The Chicago City Council has approved plans to add Illuminarium as an attraction at Navy Pier. Located in Streeterville, the new venue will be limited to the current Crystal Gardens space with no exterior addition or alterations being made. Illuminarium Chicago LLC is behind the proposal.
Designed by The Rockwell Group, the new venue will be an immersive theater space house entirely inside the Crystal Gardens space with no other areas impacted. The space will be turned into an edutainment experience for Chicago residents and tourists in a cinematic system that can take you anywhere. A sophisticated sound system helps you hear, haptic systems in the floor allow you to feel, scent systems can replicate smells, all creating an immersive effect that also incorporates LIDAR systems.
Run by Illuminarium Experiences, a global experiential edutainment company, the goal is to democratize extraordinary experiences with technology that can flip a switch and change the entire experience.
Visitors will enter the current Crystal Gardens area and be in the lobby and ticketing space, which will span the interior frontage of the building. Ticketing and the attraction entrance will be on the south end of the footprint with an adjacent café offering food and beverage service. Visitors will queue at the entrance with timed entry and flow through the Illuminarium spaces, which are made up of two rooms housing 22-foot-tall projection walls with stitched images. Patrons will exit at the northern end through a retail gift shop that will exit back into the rest of the Navy Pier building. Support space for server rooms and offices will be placed to the east of the Illuminarium rooms.
To allow for the new attraction, the current Planned Development for Navy Pier had to be altered to allow for commercial uses in the Crystal Gardens space. The Chicago Plan Commission and zoning committee approved of the plan earlier in July, with final Chicago City Council approval finalizing the approval process. The project is expected to cost approximately $30 million, with the development of new spectacle content expected to be $15-20 million per year.