Designers Selected For DuSable Park In Streeterville

Current image of DuSable Park by Ross Barney Architects

The Chicago Park District has selected the design firms to proceed with the design of the long-stalled DuSable Park at 401 N DuSable Lake Shore Drive in Streeterville. Located just east of the drive adjacent to the site that was to house the Chicago Spire, the project is moving forward with the Park District selecting a joint venture between Ross Barney Architects and Brook Architecture to work on the design of the 3.5-acre park.

Diagram of DuSable Park by Ross Barney Architects

The land is named after Chicago’s first non-native permanent settler, a tradesman known as Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable who is believed to be from Haiti, and set up his home near the modern day Tribune Tower. After many years of infill, the new land was dedicated as parkland by Mayor Harold Washington in 1988 and went through multiple attempts to fulfill a build-out. Most recently the Chicago Spire included it in its master-planned development if allowed to use the land for construction staging before being canceled during the 2008 recession.

2018 Presentation image of DuSable Park plan via DuSable Heritage Association

The new push for its completion comes after local developer Related Midwest purchased the adjacent Spire site for its two-tower residential proposal at 400 Lake Shore Drive. The design team will edit and build up on the existing 2006 framework plan which envisioned a founders plaza, observatory, promenade, boardwalk, an outdoor classroom, boat drop-off, educational and art components. The two firms will be working with the DuSable Park Design Alliance (DPDA) with a team that includes art curators and multiple other designers.

400 N Lake Shore Drive. Rendering by SOM

400 N Lake Shore Drive with DuSable Park in the front Rendering by SOM

The original plan for the park had a price tag of roughly $40 million, as the plan progresses the price will change with the site having all new factors including the recently completed flyover. Funding for it will partially come from a $10 million pledge from Related Midwest and $5 million from Open Space Impact Fees, the first phases of the design is set to kick off this summer and last through 2024, with the park to first open in the summer of 2025.

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9 Comments on "Designers Selected For DuSable Park In Streeterville"

  1. Excited to see this come to life and get some use. But disappointed that the city keeps recycling the same firm over and over again for such important public works projects. For a city full of incredibly talented architects and landscape architects, why not select an actual LANDSCAPE architect for this project, and give younger less established firms an opportunity to compete for this work, push creativity passed the expected and create something significant.

  2. Is it me or has Related Midwest severely dragged its feet in pushing forward 400 N Lake Shore Drive? I want to say this was approved like 4 years ago, but they haven’t started a single thing in construction. I could be misremembering, but it’s just sad when you buy a highly sought after site (maybe not given the big hole) and do virtually nothing with it for years. Maybe the park is step 1?

    • Steve River North | March 16, 2022 at 9:48 am | Reply

      everything seems to take too long here, look at the flyover. This park is going to take THREE years to move some dirt, plant some trees.

      • was thinking the same thing. how can this possibly take so damn long? the only thing I could think of is the soil remediation work due to thorium contamination there (light company used to dump there) but I THOUGHT it had already been done some years ago.

  3. Hopefully Ross Barney can come up with a cool design that speaks to the site context – this is such a unique location that has sit stagnant for decades. It certainly wont do Chicago any favors if the design just calls for a bunch of trees with typical curvy paths.

  4. 2+ Years for a park design? geez

  5. I’d love to see a giant fountain in the center of the park. Make some type of real statement for boats entering the river from the lake.

  6. This site is doomed, apparently.

  7. Hoping for a dramatic park design. They have plenty to work with here. And no tiny little trees that seem to die and never get watered.

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