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Burnham Memorial Design Competition Entries: Phase I
View a slideshow of all Phase I entries or scroll down to view entries alphabetically by firm name.
The start of this journey that represents his quest in work and in spirit is marked by a large stone displaying his image is bas-relief and a list of donors. You ascend on a gentle almost imperceptible slope and stroll through dappled woods that open to views of the lake and continue through meadows edged with flowering trees to a cantilevered overlook surveying the city. Then you ascend to where the museum and landscape join together. A sloping plaza presses past the walls into a circular lawn and the trees are drawn up into the plaza and over the walls leaving them to be discovered in the woods of the future. Now, turning towards the city, you find the partially hidden center, where a circular stone, part of a huge column sits in the center of a circular space. One word; "Burnham" is carved into the stone. His spirit and his influence is at that moment all around you, as the landscape opens to views of the city, lake and the museum; you are at once alone but you also feel the underlying unity in all you see.
The garden is designed to incorporate many of the devices which were loved by Burnham and which exemplified his work. To keep faith with Burnham's love for the Greek classics, it is based on Euclid's mathematically unique 'Golden Section'. It is basically a rectangle containing four compartments, each containing an intimate garden, a garden of the senses.
All paths lead to the central focus point which is the Burnham Sculpture. This is surrounded by a compass rose in pastel colored stone and brass lettering indicating the remarkable extent of his work from London to San Francisco. From the north one enters via a limestone Gatehouse which will provide shelter and ample wall space for written tributes.
Daniel P. Coffey & Associates, Ltd.
The framework for the "Museum for Burnham" is a set of 31 gossamer white Pavilions set within a "street grid" of 53, 50'x50', blocks. These Pavilions create a uniform cornice line on a landscape that includes four terraces that drop five feet each. These terraces are inspired by the site and the terrace gardens of Sanssouci in Potsdam. Exhibit Pavilions inhabit the terraces.
The current obelisk topped by an eagle is replaced with "Heroic Statue of a Standing Burnham. It is twenty feet tall and is facing north looking over Grant Park and the lake front that is his greatest legacy. Below him is the new Museum dedicated to his work and his time. Burnham stands in a "Cour d'honneur", and dominates it as much as the dome of his proposed city hall was to dominate our city. Radiating from him, three Grand Avenues cross the grid of pavilions.
Each of the 32 Pavilions is an abstracted set of several buildings on a block, complete with a Chicago "alleyway" for interior access.
David Woodhouse Architects (First place winner)
The Memorial offers an opportunity to reconnect the site—disconnected from the whole by Lake Shore Drive—by completing the geometry and providing a public anchor to the southeast corner of Grant Park. Placing the Memorial in the exact corner, from its elevated position, allows the visitor to make this connection to its place in the City as they look down the line of Roosevelt Rd or along the waters edge. The Memorial's design is rooted in classical precedent (the Athenian Acropolis itself has a diagonal approach up an incline past an off-center cubic volume to a central pedimented portico) and principles of axiality—just as Burnham's designs were. Anchored by the classically formed axis of the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium, it also recognizes the contemporary realities of the functional planning of generous public space by merging these elements within a site that is asymmetrically weighted to emphasize the spectacular views available.
DLK Civic Design
Overlooking Lake Michigan, Grant Park and the Chicago skyline is a seated, bronze figure of Burnham, derived from the Zorn portrait and photographs of Burnham in his office. With book in hand (Chicago Plan), he is contemplating how his ideas for Chicago (with the Plan rendered in low relief on a bronze table in front of him) were or were not realized, and what the vision for Chicago today is (if any), and how we as citizens should imagine Chicago in the future.
The surface of the terrace will be a stone mosaic assemblage of Burnham's city plans and buildings, and other designs, which visitors on foot, in wheelchairs, and on bicycles, can retrace.
The Pavilion and terrace provide a destination for the two sets f existing stairs and ramps descending from the belvedere.
Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge (Honorable Mention)
The Memorial terrace draws the spectator into the drama of Burnham's ensemble, extending from the Field and culminating in an overlook beyond which stands a monumental figure of Burnham, marking the axis from the Drive and scaled to the backdrop of the Museum. Grasping a sheaf of drawings, Burnham's gaze is focused toward the horizon, suggesting the vision and foresight that have benefited Chicago. The terrace is anchored by a commemorative alcove where a plaque describes Burnham's life, achievements and legacy. Moving northward, visitors cross the axis of the Aquarium; a gently sloping row of trees terminated by a fountain at its western end. The terrace peninsula beyond has Burnham's Plan incised in its paving, aligned with the Drive as it exists today and the cross axis of the flanking stairs marking that of the Plan's harbor. The memorial, like the Fair and the Plan, combines formal and naturalistic landscape elements harmoniously, following Burnham and Olmsted's original models. Ramps to the Museum terrace move through a Jensen-inspired landscape to terraces whose architectural language recalls that found in Burnham's other park and garden projects and enhances and extends the Museum Campus, one of the most impressive examples of Beaux Arts planning in North America.
Harley Ellis Devereaux
This concept begins with a partial overly of the original Burnham Plan on the site to serve as a "palimpsest" and a planning grid from which new ideas can develop.
The Memorial area evolves from a circular space created where the "urban" Axis and the redial pathway intersect. A narrow watercourse, which begins at the Belvedere flows along the axis differentiating it as the memorial location. The site is populated with steel and stone elements representing the transition from the 19th to the 20th century, and the "White City" to the steel city. Burnham's "statue" is created on one of the steel slabs as a pointillist image drilled through the metal.
Hoerr Schaudt (Second place winner)
The site of the Daniel Hudson Burnham Memorial, staged dramatically in front of his Field Museum, offers a breathtaking, sweeping view of Burnham's vision of Chicago's lakefront. Our design captures this view, helping the public understand Burnham's vision for Chicago as well as his significant work throughout the US and abroad. The grand lawn north of the Field Museum will be re-graded as a gently sloped mound, smoothing the existing terraces in proper scale with the monumental Field Museum forecourt and classical fašade, integrating seamlessly with the Memorial.
The Memorial is sensitive to the architectural surroundings from multiple views. While respecting the presence and material palette of the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium, our design maintains a powerful presence as one approaches, yet is modest in that it does so without sacrificing the existing open green space. It is both modest in its placement and bold in its experience. It is both contemporary and traditional. It is a place for contemplation and a place of celebration. It accommodates a single visitor or a crowd of hundreds attending an event. It is a modern, simple form built of classic, durable Chicago materials—bronze, granite and limestone. In these ways, we hope it is a memorial to and a piece of Burnham's timeless legacy.
James McCrery Architects LLC
Burnham's statue is located at the Aquarium and Field Museum axis and rises from the same level upon which these buildings stand and shows the architect in contemporary costume. A semi-circular bench ranges around the statue precinct and bears inscribed names of Burnham's built accomplishments. Two close-set abutments indicate the bridge entrance. Decorated with gigantic figures of the Arts (attended by Sculpture and Architecture) and the Sciences (attended by Medicine and Communication). The pier terminates at its base along the pathway with water pouring into a basin. Here, in testimonial, the inscription "Root" appears, to confess the genius of Burnham's short-lived partner John Wellborn Root, pioneer of the American skyscraper.
John Ronan Architects (Honorable Mention)
The design explores the boundary between building, space and landscape in the creation of a memorial that is both destination and passage. The memorial is a surface made of Cor-ten steel inserted into the site that serves as a passage with ramp and stair for pedestrians, bikers and skaters moving between the different levels of the site. This transitional zone is bounded by walls to create a destination landscape that serves as memorial to Burnham, complete with shade trees, quote wall, and image of Burnham.
A wide stair is located asymmetrically within the memorial space and centered on the Shedd Aquarium, to re-establish the axial approach intended by its architecture. Ramped surfaces to either side of the stair allow accessible access between the different levels of the site, and are sized to handle the large crowds that pass through the site in warm weather and for events at Soldier Field. A dot screen image digitally engraved into the ramp reveals a likeness of Burnham when viewed from the proper perspective at the base of the ramp. A grove of trees in this area provides shade where visitors can rest and contemplate Burnham's famous credo, inscribed in the wall of the memorial.
From the Field Museum terrace above, a pathway down to the memorial frames a view of the Lake beyond and leads visitors to the overlook. The upper pavilions flanking the overlook are decorated with allegorical ornamentation representing architecture on the south and urban planning on the north. Stairs descend on either side of the pavilions, leading to the formal Terrace of Muses. At the center of the Terrace of Muses, a slightly over-scaled statue of a contemplative Daniel Burnham sits facing the Lake. The arches surrounding him to the north and south represent places and people who inspired his work.
