Pavilions Open at Millenium Park

UNStudio's Pavilion
UNStudio's Pavilion
Zaha Hadid's Pavilion
Zaha Hadid's Pavilion

We introduced the Burnham Plan Pavilions designed by Zaha Hadid and UNStudio a few months ago, and now, both are almost ready to be opened to the public.  Continuing Millenium Park’s tradition of displaying dynamic public art, the pavilions emphasize bettering the future, which echo the ideals of the 1909 Burnham Plan.  Although opening day was June 19th, only UNStudio’s pavilion was complete, as Hadid’s pavilion will require a few more weeks until it will be opened to the public due to its geometric complexities.

More about each pavilion after the break.

Inspired by ’s diagonal city streets, Hadid’s pavilion extends the drawn line of one of the diagonals as if that street ran through the Millennium Park.   That line, taken from the Burnham’s drawings, creates the structural ribs and openings in the roof. “By using methods of overlaying, complexity is built up and inscribed in the structure,” explained Hadid.

Constructed from recyclable materials, the outer and inner shells of Hadid’s pavilion are made of tensioned fabric stretched tightly over the curved aluminum framework.  A media installation, by artist Thomas Gray, projects films that reflect Chicago’s transformation on the fabric through the day.  However, the complex geometries of the tensioned fabric have caused delay in the construction process.  The pavilion is not expected to open until at least mid-July; yet, it may remain open until mid-November to compensate for its late opening.

However, UNStudio’s pavilion was finished on time for the opening ceremony. “The UNStudio Burnham Pavilion relates to diverse city contexts, program and scales. It invites people to gather, walk around and through and to explore and observe. The pavilion is sculptural, highly accessible and functions as an urban activator,” explained Ben van Berkel.

The openings in the pavilion’s roof provide framed views of the Chicago skyline while an interactive lighting system in the floor emphasizes the form. Like Hadid’s pavilion, UNStudio’s is also made of recycled materials. The pavilion’s plywood ribs are covered with a plywood skin and coated in reflective paint.  All steel pieces, such as the foundation components, will be reused once the exhibit ends.

To read more about the pavilions visit the Burnham Plan Centennial. Images from Chicago Tribune for Hadid and UNStudio.

Credits for Pavilion Design by Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher of (with Thomas Vietzke and Jens Borstelmann)

Architect of Record: Thomas Roszak Architecture, LLC

Fabricator: Ten Fab Design, LLC

Media Experience: Thomas Gray for The Gray Circle

Structural Engineer: Rockey Structures

Lighting Design: DEAR Productions, Inc.

Collaborating School of Architecture: Illinois Institute of Technology

Credits for Pavilion Design by UNStudio/Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos (with Christian Veddeler and Wouter de Jonge)

Architect of Record: Garofalo Arcitects, Inc.

Fabricator: Third Coast Construction

Structural Engineer: Rockey Structures

Interactive Lighting Concept: Daniel Sauter

Lighting Design: DEAR Productions, Inc.

Collaborating School of Architecture: University of Illinois at Chicago

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Pavilions Open at Millenium Park" 21 Jun 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • Benjamin

    It’s funny in the conceptual stage of these projects I thought Zaha Hadid’s was the best, but once you see them as actual completed works constructed it is clear that UNStudio’s pavillion far outshines. Hadid’s just looks false and a bit corny…

  • skubanga

    they both look gteat, but what exactly do they express? they’re both a roof to stand under? … useless space, how pretty ;)

  • Scott

    Neither project relates to Burnham or the city in more than a nominal way. They don’t even relate to each other and they are 10 feet apart. Also the construction of them was terrible resulting in poor finish quality on the UNstudio project and Zaha’s unfinished project. I know both groups are better than this and it is unfortunate that they weren’t able to dedicate more time to the project.

  • Pingback: Fresh From Twitter | A Chicago Blog

  • Andrea

    Hi, anybody knows where can I found information about zaha projects structure?

  • cmac

    “it may remain open until mid-November to compensate for its late opening.”

    This is Chicago. They will both be there 2 years from now, beat up and sagging, showing their shoddy construction.

  • http://none truss

    oh… hadids pavillon was lookin great as rendering… i tought “wow! they’ve managed to do something different…” actually the build structure is a couple of round n cheap looking alu trusses… very easy to rebuild for an everyone able to do basic stuff in rhino… so bored!

  • Pingback: New Amsterdam Pavilion / UNStudio | ArchDaily

  • Pingback: New Amsterdam Pavilion / UNStudio « VANGUARQ