Conrad Szajna

Conrad Szajna

Chicago, IL, US


Northerly Island Nature Center

The objective is to develop a Nature Center on Chicago’s man made 91 acre peninsula, Northerly Island. The 20,000 s.f. facility should include a bird hospital, Shedd Aquarium extension, gallery, and classrooms.

As it exists, Northerly Island is the only lakefront structure to be built based on Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago.  The man-made peninsula was also the site of the 1933-1934 Century of Progress.  From December 1948-March 2003 it was home to a single strip airport called Miegs Field. Although the airport is no longer in use, the infrastructure remains, sans the runway.  Currently, with the help of the Chicago Park District, the site is now a flourishing park that features prairie grasses and strolling paths.

Nature has been thriving on Northerly Island in recent years so instead of disturbing the with the addition of more structures, the idea was to use Chicago’s most vital resource- water. Chicago originated from a small area near the water and over the years expanded outward towards land.  The Nature center will do the exact opposite. It will leave the current infrastructure on the island and four activity piers will grow outward into Lake Michigan. Not only will the Nature Center introduce new aquatic activities, but it will also be able to reach the masses by traveling to temporary docks throughout Chicago.

Read more

Status: School Project
Location: Chicago, IL, US