Olympic Urban Farm Park

Unbuilt Design Award Submission

In conjunction with Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics our client proposed that an Urban Farm Park be incorporated in the Olympic Village. The scheme adds two amenities by placing high-intensity, hydroponic greenhouses in a park setting located just south of McCormick Place between the Olympic Village and its beachfront recreation facilities, and reinforcing Chicago’s pattern of public access lakefront parkland.

The hydroponic farming concept is driven by the needs of the athletes, who demand organically grown, high-nutrition food, and by the Olympics Committees, who mandate that a reliable, sufficient and strictly regulated supply of fresh food be guaranteed.

New parking replaces the McCormick Place truck marshalling yard, and a landscape-covered, concrete structure would be built overhead to support the Urban Farm Park. The ridged greenhouses stretch the entire length of the site, but its width varies, creating a serpentine form sometimes hidden from view by trees and sometimes reaching to perimeter sidewalk-concourses where passersby could view the crops inside. Three east-west pedestrian walks break-up the greenhouses into segments.

A Learning Center sits along the Lake Promenade, to host school groups and the general public with exhibits describing the hydroponic farming process and its function in an urban environment.

Fronting on 31st St. is a Food Store at grade with greenhouses covering the roof and with parking below. This serves not only the Olympic Village but the surrounding community.

The Olympic Urban Farm would be operated by a proven commercial Greenhouse grower, and would be a source for local jobs. The Urban Farm Park incorporates sustainable strategies including rainwater and waste recycling, photovoltaic energy production and lowers carbon emissions by eliminating long-distance transportation.

The Prime Group
Chicago, Illinois