Millennium Park Master Plan

Constructed above a warren of bus lanes, parking garages, and a rail yard, the 17-acre Millennium Park can be considered the world’s largest roof garden. The park, which opened to the public in 2004, revitalized a blighted downtown site and marked the completion of Daniel Burnham’s 100-year vision for the area.

SOM designed the park’s master plan, which recalls Beaux Arts-style public spaces through its central promenade, great lawn, and monumental limestone peristyle. At the same time, many of Millennium Park’s features — Frank Gehry’s stainless-steel bandshell, Jaume Plensa’s interactive video installation and fountain, and Anish Kapoor’s captivating Cloud Gate sculpture — create a decidedly contemporary feel.

SOM’s comprehensive plan, completed in 2002, also addressed pragmatic concerns. Below the great lawn, two new levels of parking were built, bus stops were added, and rail stations were renovated and expanded. These three systems of transit converge in an efficient, multi-modal center that has reduced traffic congestion.