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  #81  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 6:17 PM
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I gotta agree with Mr.D. here. The reason why Daley Plaza is a "success" as some see it is because people use it for gatherings and protest stems more from it being easily accessible, visible, and at the nexus of political power center of the city. I guess it does well for what it is meant to be and that is to be a minimalist utilitarian canvas for such gatherings and protest.

That is different from people being drawn to it due to compelling design. People (except Steely and perhaps a few others) don't go to Daley because its regarded as inviting, visually appealing, and draws people in on its own merits. Not saying I suggest we revamp Daley plaza because after all variety is the spice of life but I surely don't think it needs more imitation downtown. We already have more blank concrete plaza's to shake a stick at compared to pocket parks (even imperfect ones).

Last edited by nomarandlee; Jan 7, 2014 at 7:38 PM.
     
     
  #82  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 6:26 PM
kemachs kemachs is offline
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Originally Posted by nomarandlee View Post
I gotta agree with Mr.D. here. The reason why Daley Plaza is a "success" as some see it is because people use it for gatherings and protest stems more from it being easily accessible, visible, and at the nexus of political power center of the city. Which is different from people being drawn to it due to compelling design.

People (except Steely and perhaps a few others) don't go to Daley because its bare self is not regarded as inviting, visually appealing, nor draws them on its own merits.
In a way, the very fact that it's bare shows off the surroundings even more. I'm not saying it's a design that should be applied in many instances, but it's pretty neat to stand in Daley and take in the massive canyon-like presence of the loop around you. I love that it's there, and it works well with the minimalist design of the building.
     
     
  #83  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 7:00 PM
marothisu marothisu is offline
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Originally Posted by kemachs View Post
In a way, the very fact that it's bare shows off the surroundings even more. I'm not saying it's a design that should be applied in many instances, but it's pretty neat to stand in Daley and take in the massive canyon-like presence of the loop around you. I love that it's there, and it works well with the minimalist design of the building.
Kind of, but you don't need a big open space to do that. The Connors Park plaza is small, but surrounded by a handful of high rises and gives you that canyon feel too.
     
     
  #84  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 7:19 PM
kemachs kemachs is offline
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Originally Posted by marothisu View Post
Kind of, but you don't need a big open space to do that. The Connors Park plaza is small, but surrounded by a handful of high rises and gives you that canyon feel too.
Kind of. It's a canyon feel, but it's softened a bit. It's not as in-your-face and imposing - not in the Spring/Summer anyway.

Last edited by kemachs; Jan 6, 2014 at 7:33 PM.
     
     
  #85  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 8:41 PM
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Mr. D, ... Aside from the fact that there is just a little crappy seating once you get to Daley Plaza, what do you feel it needs to attract people?

For those of you who assume the plaza is fulfilling its planned use by hosting "protests," I suggest you are too young to remember Richard J. Daley.
     
     
  #86  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 8:54 PM
Vlajos Vlajos is offline
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The Farmer's Market in Daley Plaza is always packed. The Plaza also hosts all sorts of ethnic festivals in the nice weather months. I like it just fine.
     
     
  #87  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2014, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Vlajos View Post
The Farmer's Market in Daley Plaza is always packed. The Plaza also hosts all sorts of ethnic festivals in the nice weather months. I like it just fine.
I think it is used fine in that sense, but it's not necessarily used full time 100%. The fact is that the Loop still has a fairly small resident population, the people there during weekdays are usually 9-5ers and besides some theatres, there's not much in the way of nightlife or weekend life to do in that immediate area. If they allowed street food carts and stuff to be there, you'd probably see a few more people hanging out there randomly.
     
