The Chicago River was reversed 115 years ago—this infographic tells its story

Midwest
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
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The Chicago River downtown is now the subject of an expansive riverwalk project, opening over the spring and summer.

The Chicago River downtown is now the subject of an expansive riverwalk project, opening over the spring and summer.

Via Chicago Line Cruises, this infographic tells the tale of one of the greatest engineering projects ever completed: the reversal of the Chicago River. Chicago was booming in the late 1800s, but like many cities of the day it lacked proper sewer infrastructure. As a result the city was choking on its own waste.

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Chicago opens newest segment of revamped Riverwalk

Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the opening of a new segment of the Chicago Riverwalk. (Office of the Mayor, Chicago)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the opening of a new segment of the Chicago Riverwalk. (Office of the Mayor, Chicago)

Despite a smattering of gray skies, Chicago inaugurated another stretch of its revamped riverwalk this Memorial Day weekend, and visitors were eager to explore the newly expanded public space.

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Chicago wants your ideas for the future of the Chicago River

Chicago riverwalk (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Chicago’s riverwalk is undergoing a massive expansion, but what’s next? (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

What’s downstream for the Chicago River? Mayor Rahm Emanuel this week directed a panel of experts to draft a long-term plan for the network of Chicago-area waterways, announcing $350,000 in grants from the Joyce Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, and steel company ArcelorMittal to start a project dubbed “Great Rivers Chicago.”

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Video> How Sasaki is transforming the Chicago Riverwalk

cove

The Chicago Riverwalk. (Courtesy Sasaki)

As construction crews continue to pull the Chicago Riverwalk farther into the city’s iconic waterway, Sasaki Associates has released a short documentary about the $100 million transformation. And it’s worth a watch because what’s happening in Chicago is more than your typical “reclaiming public space” type of story.

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Construction of Chicago Riverwalk Underway; City Looks at Funding Options

Chicago riverwalk (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Chicago riverwalk (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Chicago’s Riverwalk extension is underway, and the city is looking for contractors to help plan and operate concessions along what promises to be a major downtown attraction. Applicants have until April 7 to reply to the city’s request for qualifications. Read More

Chicago Riverwalk Work To Begin Soon, Alderman’s Office Says

City Terrain, Midwest
Thursday, October 10, 2013
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Chicago riverwalk (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Chicago riverwalk. (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Construction will begin soon on the highly-anticipated expansion to Chicago’s Riverwalk, Ald. Brendan Reilly’s office announced last week. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) will start work this fall. Read More

“City Works” envisions Chicago’s “dreams and nightmares”

Midwest
Thursday, August 15, 2013
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Drawing Detail of “Phantom Chicago” by Eisenschmidt: The city of Chicago generated through unbuilt visionary projects across the 20th century (from Loos’ Tribune Tower to Griffin’s Plan for a Better Chicago and Greg Lynn’s Stranded Sears Tower).

Drawing Detail of “Phantom Chicago” by Eisenschmidt: The city of Chicago generated through unbuilt visionary projects across the 20th century (from Loos’ Tribune Tower to Griffin’s Plan for a Better Chicago and Greg Lynn’s Stranded Sears Tower).

From the abandoned foundations of the ill-fated Chicago Spire to the ghosts of would-be Tribune Towers galore, Chicago’s unbuilt legacy could rival the iconic skyline it actually achieved. An exhibition on display downtown, dubbed City Works: Provocations for Chicago’s Urban Future, confronts the city with its alternative skyline in the form of a panoramic wall design and a “Phantom Chicago” iPhone app. The overall effect evokes “a dream but also a nightmare,” in the words of curator Alexander Eisenschmidt. Read More

Chicago Riverwalk gets $99 million loan from feds

Midwest
Thursday, June 20, 2013
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Chicago riverwalk (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Chicago riverwalk. (Courtesy Sasaki Associates)

Chicago’s plan to extend and revamp its downtown riverwalk got a major shot in the arm from the feds last week.

U.S. Dept of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the federal government will loan the city $99 million under the Transportation Finance Innovation Act, a program geared at transportation projects of “national and regional significance.” Mayor Rahm Emanuel had previously set his sights on just such funding, as well as financial sponsors for ongoing maintenance.

The project, which is scheduled to be finished by 2016, hopes to draw more attention to the riverfront. Designs by Sasaki Associates, Alfred Benesch & Co., Ross Barney Architects, and Jacobs/Ryan Associates call for six unique identities across six downtown blocks of the Chicago River, such as The Jetty, The Cove, and The River Theater. Read more about the design in AN‘s previous report.

Lessons for Chicago’s Riverwalk: Engage With The City

Midwest
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
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Wolf Point on the Chicago River. (Courtesy Pelli Clarke Pelli)

Wolf Point on the Chicago River. The towers’ landscaping spurred a good year for riverside development downtown, which saw Mayor Rahm Emanuel call for an expansion of the Chicago Riverwalk.(Courtesy Pelli Clarke Pelli)

As Chicago gears up for an overhaul of the city’s Riverwalk, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has touted his architectural cause célèbre as a way for the city to reengage with its “second shoreline.” The renderings by Sasaki Associates show six new blocks of riverfront parks, effectively connecting the shore of Lake Michigan with a small park at the foot of  the three massive towers planned for Wolf Point, at the confluence of the Chicago River’s three branches.

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