As visitors emerge from the Lake Shore Drive pedestrian tunnel, they are faced with arresting views across the lagoon to an elevated classical pavilion nested within an informal, restored prairie landscape.
As the Daniel Burnham monument takes form on public land, it provides a destination of sensory impressions for residents and visitors of Chicago. It serves not memorialize the planner, but to energize and engage citizens in the spirit of Daniel Burnham, to explore and understand the essence of the dynamic elements and transformative effects of the act of planning in the City of Chicago.
Site treatment and choice of materials are environmentally sensitive, as well as responsive to the surroundings. The pathways from this terrace and the existing park paths converge in the City Grand plaza. A ha-ha wall concept preserves the view from the terrace and lawn out to the city, while forming a Burnham Memory Wall and plaza from the existing walkway level. This plaza captures the essence of Burnham's accomplishments, and his vision for the city to develop a soul, for landscapes to be playgrounds for masses with "the far stretching lawn and the quiet water, the shadowing trees, the gleaming leaves and smiling flowers, things that conduce to contemplation, to quiet thought, playing upon the minds of millions of our people, and tending to beguile them into the peace of simple nature". The treatment of this plaza abstractly conveys the essence of the urban plan, and its scale and significance.
Peter Walker & Partners (Honorable Mention)
The proposal for the Burnham Memorial completes the unfinished levels north of the Field Museum parterres with a new memorial garden. The new garden creates a "crossroads" at the meeting of two allees, one a stepping up toward the museum entry and "entering: the existing parterre, the second curving in a half circle and connecting to the two existing side stairs. The narratives and images of Burnham and Bennett's accomplishments as well as the donors' names could be depicted on a translucent glass "double" wall, 6 feet by 40 feet, cut into vertical cantilevered glass panels with defused backs. Here the great plans could be etched or sandblasted on the face of the glass and lit from below at night. A sculpture of Burnham would be centered in the "place of honor" and would be seen from all directions in the frame provided by the allees of columnar oaks.
Sasaki Boston (Third place winner)
Inspired by Burnham's understanding of the landscape of Chicago, this proposal creates a Memorial Path that negotiates three reconfigured landscapes—the City Terraces, The Prairie and the Lake—and shifts the orientation of the site to the expansive view of the Horizon.
The Memorial Path makes a direct connection between Grant Park and the Lakefront and then connects directly to the Terrace of Burnham's great Field Museum. Stainless steel studs etch the surface of the path with text relating to Burnham's greatest quotes and accomplishments, and on the Lakefront promenade the pieces of steel form an image of the man himself. The textured surfaces recall the tactile structure his architectural designs so embraced. Intermittent LED fixtures within the dotted text pattern give the path a constellation of light at night.
The Tunnel Cloud—An inner shell is formed within the existing tunnel, creating a stunning new gateway to Burnham Park and introducing visitors to the Memorial.
This proposal sets forth a grand vision for the development of a series of garden rooms organized around seven themes that commemorate Daniel Burnham's career, legacy and gift to future generations.
The design could be implemented in its entirety or in phases over time.
There are (4) four abutments organized about the cross axis of the Shedd Aquarium-Roosevelt Rd. and the north south axis of the park. Each of the abutments celebrates a chapter in Daniel Burnham's life. The abutments are clad in a translucent, softly backlit, marble veneer as the main material.
The purpose of the walkway is to communicate in a narrative, Daniel Burnham's foremost accomplishment, the 1909 plan of Chicago. Six (6) main 1909 plan recommendations will be highlighted in (6) six individual text tablets. The signage of 'tablets' will be recessed into the gabion stone wall. The gabion wall becomes the symbolic binding of the plan.
'LITTLE PLAN' embraces Burnham's notion of PLAY by creating an engaging educational environment in which visitors can interact with the 1909 Plan of Chicago. Situated on the southeast corner of the Great Lawn, its inhabitable and three-dimensional scaled version of the Plan allows visitors of every age to explore Burnham's transformative ideas. In doing so, the design reconceived what a memorial can be, rejecting traditional, often somber, precedents to celebrate Burnham's ideals and impress visitors with the vast scale of his proposal.