     
  #88  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2014, 12:18 AM
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Mr. D, ... Aside from the fact that there is just a little crappy seating once you get to Daley Plaza, what do you feel it needs to attract people?
The elements of good plazas were well-documented by William Whyte decades ago:
  • Lots of seating, preferably movable chairs. Not 10 benches placed orthogonally to act as truck bomb barriers.
  • Food. Imagine if Lavazza, Corner Bakery, or even Auntie Anne’s Pretzels had a kiosk out there open 200 days each year. Even better, imagine The Berghoff or Goose Island with a little beer garden on Daleyplatz in summer.
  • Sun—and a bit of shade for a few days out of the year. Sun is a bit of a problem for Daley Plaza because of 69 W. Washington, Three First National Plaza, and the Chicago Temple to the south, but at midsummer or around midmorning and early afternoon it’s OK.
  • A sense of partial enclosure. Having a section that was a few steps up or down, or something that partially screened one of the adjacent streets would be a good start.
  • Something to engage visitors and encourage casual conversations. The programming does that a few dozen days each year, but other times the pigeons keeping warm on the eternal flame is about it.
  • Enlightened management that welcomes most visitors but subtly discourages troublesome ones—not sheriffs deputies who insist on clearing the plaza at 1 pm and come out to chase little kids out of the wading pool.

Incidentally, we have a very fine plaza in Chicago: the lovely Stanley McCormick Court south of the Art Institute's Michigan Avenue entrance, whose centerpiece is Lorado Taft's Fountain of the Great Lakes. Dan Kiley's sublime landscaping gives a sense of enclosure, water the little kids can touch, plenty of places to sit and eat lunch, hawthorns with the right combination of sun and filtered shade, and the right sense of separation from Michigan Avenue.
     
     
  #89  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2014, 1:37 AM
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Yes, the McCormick Garden is an excellent garden, but I don't know if I would call it a plaza. It's more softscape than hard, it can't really host events, and it's all about intimacy with little sense of openness. It is hard to imagine public celebrations or protests there.

Ultimately we're grappling with two starkly different ideas of public space... Modernism just treated it as leftover space, breathing room that allowed the buildings to shine. The actual use of the space was an afterthought. I think we've overreacted to that, though, and become too proscriptive. In our quest for better public space we've embraced a vision that is probably unrealistic. Cultural factors play a big role, so Whyte's observations in New York don't necessarily apply to Shanghai or Mexico City.

To your notes on Daley Plaza, I agree with the need for food and seating, but I don't see how you can say it's not enclosed.
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  #90  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2014, 1:49 AM
pilsenarch pilsenarch is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
The elements of good plazas were well-documented by William Whyte decades ago:
  • Lots of seating, preferably movable chairs. Not 10 benches placed orthogonally to act as truck bomb barriers.
  • Food. Imagine if Lavazza, Corner Bakery, or even Auntie Anne’s Pretzels had a kiosk out there open 200 days each year. Even better, imagine The Berghoff or Goose Island with a little beer garden on Daleyplatz in summer.
  • Sun—and a bit of shade for a few days out of the year. Sun is a bit of a problem for Daley Plaza because of 69 W. Washington, Three First National Plaza, and the Chicago Temple to the south, but at midsummer or around midmorning and early afternoon it’s OK.
  • A sense of partial enclosure. Having a section that was a few steps up or down, or something that partially screened one of the adjacent streets would be a good start.
  • Something to engage visitors and encourage casual conversations. The programming does that a few dozen days each year, but other times the pigeons keeping warm on the eternal flame is about it.
  • Enlightened management that welcomes most visitors but subtly discourages troublesome ones—not sheriffs deputies who insist on clearing the plaza at 1 pm and come out to chase little kids out of the wading pool.

Incidentally, we have a very fine plaza in Chicago: the lovely Stanley McCormick Court south of the Art Institute's Michigan Avenue entrance, whose centerpiece is Lorado Taft's Fountain of the Great Lakes. Dan Kiley's sublime landscaping gives a sense of enclosure, water the little kids can touch, plenty of places to sit and eat lunch, hawthorns with the right combination of sun and filtered shade, and the right sense of separation from Michigan Avenue.
Dude!? Haven't you ever been to Rome? (where all the public spaces are filled with trees, grass and picnic tables) this 'argurment' is CRAZY... Daley is EASILY arguably one of the most successful plazas in the world. (period).
     
     
  #91  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2014, 1:53 AM
pilsenarch pilsenarch is offline
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and finally, Mr. D., get out of the your cherry-picked books and start looking at why successful public spaces are as varied as humanity... there is NO ONE prescription... seriously, dude, let's landscape St. Peter's Square, huh?
     
