The Chicago Tribune's Kathy Bergen and Cheryl Kent report: a design team led by landscape architect James Corner is envisioning the "the Spanish Steps in Rome" on the banks of Lake Michigan. Corner, whose design of the High Line in Manhattan highlights a distinguished career in the design and planning of public parks and open spaces, presented "a much-needed refurbishment of a facility with unsophisticated aesthetic qualities."
"For those who walk out to the east end of the 3,000-foot pier, raised lookout platforms will provide lake views, and a water feature will create a cloudlike mist that visitors can walk through," say Bergen and Kent of some of the “softened” Pier’s key design elements. Plans extend to the interior of the facility as well, redesigned by Gensler's Chicago office to "be de-cluttered and given a more open, contemporary feel."
Initial reaction from the design community has been positive: "’Anything that makes it more parklike is all to the good,’ said eclectic Chicago architect Stanley Tigerman. ‘It can only go up, architecturally.’"