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The Park at the Mart
Gensler, Olin Partnership
500+ square feet
This 500+ feet linear park transforms an ordinary overlook area into an urban, riverside destination for one of Chicago’s most iconic buildings, further adding more access to the Chicago River.
Beginning with a multi-firm charrette, our team joined Gensler and Olin Partnership to create multiple viable visions for the transformation of the Merchandise Mart’s riverwalk. Historically, the summer months brought a temporary deck that was placed over the sidewalk area, creating seating and dining areas. Upon a preferred concept being selected the design was further developed and coordinated among the disciplines. The result is a multi-room linear space with a variety of options ranging from terraced seating to high-backed seating to outdoor workspaces with overhead structures. There are also lawn areas with freestanding furniture and an area to accommodate food trucks with an adjacent dining area. The entire length of the park is edged with corten steel planters and landscaped with a variety of ornamental trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses to provide seasonal interest throughout all four seasons. To accommodate programming needs, a portion of the planters are designed to be removable to create a multi-purpose space encompassing the entirety of Mart Drive and the new linear park.