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  5. Zaha Hadid Architects
  6. 2009
  7. Burnham Pavilion / Zaha Hadid Architects

Burnham Pavilion / Zaha Hadid Architects

  • 01:00 - 24 August, 2009
Burnham Pavilion / Zaha Hadid Architects
Burnham Pavilion / Zaha Hadid Architects, © Roland Halbe
© Roland Halbe

© Michelle Litvin © Roland Halbe © Roland Halbe © Michelle Litvin +39

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    Tracey Dear
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    Burnham Plan Centennial
  • Fabricator

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© Roland Halbe
© Roland Halbe
© Roland Halbe
© Roland Halbe

From the architect. The figure of Daniel Burnham has been very important for the city of Chicago as we currently know it,  as he was one of the authors of the Plan of Chicago, also known as the Burnham Plan,  which reshaped Chicago's central area starting in 1909.  To celebrate the centennial of this plan several events have been held during this year, such as the Union Station 2020 competition and the Burnham Memorial competition. Also, two pavilions by UN Studio and Zaha Hadid have been temporally  installed at the Millenium Park (read our previous article about this), hosting multimedia exhibits on the future of Chicago. The pavilions will be opened to the public until Oct 31st, 2009.

Floor Plan
Floor Plan

Cross Sections North and South Elevations Wireframes Top View +39

Zaha Hadid Architects´s pavilion merges new formal concepts with the memory of Burnham’s bold, historic urban planning. Superimpositions of spatial structures with hidden traces of Burnham’s Plan are overlaid and inscribed within the structure to create a dynamic form.

© Roland Halbe
© Roland Halbe
© Thomas Gray
© Thomas Gray

“The Burnham Plan Centennial is all about celebrating the bold plans and big dreams of Daniel Burnham’s visionary Plan of Chicago. It’s about reinvention and improvement on an urban scale and about welcoming the future with innovative ideas and technologies. Our design continues Chicago’s renowned tradition of cutting edge architecture and engineering, at the scale of a temporary pavilion, whilst referencing the organizational systems of Burnham’s Plan. The structure is aligned with a diagonal in Burnham’s early 20th Century Plan of Chicago. We then overlay fabric using contemporary 21st Century techniques to generate the fluid, organic form – while the structure is always articulated through the tensioned fabric as a reminder of Burnham’s original ideas.”

© Michelle Litvin
© Michelle Litvin

“Fabric is both a traditional and a high-tech material whose form is directly related to the forces applied to it - creating beautiful geometries that are never arbitrary. I find this very exciting.” —Zaha Hadid

© Roland Halbe
© Roland Halbe

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Burnham Pavilion / Zaha Hadid Architects" 24 Aug 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Design addict · November 08, 2011

Burnham Pavilion / Zaha Hadid | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Signburo · September 14, 2011

Cool Pavilion! via @archdaily

Felix Armada · February 06, 2011
Marta Krivosikova · December 27, 2010

Burnham Pavilion / Zaha Hadid #architecture @archdaily

masoud · January 17, 2010

???? ???? ??? ? ?? ????? ?????? ?????? ????? ? ? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ?? ??? ???? ??????

tomnguyen · October 02, 2009

this is nice, but her designs in 90s to 2005 are better.

aa · August 30, 2009

wow, this looks like the 'things' greg lynn was doing 15 years ago. He must be ppppppised! Jajajajjaa!
C'mon Zaha! Can't do any better?...

mass transient · August 29, 2009

greg lynn, embryonic house. last decade.

Z · August 26, 2009

"Step One - Instruct Lifeless Intern to Open Rhino

Step Two - Make Form

Step Three- Contour

Step Four- Send to Engineer and Architect of Record to Figure out Anything Technical.

Step Five- Make up a Story."

Spoken like a true architect

mnlkjw · August 26, 2009

very ugly, very bad taste

Robert · August 25, 2009

Pretty sure there wouldn't be as much criticism if this wasn't Hadid...

