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Burnham Pavilion, Chicago: 10 years ago

“Make no little plans… aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die.” Daniel Burnham

Opened ten years ago this week for the Centennial of Daniel Burnham’s Plan of Chicago, Zaha Hadid Architects’ temporary pavilion evolved from the Centennial’s commitment to establish public discourse on the future of cities and celebrated Chicago’s ongoing tradition of bold plans and big dreams.

Encouraging re-invention at an urban scale to embrace the future with innovative ideas and technologies whilst referencing the original organizational systems of Burnham’s plan, the design continued Chicago’s renowned tradition of cutting-edge architecture and engineering – at the scale of a temporary pavilion.

By superimposing structures with traces of Burnham’s organizational systems, the design integrated new formal concepts with the memory of historic urban planning inscribed in the bent aluminum structure. Outer and inner fabric skins wrapped around the metal frame to create the fluid form, these fabric skins also serve as the screen for video installations within the pavilion.

The pavilion was designed and fabricated to maximize re-use of materials after the Centennial, all its parts upcycled for alternative uses in the Midwest. Zaha Hadid Architects continued to evolve the pavilion’s concepts and principles in further public projects around the world.

Photo by Roland Halbe