Navy Pier Launches International Search for Team to Design Pier's Public Spaces

Updated 9/1/2011 12:13 PM

Navy Pier, Inc. has taken the first step toward realizing its Centennial Vision for redeveloping the historic attraction, launching an international search for a team or teams to redesign the outdoor public spaces or "Pierscape."

Navy Pier, Inc. (NPI), the new not-for-profit board managing the Pier, today issued a Request for Qualifications and Design Proposals to solicit interest from design teams "to reimagine the public spaces at Navy Pier."


Navy Pier is seeking teams that include multiple disciplines, including landscape architecture, architecture, urban design, graphic design, lighting design, art curation, engineering and other relevant fields.

"Navy Pier provides a truly unique opportunity for a design team or teams to have a profound impact on one of the most iconic, visible public spaces in Chicago and a central piece of our city's fabric," said Sarah Garvey, chair of the NPI Board.

Redesign and redevelopment of the Pierscape is a key component of the Centennial Vision planning framework approved in late June by NPI and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, owner of the property. The planning framework aims to build on the Pier's success to assure its continued growth in coming years. A key goal is to maintain the Pier's family appeal while drawing more adults and year-round visitors with upscale dining and entertainment options and more aesthetically appealing public spaces that take full advantage of the Pier's unique setting.

The public spaces to be redesigned by the team or teams selected for the project include Gateway Park at the west entrance of the Pier, Crystal Garden, Pier Park, East End Park and the South Dock - along with smaller public spaces along the length of the Pier.

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Teams submitting proposals for the Pierscape design should address conditions including, permanent and temporary installations of public art, landscaping, hardscape, interactive water features, lighting, signage and graphics, and street furniture and other urban design elements.

To select the team or teams best suited for the project, NPI will conduct a multi-step process including the following elements:

-- Submission of qualifications by prospective design teams.

-- Selection of approximately 10 teams asked to submit additional information about their teams and key individuals.

-- Selection of approximately five finalists to submit design proposals. Each finalist will receive a stipend of $50,000 USD.

-- Final selection of a design team or teams anticipated in February 2012.

The Board of Directors of NPI will make decisions at each step in the selection process and will draw upon the experience of a team of advisors to assist it in evaluating the qualifications and design proposals.


"It is our hope that the most talented and innovative design professionals across the globe take note of this opportunity and respond to our request for qualifications and proposals," said Steve Haemmerle, Executive Vice President at NPI.

Design teams interested in finding out more about this opportunity can log onto for additional information. The initial submittal is due from prospective design teams by October 6, 2011.

"A major goal of redesigning the Pierscape at Navy Pier is to help make Navy Pier a truly world-class destination," said Marilynn Gardner, President of NPI. "World class means taking advantage of the Pier's unique context and blending it with a design that is both respectful of the Pier's history but also forward-looking."