Wheeler Kearns Architects
Flanked by an adjacent walking path, an embankment spirals up the existing terraced lawn from the north. As the embankment ascends the slope, it builds in height only to recede as it meets the terrace of the Field Museum. In respect for the context of the museum campus, the convex face of the embankment is clad with a stone veneer congruent with the surrounding buildings.
The focus of the memorial is the concave face of the embankment—a multilayered wall of clear and translucent glass. Names and images of communities connected to Chicago are etched and fritted onto different surfaces of the various layers of glass, creating overlapping patterns and depth.
Recognizing that participants would invest an enormous amount of effort and resources into this creative endeavor, the organizers of this competition wanted to offer some monetary compensation to firms invited to participate. Thanks to the generous support from the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust, an honorarium of $5,000 was paid to each of the firms that submitted Phase One designs.
Several architects and designers inquired about submitting unsolicited entries. Although these entries were not part of the formal competition, AIA Chicago is pleased to share local designers' and architects' visions for a memorial to Daniel H. Burnham.
(No accompanying narrative)
DePree Bickford Associates, LLC
The proposed concept, Burnham Memorial Garden, shall connect existing pedestrian pathways, celebrate Burnham's contributions to urban planning, educate the public on the history of the 1909 Plan of Chicago and inspire all who experience the new landscape. Through a multi-tiered system of terraces, gardens and water features, the Burnham Memorial Garden shall offer an array of experiences within the historic context of Grant Park and the Museum Campus. Consistent with the existing materials and landscape forms, Burnham Memorial Garden shall provide a public gathering place with views of the city and lake, surrounded by a lush landscape, reflecting pools and waterfalls. All who gather to enjoy the setting shall learn of Burnham's influence that unfolds before them.
Casimir Kujawa and Mason Pritchett
Re-Visioning Burnham memorializes and celebrates the centennial of Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago through a design approach that recognizes the surrounding context of the given site and offers new ways of envisioning and experiencing the city. The Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium share a latent, formal geometry instrumental in positioning the Burnham Memorial. Two axes define primary pathways and merge to form a significant space where the Daniel Burnham commemorative sculpture, narrative elements and donor wall are logically located. As a component of the memorial, an LED Media Wall displays a programmable arrangement of historical and cultural information perceived locally on-site or at a distance from Lake Shore Drive along the extended axis of the Field Museum. Further study of the site reveals a potential for the refinement of pathways and related improvement of the local ecologies and hydrologic system. Three primary routes, sorted from among the complex of existing paths, correspond to an evolved symbiotic network of ecologies: woodland, prairie and wetland. Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago displays skillfully rendered views of the city to engage readers in re-envisioning the city.
Re-Visioning Burnham introduces the Memorial Aerostat to the program, bringing additional amenities to the project. Lifted with hydrogen produced by algae on-site and powered by solar panels on its roof, the Memorial Aerostat is energy independent and free to tour the city. People below perceive the inversion of Chicago reflected upon the hull of the aerostat, using it as a new way to understand and navigate the city.
Samuel J. Lima, Renner Design Associates
Taking Burnham's most famous quote literally, I enlarged his 1909 Plan of Chicago to the size of a small plaza. The streets in the Plan are made of translucent glass tile with lights beneath, creating a stunning illumination of the plan at night. Lake Michigan is represented in the Plan by a shallow wading pool. On the East and West sides of the Plan, colonnades extend away from the Field museum. The colonnades both frame the Plan and provide a place from which to view the plan from above. Educational boards describing Burnham, his architecture, and his Plan of Chicago are to be placed on the top of the colonnades. On the South side of the Plan, Burnham's famous "Make no little plans" quote runs the length of the Plan. To the North of the Plan, a bronze statue of Burnham faces the Plan and Field Museum. The statue makes the viewer wonder what he is sketching. The words "Daniel H. Burnham: Architect and City Planner" are located on the statue's pedestal. To the East and West of the colonnades, the rolling terraces of the existing site are preserved. To the North of the statue is a formal grove of deciduous trees. This area terminates the axis created by the Field Museum in a natural setting, creating a transition to Grant Park to the North.
Tactile experience of Burnham's vision: Stone vectors break through pavers illustrating Burnham's plan for Chicago, back-grounded by bronze relieves of Burnham, the Chicago Commercial Club, and the citizens of Chicago.