UNStudio Pavilion Millennium Park

After work today I hopped over a few blocks to Millennium Park to check out the Burnham Plan Centennial pavilions.  Well make that pavilion.  Not surprisingly the pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid is not complete.  Its still behind the construction fence and quite frankly doesn’t look close to completion.  Luckily I work downtown and can pop over to Millennium Park when it is finally complete.  That left only the pavilion designed by Ben van Berkel’s UNStudio, which seems to have taken a beating as there is paint failure all over the pavilion.  In three words UNStudio’s pavilion is light, airy, and playful.


Three large curved elements appears as though they were peeled back from the roof and anchored to the floor.  These elements create a sense of subtle movement between two identical slabs.  The openings in the roof also provide interesting glimpses to the magnificent Chicago skyline in the background.  The design really lets the user interact with the pavilion.  Set above the ground below it the pavilion serves both as an installation, one to be experienced from 360 degrees, as well as a structure to walk within and through.  The stark white color also sets it apart from the surrounding context.

It will be interesting to see how the experience at the UNStudio pavilion changes as the Zaha Hadid pavilion becomes accessible.  From renderings it appears as though they will work together harmoniously but what actually happens between the spaces won’t be known until the second pavilion is complete.  I’ll be back with that report when Hadid’s pavilion is complete.  Check out a high resolution photo gallery of the UNStudio pavilion, here.


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