Navy Pier, Chicago

Restoring a popular Chicago landmark

Chicago’s Navy Pier partnered with Gensler to design a master vision for the century-old waterfront complex, starting with the Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion.

Challenge

Long viewed by some locals as a tired tourist trap, Navy Pier wanted to become a year-round destination for Chicagoans, living up to its moniker as the “People’s Pier” and ensuring future financial stability.

Purpose

Navy Pier is a source of pride and common ground for the city’s diverse residents, its genesis firmly rooted in Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan. Through a continuation of the Centennial Vision, the Family Pavilion uncovered the “Chicagoness” of the Pier, using design and technology to provide a seamless, entertaining experience for visitors of all ages.

Experience

At the entrance, visitors are greeted by a larger-than-life digital concierge, providing information on wayfinding and events. An aquatic-themed gaming experience keeps kids entertained while adults explore more than 50 uniquely Chicago retailers and food vendors.

Services Provided

  • Architectural Design
  • Brand Design
  • Digital Strategy
  • Interior Design
  • Signage & Wayfinding
  • User Experience Design

Praise

“The much-maligned pier has taken essential first steps toward becoming a public space that is treasured as well as popular, authentic rather than generic.”

– Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune