[June 19, 2009] - A photo essay on the two Burnham Pavilions, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and UNStudio Ben van Berkel, in Chicago's Millennium Park, including the architects discussing on video the ideas behind their designs, and how they relate to Chicago and Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago.
This is the John Buck pavilion . . .
It was erected by AAATentmasters Thursday morning, to support revelers at his annual Spring Fling party and charity fundraiser . . .
Both sets of architects took inspiration from the diagonal boulevards Burnham carved into Chicago's rigidly linear street grid.
Ms. Hadid, we were told on Thursday, sent her regrets that she was at home nursing a serious knee injury, but promises to return for a September lecture. So here is architect Thomas Vietzke of Zaha Hadid Architects explaining the inspiration and ideas behind their pavilion.
And this is how Ben van Berkel of UNStudio described the basic concepts behind his team's pavilion:
Incidentally, the soundtrack you hear underneath the videos is the Grant Park Symphony, rehearsing nearby in Frank Gehry's Pritzker Pavilion, under the baton of Music Direct Carlos Kalmar Plans, Michael Torke's symphonic composition
with chorus inspired by Burnham's "visionary language", which will have its premiere Friday evening, June 19th, the same day that the Burnham Pavilions will have their official opening.
The Berkel/UNStudio pavilion is like a sandwich made entirely of melting vanilla ice cream . . .
. . . two flat slabs at the bottom and the top, and cascades of white dripping down from the ceiling, opening up views to Chicago's skyline.
The morning began, as does seemingly every Chicago morning, mid-day and evening of late, with rain, and as people arrived for the press conference, a worker was gently sweeping water off the pavilion's floor.
The Gods, however, were apparently well pleased, as soon the clouds parted and not water, but bright sunshine rained down, setting the two pavilions to brilliant shimmer.
Unfortunately, the Hadid pavilion is still not quite finished. In fact, it stood jaybird naked without the tensile cotton fabric that will eventually be its exterior facing.
As you can see, it will be quite lovely. The pavilion, we were told, would be covered with a construction tarp soon after the press conference. So those lucky enough to attend Thursday morning's event saw something that no one will see again until the pavilion is dismantled in the fall: an aluminum frame that is an intricate, extruded cobweb. Like a cobweb, it's both strong and delicate, and incredibly beautiful.
Thomas Vietzke describes how it works . . .
Ready or not, both pavilions officially open tomorrow, Friday, June 19th, and will be open through October 31, 2009. At 2:00 p.m., there will be a symposium in Rubloff Auditorium at the Art Institute (enter off Columbus) where Vietzke and van Berkel will be joined by IIT School of Architecture Dean Donna Robertson, whose students worked with Hadid's staff on their pavilion, UIC School of Architecture Director Robert Somol, whose students worked on the van Berkel, and Joseph Rosa, Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute.
Then at 6:30 p.m. in Pritzker Pavilion, there'll be the aforementioned world premiere of Michael Torke's Plans, preceded by the Rach Third with Jo Kimura Parker. The program is repeated Saturday at 7:30 p.m. You can view all of the myriad Burnham related dates on the Burnham Plan Centennial website here.
And so, we leave you with our own virtual exhibition of an extraordinary sculpture that stood to disappear from public view after a single morning in the sun.