Chicago Eco-Bridge to 2016

Eco-bridge

This conceptual proposal for Chicago's Monroe Harbor was designed in honor of the great American architect Daniel Burnham, but perhaps more importantly, to secure Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympic games.  The proposal is a modern interpretation of Burnam's 1909 master plan for Chicago.  In a land locked city, the Chicago Eco-Bridge offers an extension of the landscape that would dramatically change the face of the city, and perhaps the United States. 

Trolly-turbines

This is one of the boldest proposals we've seen on our soil.  The Eco-Bridge, along with Fresh Kills and Governor's Island in New York, is part of a growing class of massive scale landscape projects.  While nations like the Netherlands and Dubai have become relative experts on terrestrial reclamation and island building, our country has been slow to jump on the bandwagon.  With the "green movement" in full swing, Eco-Bridge represents an opportunity to get back on the international stage.  The concept calls for a slew of vertical wind turbines, a multi-use athletic trail, electric trolley line, and a solar-harvesting observation tower that promises to take full advantage of the city's skyline. 

What's unique about this proposal is that this would be a new type of public space never before seen in the U.S.  The interaction with Lake Michigan and the shoreline is a new relationship; one that would put the users in limbo somewhere between sea, earth, and sky. 

Designed by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architects, the plan is to have the central observation tower be the home for the Olympic flame.  A glowing fireball a hundred or more feet in the sky would certainly be a symphony of the elements in dramatic fashion.  Perhaps more importantly, it would be a next-generation Statue of Liberty of sorts, welcoming the world once again to America.

Eco-bridge-night

Harbor-chicago

Harbor-illustrative

Towerview

See also Masdar Headquarters and Clean Technology Tower by AS+GG.

Photo credits: © Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.


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  • http://sallyTV.com sallyTV

    Super into it!

    • Shawn

      What they did in Dubai was drastically destroy a natural ecosystem by completely churning up and burying existing ocean floor bed. This occurred because to get the soil to make a structure that size they dug up the sea bed liquifying the sediment and pumping it to create the land to build on. This not only destroys the habitat of fish where you dig but where sediment is deposited. A certain amount of silt is also going to get into the water and choke fish and marine life. This project in one of the largest fresh water sources in the world could cause algae blooms or stir up toxic chemical now deposited in the lake bed from many years of dumping before it was stopped only to end up back in the bodies of fish and mixed in the water. A similar issue to dredging toxic chemicals out of sediment of past polluted lakes and rivers.
      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/england-football-stars-palmisland-paradise-is-promoting-ecodisaster-536171.html

      http://www.dnr.state.md.us/mydnr/askanexpert/algae_blooms.asp

      • Shawn

        To call this an Eco bridge is a tad ridiculous.

      • Robin

        Would it be possible to construct this on “poles” of some sort – rather than laying a foundation?

  • Brian D

    I like the concept very much… Is there anymore detail available though?

  • rich

    wind turbines, does not make it green. It will have major affects on the sea patterns. Also it has a very typical shape of architecture meant to be “green”. it must be green it has nice curve wave shapes

    • http://watchthehousegrow.blogspot.com/ john Letourneau

      Rich,Chicago is on a lake, not a sea. I’m also confused by the article refering to the city as being land-locked when it is in fact along the shore of Lake Michigan.

      • MQ

        I think they mean the city can’t expand as there is no more land for the city to acquire hence building into the lake.

  • Maya

    There’s a big difference between green and natural. Nature doesn’t have straight lines (and a lot of the new “green buildings” coincide with contemporary architecture, which is quite boxy). I think the design is very well done and I hope if it does get built that it is well used and appreciated.

    • d

      Correct, there is a big difference between green and nutural. But to consider anything designed by man as nutural, espcially when it is not in “straight lines”, is just as ridiculous. Nature in some instances can be far more structured than you think, often consisting of lines as well. Those lines are just broken down into elaborate patterns of lines. Please spare us an debate on whether or not curves or straight lines if more green. This is just way too superficial.

    • mies

      the interesting thing about boxy architecture, is that the juxtaposition of boxy and nature offsets the beauty nature holds

  • http://www.ecolabelfundraising.com Jeanne of Ecolabel Fundraising

    I’m a former Chicago resident, so I’m excited to see Chicago doing something as progressive as this. Chicago is such a great place already! Can’t wait to see it on a visit to the City.

  • Chris

    Although the concept is certainly bold and interesting, I believe that one of the “selling points” mentioned as “to take full advantage of the city’s skyline” to be VERY close to the REAL purpose, “to take full advantage of the city’s / state’s / nation’s taxpayers”. After all, what ‘advantage’ is there to take of the city’s skyline, other than to view and photograph it? Since this clearly won’t be a privately funded, developed and managed project, the political advantages to the ones who can talk this up and develop it … and award the massive construction contracts and later real estate commissions … are breathtaking. If you think this is going to be developed “for the common good”, then you probably already buy bridges to nowhere. (I was also tickled by the literalness of this ‘Eco Bridge’ being a REAL “Bridge to Nowhere”.)

    • Aaron

      To view and photograph it is a very good reason to build such a thing, as is to make an attempt at beautification, even if it brings in no profits. Everyone’s always commenting on money. Money money money. You people would be nothing without money.

