Maggie Daley Park, Chicago, USA
Capitalizing on necessary renovations to the 4,000-car underground parking garage immediately adjacent to Millennium Park, the new Maggie Daley Park unifies Daley Bicentennial Plaza, the Cancer Survivors Garden, and Peanut Park, creating a single continuous public park at a keystone position in downtown Chicago.
Conceived of as a counterpoint to Grant Park, which is composed largely of formal landscape “rooms,” Maggie Daley Park is curvilinear, topographically dramatic, and relentlessly heterogeneous. The park is oriented on two diagonal axes. Running northwest-to-southeast is a corridor of active recreation, including a three-acre play garden, a café, a rock-climbing park, and a seasonal ice-skating ribbon nestled in an evergreen grove. In the summer, the ice ribbon becomes a paved path, allowing for circulation and access to the climbing walls. The play garden provides both innovative play equipment and multifunctional areas for imagination-driven play, incorporating discrete themed zones, accessible equipment, and comfortable gathering spaces for parents and caregivers.
Running in the other direction, northeast-to-southwest, a continuous lawn valley and a network of paths provide opportunities for peaceful recreational engagement with broad open green space, while choreographing views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Adjacent to the Cancer Survivors Garden, new picnic groves create more intimately scaled gathering places. Daley Bicentennial Plaza’s popular tennis courts have been relocated to Peanut Park, where they are flanked by a lookout hill that allows views over Lake Shore Drive to the lake beyond.
Designer: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
Image Credits: Scott Shigley