Zaha Hadid Burnham Pavilion is a work in progress. With more than 7,000 pieces of aluminum - no two alike - that had to be individually bent and welded to create its curvilinear form, its fabrication took longer than the contractor expected," said George Ranney, co-chair of the Centennial Committee and CEO of Chicago Metropolis 2020, which has led and managed the centennial.
Zaha Hadid, winner of the 2004 Pritzker Prize for Architecture, was unable to travel to Chicago from her home in London because she badly injured her knee. She is looking forward to visiting Chicago, said ZHA architect Thomas Vietzke, who was on hand to describe the firm's design intent.
Speaking from London, Ms. Hadid said, "The Burnham Plan Centennial is all about celebrating the Bold Plans and Big Dreams of Daniel Burnham's visionary Plan of Chicago. It's about reinvention and improvement on an urban scale, and about welcoming the future with innovative ideas and technologies. Our design continues Chicago's renowned tradition of cutting edge architecture and engineering, at the scale of a temporary pavilion, whilst referencing the organizational systems of Burnham's Plan. I very much look forward to visiting Chicago in September to talk about the pavilion and its context within the city's ongoing investigations of its past and discussions of its future."
Chicagoans have the special opportunity of seeing the elegant bent-aluminum structure of the Hadid Burnham Pavilion during the opening weekend. The structure will then be placed within a tent while it is tightly wrapped in outer and inner fabric skins. When it opens later this summer the inner fabric skin will serve as the "screen" for a sound-and-video installation by artist Thomas Gray that portrays Chicago's transformation from past to future.
Both pavilions were designed and built to be deconstructed and their materials re-used following the exhibit's closing later this year.
The privately funded pavilions were commissioned by the Burnham Plan Centennial Committee working in close collaboration with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Millennium Park, Inc. Also at the press conference were representatives of the architects of record and construction teams, as well as the two collaborating schools of architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Illinois at Chicago.
The world premiere of composer Michael Torke's "Plans," a work for orchestra and chorus based upon words of Daniel Burnham, will fill the evenings of June 19 and 20 at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The free concerts by the Grant Park Music Festival, also featuring a Rachmaninoff composition that premiered in 1909, will be at 6:30 p.m. Friday and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. As the sun sets following the concert, the UNStudio Pavilion will come to life with an interactive lighting display that echoes the colors of the renderings that illustrated the original Burnham Plan. The display, designed by Chicago artist Daniel Sauter and implemented by Dear Productions, will change colors as people walk through the pavilion.
On June 19, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., the public is invited to a free Burnham Pavilions Panel Discussion at the Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium. The panel will be moderated by Joseph Rosa, the Art Institute's John H. Bryan Curatorial Chair of Architecture and Design. The architects will discuss their pavilions, and Donna Robertson, Dean of the School of Architecture of the Illinois Institute of Technology, and Robert Somol, Director of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will respond.
In 1909, architects Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett presented the visionary Plan of Chicago, which had been commissioned by The Commercial Club of Chicago. The 1909 Plan of Chicago helped make the city and its region one of the most livable, prosperous places of the 20th Century—with a spectacular lakefront, open spaces and dynamic transportation systems. Today, with Commercial Club support, the Centennial Committee is printing a Centennial Edition of the Plan, with maps and drawings remade from archives of the Chicago History Museum.
"The business community has invested in the Centennial because it knows that what is at stake here is Metropolitan Chicago's ability to compete globally for jobs and investment. And that the foundation of our economic future is enhancing the quality of life for all the people throughout our metropolis," said Centennial Committee vice chair Adele Simmons, who has led the organizational effort.
Committee executive director Emily J. Harris explained, "The underlying purpose of our work and the work of all our hundreds of Partners is to motivate our region's people, their institutions and leaders to make a personal commitment to bold planning and building a future that benefits everyone in the region. Already, the Centennial has accomplished real results in advancing our green legacy, inspiring our children, and building a shared sense of regional community." An interactive introduction to the alternative futures that face metropolitan Chicago will be featured on a kiosk sharing the Burnham Pavilions' site at the south end of Millennium Park. In addition to providing information on Centennial programs, the kiosk gets people involved in scenarios to help shape the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's (CMAP) GoTo2040 plan for the next 30 years.
"Ask me" volunteers will be stationed at the Pavilions during peak times, and there will be "Talk With the Team" every other Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., starting on June 24. This gives the public the opportunity to learn directly from the insiders about the planning, design, construction, techniques, artistry and technology involved in making the Burnham Pavilions a reality.
About Burnham Plan Centennial Funding
Our region's community foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, provided leadership funding for the Burnham Plan Centennial, and is joined by the Elizabeth Morse and Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trusts as founding sponsors. Organizational and staff support for the Burnham Plan Centennial Committee is provided by Chicago Metropolis 2020.
The Pavilions are privately funded, with support from Mr. and Mrs. John H. Bryan, Mr. and Mrs. Wesley M. Dixon, Jamee and Marshall Field, Margot and Thomas Pritzker, Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan, and The Crown Family.
Corporate pavilion sponsors include British Airways, ArcelorMittal, Marmon/Keystone Corporation (a member of The Marmon Group of companies), as well as the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. National City, now a part of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., is the official sponsor of the June 19 public opening events.
Note to media: High-resolution images are available upon request. These include renderings of the two pavilions planned for Millennium Park; images from the original Plan of Chicago, including many of the Jules Guerin paintings; a photo of Daniel Burnham; and photos of legacies of the original Plan, such as the Michigan Avenue Bridge and the double-decker Wacker Drive. For a complete listing of the plans of Centennial Partners, go to www.burnhamplan100.org.