A New Food Experience
This newly created food experience (the former South Arcade) introduces a more flavorful and elevated Chicago dining experience to Navy Pier. This expansive communal dining area, complete with unrestricted views of the waterfront and skyline and Wi-Fi access, offers guests number of enticing food options.
Polk Bros Park
Some of the most significant landscape changes are taking place in the new Polk Bros Park, which is transforming Navy Pier’s green front yard into its own destination for public gathering and arts and culture programing.
Trees and Plants
The South Dock has become an open promenade lined with tree groves and native plants that bring environmental, social and aesthetic benefits to the community and coastal region. Most of the trees and plantings have been locally sourced from within 50 miles and are native to the Chicago eco-region. Tree species were carefully selected to create a new green habitat with recreational appeal, including the Marmo Maple, a resilient variety of the Freeman’s maple originally bred at the Morton Arboretum, and the WOW American Sycamore, one of the largest hardwood trees of the Eastern forests in the United States.
A new stormwater management system incorporates the latest green infrastructure advancements into the aesthetic design. Utilizing best management practices (BMPs) defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the system improves the quality of Navy Pier’s stormwater runoff and controls its volume by capturing and filtering stormwater through trees and tree tubs, collecting surface runoff through permeable pavements and native landscape plantings and passing it through bioinfiltration basins before directing it to an underground storage cistern for reuse as irrigation.
New lake pavilions eliminate commercial clutter on the Pier and open up vistas to Lake Michigan and the length of South Dock by organizing boat ticketing and other concessions. In addition to providing shade and wind protection, their simplicity and strong architectural silhouettes reflect the lake onto the dock to enhance connection to the water.
Social seating areas pepper the South Dock with an invitation to experience the Pier in a whole new way. The modern look and comfortable feel of the over-scaled seating—made from reclaimed wood and recycled steel—work together to engage people and encourage interaction.
Permeable pavement made up of recycled content and locally-sourced aggregate is arranged in a herringbone pattern to instill a sense of vitality along the length of the promenade. This foundation ties Pierscape’s modern design elements together and also provides significant environmental benefits, serving as an essential part of the Pier’s stormwater management system. Rainwater collected through the pavement is the major source of irrigation for landscaped and planted areas throughout Navy Pier.
Wave Wall Stair
The Wave Stair and integrated Wave Wall are iconic features of the Pierscape design. Dramatic curves form a new staircase gathering space and seamlessly connect South Dock to Pier Park, serving as a beautiful focal point and functional amphitheater reminiscent of the Spanish Steps in Rome.
The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare
Chicago Shakespeare’s home on Navy Pier is expanding in exciting ways. Just outside the doors of their current theater facility, a crescent-shape structure is taking shape—connecting their existing two theaters to a year-round performance space. The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare will add a third venue to the company’s artistic home, a flexible theater that can be configured in a variety of shapes and sizes, with audience capacities ranging from 150 to 850.
The addition of sleek bicycle racks made from recycled steel compliment the architectural silhouette of the pier and provide cyclists with an easily accessible place to secure their bikes and enjoy Navy Pier on foot.