West Loop Park
Citation of Merit
- Chicago Architecture Foundation
- Division Miscellaneous
- Location Chicago, IL
The unnatural canyon of a highway roadbed that cuts through the city west of the Loop would be transformed into a new ribbon of green space in this proposal. The highway would be roofed over, but that's not all. Intermittent openings in the roof would create light patterns in the driving tunnel. Mid-block bridges would facilitate pedestrian movement through the new parkland without interfering in the work of the existing on-ramps and off-ramps, and new buildings on the parkland's edge would be designed so as to shape the movement of air across the space, effectively cleansing the park and the roadway below of smelly exhaust. It would be, the architects wrote, "a breathing lung for the city." Jurors were duly breathless about the idea. "It goes right along with Mayor Daley's idea to make this a green city, and it would use something that [now] divides the city to connect it back together," said one. "They didn't propose just putting a roof over the road, they made something sculptural out of it."