In Chicago, Design At The River’s Edge

River Edge Ideas Lab Exhibition launches its highlight of public spaces and design in conjunction with the Chicago Architecture Biennial during Fall 2017.

On September 14, 2017, Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, officiated a press conference at the exclusive opening and preview of the River Edge Ideas Lab Exhibition in the city at 72 East Randolph. The exhibition, which showcases the conceptual thinking of nine architecture firms, was designed and curated by Ross Barney Architects in collaboration with the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development and the Metropolitan Planning Council.

public spaces
Image: Ross Barney Architects

The River Edge Ideas Lab presented the nine firms with a unique challenge and exciting opportunity to design public spaces along the Chicago riverfront at three iconic sites — including the Civic Opera Edge, Congress Parkway Edge, and Air Line Bridge Edge. These designs aim to serve as inspiration for the future of riverfront sites as the city considers how to provide inviting and active public spaces along Chicago’s rivers, the city’s second coast.

The participating firms are Ross Barney Architects, Adjaye Associates, James Corner Field Operations, Perkins + Will, Sasaki, Site, SOM, Studio Gang, and SWA. These firms have with experience designing award-winning riverfronts, parks, and public spaces, including the River Edge Ideas Lab. The exhibition designed by Ross Barney Architects will run in conjunction with the Chicago Architecture Biennial this fall, taking place September 16, 2017 through January 7, 2018. A traveling exhibit will also be displayed at locations throughout the city in addition to a digital catalog at

The Ideas Lab is a continuation of celebrated river-centric works by Ross Barney Architects, including the Chicago Riverwalk, Our Great Rivers; a vision for 156 miles of Chicago’s riverfront, and Ass(et) Creek; a design proposal exhibited at 50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards.

Carol Ross Barney, Founder and President of Ross Barney Architects, will receive the Chicago AIA Lifetime Achievement Award on October 13 at Designight 2017, an event celebrating Chicago’s architectural community.

Chicago’s River Edge Ideas Lab is an initiative of the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development and Metropolitan Planning Council, and has been generously funded by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Comcast, the 601W Companies, and Related Midwest.

Sampling Of Chicago Structures

To celebrate the Chicago Architecture Biennial, restroom solutions manufacturer Sloan published an infographic (below) highlighting 13 Chicago structures with lasting legacies for architects, civic planners, and anyone with an interest in great design. From the construction of the Home Insurance Building as the first true skyscraper in 1885 to the Willis Tower (formerly called the Sears Tower) in 1974 and recent architectural marvels like Millennium Park, Chicago is home to some of the most influential structures of the last 150 years of architecture.

Sloan’s restroom components have helped hundreds of buildings take their place in Chicago’s skyline since 1906, including many of the buildings mentioned in this infographic. As the Official Water Efficiency Partner of the Chicago Cubs, Sloan’s innovative faucets and flushometers are installed in Wrigley Field’s clubhouse, as well as throughout the entire venue.

In the Chicago area next month? Check out Facility Executive Live!, a new one-day conference on October 3, 2017. Presented by Facility Executive magazine, this conference and networking event will take place in downtown Chicago. Click here to learn more.

public spaces
Courtesy of Sloan