XXue · August 26, 2009 09:29 AM

totally agree~~

marcial · August 25, 2009

more of the same

the first time, This struck me. now that seems a repetition of the overused resource

Peter · August 25, 2009

I appreciate her efforts! I personally don't like this form obsessed architecture but it doesn't mean I don't appreciate specially when is done with such perfection! I get upset when I see mediocre work in the same page as great work!

jeffrey · August 25, 2009

i think its funny you guys posted Zaha's pavilion and not Van Berkel's. . . . whats up with that?

David Basulto [tricky] · August 25, 2009 09:58 PM


We featured both on the opening:

ZHA sent us this material.. sadly UN Studio doesn´t send us too many information. But I might pull someting out of our sleeve later on today ;)

kyle · August 25, 2009

I visited it. The construction method is pretty cool but the actual real life thing is almost a let down after the renderings. The zipper sleeve is really complex and a neat concept but the wrinkles leave a little to be desired. The other pavilion at the site by UNstudio is great from about 150 feet but really is kind of junky when you get close because the construction isn't that smooth and they really didn't take into account thousands of visitors every day.

gigi · September 01, 2009 07:36 PM

thanx Kyle -- nice to get a hands-on/eyes-on perspective... the random player haters comments were a bit much... Was looking forward to checking it out when I make it up there again/ Got a Fibonacci/shell-ish vibe from photos -- so you think execution got the better of it?

Davey Stewart · August 25, 2009

Where'd Hadid get her creativity? Have a look here at Thomas Heatherwick's site:

Heatherwick seems also to have been the inspiration for the pentagon memorial, the design of which was shown on this site last September:

Variations of TH's seats are also to be seen at the HighLine SkyPark in NYC:

public eye · August 25, 2009

The form could just be created without the mention of Daniel Burnham. Architects always create the form they like and then they try to give a reason for it; sometimes convincing, sometimes, like this Zaha's, just BS.

WJD · August 25, 2009

I hope Chicago becomes the 2016 summer olympic choice. For more than one year Chicago has taken many positive steps to show visitors and it's citizens what the city may be like if it is chosen by the IOC. I believe this project has little if anything to do with Burnham, and more to do with olympic selection process. The IOC will announce its choice this October; this these architecture demonstration projects add welcome help.

Alan Docherty · August 25, 2009

It is strikingly similar to a pavilion by cre8architecture previously published on archdaily

Joshua · August 25, 2009 08:37 PM

the morei effect on the cre8 pavilion is nice though

David Basulto [tricky] · August 25, 2009 05:39 PM

Dear Alan,

I have to disagree on that. I think that the generative structure is WAY different, hence the final result.

francesco · August 25, 2009 12:57 PM

and to other millions of identical potatoes spread all over the first year classes of architecture in every school of the world nowadays. Isn't it?

fokt · August 25, 2009

Not to be anal, but it's Daniel Burnham; not David. Let's get the names of historic figures correct.

David Basulto [tricky] · August 25, 2009 05:38 PM

Shame on me :(

it´s been fixed

novan · August 25, 2009

the ambient light is wonderfull....i don't know what she's thinking about design

marc · August 25, 2009

it looks like a cockroach or something.. heehee

EL · August 25, 2009

Eh...It was a cool form, but overall I was disapointed when I saw it for the first time. The perforations overhead are covered in a mosquito net, makes the whole experience feel like you're standing in a big tent. They had to put up chain rails around the interior because the 'tent' was so low to the ground, people were stepping on it and getting it really dirty. Even worse than the UNstudio pavilion, it is not able to be handled by the public. Who wants to be in an intriguing space that you cant interact with?? I call that a museum.

Kudos for the sleek form, but a more durable construction method is needed.

leogeo · August 25, 2009

What creativity I wonder how she comes up with such amazing designs!

madvillan · August 25, 2009 11:14 PM

maya slaves. 'get back to work' wohhh-cheee!!

theChavacano · August 25, 2009 10:10 AM

Computer designs


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