As a lifelong Chicagoan, Carol Ross Barney has seen the Chicago River transition from an effluent-filled cargo highway to a vibrant recreational spot, one where her grandsons go fishing. “They can throw their line in and pull out two- to three-inch fish immediately,” she says. It has even become a habitat for otters. As for people, the river has become an alternative commuting path: Some kayak to work. In many ways, these historically polluted stretches of Chicago now form a corridor offering a rich range of experiences and visitors. This dramatic reversal is thanks in no small part to the Chicago Riverwalk, which might be Ross Barney’s career-defining project. “The attitude of the people toward the river is really changing, and I think that’s the biggest story,” she says.
Kate Joyce Studios
One year on from the Chicago Riverwalk’s completion, designers Sasaki Associates have released mesmerizing footage of the Riverwalk from a new perspective. Using a drone to give an overview of the project, the video captures the successful integration of the Riverwalk into the urban landscape as it changes shape and form, defining a unique experience for the public. Global design firm Sasaki led the team as prime consultant on the last two phases of the Riverwalk, working in close collaboration with local firm Ross Barney Architects.
The third and final phase of the Chicago Riverwalk is officially open to the public. Designed by Sasaki and Ross Barney Architects, the 1.5 mile long promenade revitalizes an underutilized industrial area into an active public space featuring restaurants, cultural activities and amenities while reconnecting the Chicago River to the urban fabric of the city.