Few architects have had a greater influence on civic design and the public realm than Carol Ross Barney. Advocating that excellent design is a right, not a privilege, Carol's career is marked by her sensitivity. Born in Chicago, Illinois on April 12, 1949, her work is characterized by a desire to bring dignity to the needs of users and the public alike. With a career that spans over 40 years, Carol founded her firm Ross Barney Architects in 1981. She is known for shaping the built environment, the profession, and architectural education. As an architect, urbanist, mentor, and educator, her work upholds a deep commitment to people and place.
Chicago River: The Latest Architecture and News
SOM has revealed their design for the world’s first floating eco-park along the Chicago River. Called Wild Mile Chicago, the project is sited between Chicago and North avenues along the east side of Goose Island. A group of ecologists and activists called Urban Rivers is working with the city to realize the plan. The mile-long project is being created with government officials and private developers to include new wildlife, recreational and educational additions to the river’s North Branch.
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.
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.