Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the Chicago Riverwalk and Chinatown branch of the Chicago Public Library (CPL) have received the Institute Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The award is the profession’s highest recognition and the latest honor for the two innovative projects.
“Chicago is known across the globe for our countless contributions to the fields of architecture and design, and today Chicago is writing the next chapter in that remarkable legacy,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The Riverwalk and Chinatown Branch Library are architecturally significant, transformative projects that will be shared by generations of Chicagoans and visitors to our great city. I want to congratulate Ross Barney Architects, Sasaki and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP for this prestigious and well-deserved recognition.”
The Chicago Riverwalk serves as a 1.25-mile promenade through the heart of the City. The technically challenging project involved extending the south bank of the Chicago River out by 25 feet. The ecologically sensitive design aids in improving water quality, enabling people to interact with the river as they have never been able to before. The three newest sections, or “rooms,” of the Riverwalk were completed in 2016 and include:
The first three rooms opened in May of 2015 and extended the Riverwalk from its terminus at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at State Street. They include:
The six-block section of the Riverwalk was designed by a team of architects including Sasaki and Ross Barney Architects and was constructed by Alfred Benesch & Co. Engineers and Walsh Construction. For more information on the Chicago Riverwalk, please visit www.chicagoriverwalk.us.
The 16,000-square-foot, two-story Chinatown Branch opened August 29, 2015 with a partially covered “living” roof, Feng shui-influenced interior design and expansive views of the city. The branch serves as a cultural and information center for those who seek information about the Chinatown community and Chinese culture. It features “Universal Transverse Immigration Proclamation,” a mural by CJ Hungerman representing Chinatown’s development—past, present and future—and designed in conversation with residents of the Chinatown community.
The branch also includes CPL’s signature media and lab space for teens, YOUmedia, CyberNavigator computer tutoring, and an early learning play space for children. It serves the Chinatown, Armour Square, South Loop and Bridgeport neighborhoods and was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP.
Founded in 1857, The American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. For more information visit www.AIA.org.