The Midway Crossings merge planning, lighting, community building and identity.

Images

VIEW ALONG THE LENGTH OF THE MIDWAY PLAISANCE

A MIDWAY CROSSING AT DUSK

STUDENTS WALKING ALONG THE MIDWAY CROSSINGS

NIGHT TIME DETAIL

FULL SCALE PERFORMANCE MOCK-UP

PLAN
 

Description

The mile-long eighty acre Midway Plaisance Park divides the University of Chicago into north and south campuses, resulting in a sense of separation between the two. The Midway Crossings establish a more coherent and engaging connection between the two areas of the campus by marking the three main cross-Midway streets that now serve as the student vehicular and pedestrian links. The Midway Crossings also highlight the park’s plan which links the campus to the luminous qualities of Lake Michigan to the east and Washington Park Lagoon to the west.

The Midway Crossings activate the public outdoor space at both the macro scale of the Midway and campus plan and at the micro scale of the pedestrian. At both these scales the insertion of the ‘bridges’ speak to the historical significance of the site, originally designed and planned  by Frederick Law Olmstead - his design had a canal linking Lake Michigan to the inland lagoon. The existing length of the park spans these two water features and although the excavation began at the time, it was never completed. The excavated sections are now well used as sunken playing fields while the cross-streets remain at the higher elevation. This new plan both shelters and reinforces the visibility of the popular playing fields while the Midway Crossings mark the passage across the park and emphasize a sense of the light reflected in water that would have defined Frederick Law Olmstead’s original plans for a canal.

Project Budget: $3.2 M each (x3 Crossings)
Project Area: 57,600 sq. ft. (x3 Crossings)
Project Scope: Pedestrian Walkway
Project Duration: 2009-2014
Client: University of Chicago
Designer / Artist: James Carpenter Design Associates Inc. (James Carpenter and Reid Freeman)
Architect / Landscape Architect: Bauer Latoza
Lighting: Schuler Shook