Pier Pressure

Back in January, Canadian theme-park designers Forrec unveiled their plans for Navy Pier's future, which included a floating hotel, an indoor water park, and a monorail stretching the length of the pier, all rendered in old-timey postcard views.

In reaction to that plan, RTKL asked young designers from its nine offices around the world to develop conceptual designs for an informal, in-house competition. These designs were unveiled on April 7 and covered in a Tribune article yesterday by Blair Kamin.

Here's three of the four awarded designs, obviously scanned from the newspaper:

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RTKL Baltimore - click image for expanded view

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RTKL Los Angeles - click image for expanded view

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RTKL London - click image for expanded view

I would agree with Kamin that the designs are highly impractical, but that's not necessarily important here. Competitions like this -- besides raising the image of RTKL -- help to generate a buzz and a discontent about the proposed plans for Navy Pier. This buzz would hopefully lead to McPier looking for another architect, or even holding their own competition for the future of the most popular tourist spot in town.

For more information on the designs and in-house competition, check out RTKL's Pier Pressure article (PDF).


  1. One would have to get used to the odd design. I love unusual functional buildings. Unfortunatly a number of the monumental unique buildings do not fillfull that fundamental requirement of being functional! In my opinion that is one of the top aims for a building!


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