      • Sam S.

        Scarcity of Resources with Unlimited Wants: That’s why money matters. Would this Ecobridge come at the expense of Education, CTA improvements, or other green initiatives.

        Chicago has an excellent lake front as is and Millennium Park is a 21st century public park. I however am skeptical of the spillover benefits of the eco bridge. I don’t see how it could raise property values around the area the Millennium Park did. The trolley line would have to connect to Loop or Metra stations and be more integrated into the City’s transportation network.

    • Al

      One of the things they could be talking about to “take full advantage of the city’s skyline” would be to put solar reflectors on several of the buildings with their beams focused on the 100 foot solar collector tower at the apex of the “green” eco-bridge.

  • Ceiling Cat

    Do tell, earthlings, what is the Energy Returned on Energy Invested?
    LOLZ
    KTHXBAI

  • notimpressed

    My god…
    What a waste of taxpayer money.
    This is just a glorified bike path from the looks of it.

    lol @ it being green because it has wind turbines. Give me a break.

  • Mike

    Ugh. Another stupid idea. Why not just beg? That’s pretty much what they’re doing with this. Being a resident of Atlanta, I’ve seen what the Olympics do to a city. At first it’s all fun and games. But then, you’re left with pointless structures in a bad part of town that don’t get used by anyone but the homeless.

  • jellenellen23

    Why are you people so upset with the wind turbines? What is wrong with you? You would rather see the pollution fill the skies, not see it in our rain or in our waters, feel the pinch in your wallet as utilities prices rise. I suppose you are against solar and anything else will help the earth, along with those who live on this living breathing planet. This plan may not work but is it a beautiful plan. Just imagine the world loosing power and having to rely on wind turbines and solar. I suppose you be the one still complaining as those objects you don’t like give you power and water!!!! Grow some nads and learn to survive!!! What kind of person dose not want to better the place they live and themselves along with others. CHANGE IS NEEDED TO BETTER OURSELVES AND OUR FUTURE

    • Mike

      They’re mocking the wind turbines because they feel it’s a token addition to the concept in order to lay claim to a green design, not because they’re against green initiatives. Get off the soap box please.

  • st

    Rad badical!

  • WillTower

    Hell yea! This is beautiful—is this one of the shovel ready projects that the stimulus bill will fund?

  • http://www.zlimp.com forever

    cool man! way to go!

  • http://www.lacocoteraresort.com/ Eco Resort

    This conceptual proposal for the eco bridge is amazing, i hope Chicago gets it. I love Chicago architecture, it is some of the best in the world.

  • Shawn

    What they did in Dubai was drastically destroy a natural ecosystem by completely churning up and burying existing ocean floor bed. This occurred because to get the soil to make a structure that size they dug up the sea bed liquifying the sediment and pumping it to create the land to build on. This not only destroys the habitat of fish where you dig but where sediment is deposited. A certain amount of silt is also going to get into the water and choke fish and marine life. This project in one of the largest fresh water sources in the world could cause algae blooms or stir up toxic chemical now deposited in the lake bed from many years of dumping before it was stopped only to end up back in the bodies of fish and mixed in the water. A similar issue to dredging toxic chemicals out of sediment of past polluted lakes and rivers.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/england-football-stars-palmisland-paradise-is-promoting-ecodisaster-536171.html

    http://www.dnr.state.md.us/mydnr/askanexpert/algae_blooms.asp

    • scott

      the discussion of green bullshit and visual aesthetics is great, but my question is, can this really be ready for the 2106 olympics? This project is compared above with those in dubai of late…the ones that have all but stopeed. Dubai has something like 5% of their foreign workforce leaving every day and their currency is in freefall. Half their major real estate projects are abandoned…Sounds familiar…Look around at our economy and ask yourself “Will this really happen?”

      Its a Beautiful idea and I would love to see it happen. Not sure it will tho.

  • russ

    silly, sick joke and a total waste of money

  • Luke

    I really like this design. I just saw on the news how they were planning temporary stadiums to be built in Grant Park, for $500 million, and taken down after the games. For one, I love Grant Park and do not believe it should be tampered with in that way. Also, I love the idea of the olympics being heald out in the lake with easy access to the city. When Chicago does host the Olympics, it will be here forever. It cannot come and go, and this “eco bridge” is the only way to keep the history of the Olympics in Chicago. This is the way to go.

  • http://mportlandrealestate.com Tyler Portland Real Estate

    This could be interesting, I really hope that they can meet their goal of becoming the “Greenest Olympics Ever”. That would certainly make my day.

  • Serrah

    I agree with the first few comments. Wind turbines and curvy aesthetics don’t make this project environmental. Neither does marketing “Green” hype just for ambitions revolving around the Olympics! What steps are being made in the CONSTRUCTION of the bridge to minimize environmental impact to marine ecosystems??? Please tell us the city has pro green builders and scientists working on this with the designers! Let me guess, excessive amounts of concrete with a very high embodied energy (mixed with waste ash even??). How many massive pillars are being embedded into the underwater floor bed?
    Cool design, but not cool enough by this generation’s standards.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Manuj-Darshan/839728503 Manuj Darshan

    Simply spectacular!

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