Chicago’s Navy Pier Redesign Competition Whittles Down Shortlist to Five Teams

Over the summer when Chicago’s Navy Pier announced that it was planning a redesign with the hopes of making the place less of a notorious tourist trap, we were interested, but not entirely enthusiastic, despite some big design and architecture names being thrown around. It was one of those “we’ll see it when we set it deals.” That changed, however, when the shortlist composed of 11 teams was released and was filled to the brim with notables-upon-notables. Now, like so many Agatha Christie novels, that cast of characters has been whittled down to just five (though with far less foul play and mystery than something from Ms. Christie). AECOM, Aadas Architects, Imelk, Xavier Vendrell Studio and James Corner Field Operations have made the cut, each serving as the lead firm behind a veritable army of fellow firms and designers in their respective teams (which include the likes of HOK, Arup, Bruce Mau, and Pentagram, among dozens of others). The Chicago Tribune‘s Blair Kamin has filed this great report about the updated shortlist, including how many starchitects surprisingly didn’t make the cut, and some more info on what the teams and developers have in mind. He’s a little harsh in the beginning on local architecture celebrity Jeanne Gang because her team didn’t wind up making it to round two, but unless you’re Ms. Gang yourself, don’t let that dissuade you from catching up on where the competition is now at.