     
  #92  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2014, 2:02 AM
pilsenarch pilsenarch is offline
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ok, sorry, couldn't help myself, but it WOULD be TOTALLY cool if Aunt Annie's had a kiosk at the Vatican or Piazza Navono!
     
     
  #93  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2014, 4:50 AM
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^Rome's most successful spaces result from the location they're in: the city's great plazas are so great because they border attractions like the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, etc. People will flock to any plaza or courtyard if it serves the immediate interests surrounding it. In 150 Riverside's case, the river is the attraction, so what type of public space best serves the river? That is perhaps the most important consideration.
     
     
  #94  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2014, 2:38 PM
LouisVanDerWright LouisVanDerWright is offline
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Yes, the McCormick Garden is an excellent garden, but I don't know if I would call it a plaza. It's more softscape than hard, it can't really host events, and it's all about intimacy with little sense of openness. It is hard to imagine public celebrations or protests there.
Exactly this. It sounds to me that most people here are trying to describe an entirely different type of space like a garden or park. If you want the features of a garden or park, fine, but don't try to redefine the word plaza to fit the description you are looking for.

The fact is no other public space in Chicago sees the kind of foot traffic and use that Daley Plaza does, period. If we define success by how much a public space is being used, then Daley Plaza wins hands down. I also don't buy the argument that programmed uses somehow "don't count" towards the success of a space as if all uses of a space must be organic and unorganized. That's just nonsense as programmed events are just as much a part of civic life as a protest or just looking for somewhere to eat lunch.

I do agree that Daley Plaza could use some better seating though. The current seating they have there is hideous and does not match the superior design of the Plaza and Building. I've always thought that a scattering of Emeco 1006's would be awesome if theft wouldn't be such a problem as I am sure it would be with a fancy chair that is made out of a profitable material to scrap. It would be cool if the city held a competition to design some new public seating that matches the aesthetic of the plaza, is relatively cheap to produce, and as functional as possible.
     
     
  #95  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2014, 3:03 PM
Chi-Sky21 Chi-Sky21 is offline
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Originally Posted by chicagogreg View Post
^Rome's most successful spaces result from the location they're in: the city's great plazas are so great because they border attractions like the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, etc. People will flock to any plaza or courtyard if it serves the immediate interests surrounding it. In 150 Riverside's case, the river is the attraction, so what type of public space best serves the river? That is perhaps the most important consideration.
^ Nailed it!
     
     
  #96  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2014, 4:20 PM
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Whyte advocated bottom-up planning of smaller public places. All 3 plazas (River Point, Wolf Point and 150 Riverside) are top-down planning from the developer where, naturally, the plaza is for the benefit of the property itself. The primary beneficiaries of the plazas are the users and visitors to the towers.

None of the 3 rigid corporate green spaces is designed to service the public or even provide modestly convenient access. Eye candy - to be admired by the public in passage - and not much more.
     
     
  #97  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2014, 4:37 PM
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Dude!? Haven't you ever been to Rome? (where all the public spaces are filled with trees, grass and picnic tables)
Yes, I've carefully studied many of Europe's great plazas. But as already noted, Chicago has neither the climate nor the café culture of Italy. Putting down granite pavers around a fountain will not cause the Piazza Navona to suddenly spring up any more than drinking espresso will turn me into Michelangelo.

Nor do we need even more windswept parade grounds where troops of blackshirts can drill unimpeded; we already have Federal Plaza, Daley Plaza, and a half-dozen others under private control like IBM Plaza and Pioneer Plaza. What we lack are plazas that attract people to them, places to sit and enjoy the view (whether it's the surrounding buildings or the river traffic), people-watch, let children off their leashes to play nearby, be refreshed by small quantities of inexpensive food and drink, patronize buskers. Exelon Plaza has always been a nationally known exemplar, Connors Park and Green Bay Triangle are good retrofits, and Pritzker Park, Riverside Plaza, and Pioneer Plaza have potential.

William Whyte and Richard Hedman were not ivory-tower academics. They did extensive empirical studies of what works and what doesn't in North American climates and culture. I trust their predictions more than I do the architect who improbably populates the rendering of the plaza with dozens of happy people—always including a little girl carrying a balloon.
     
     
  #98  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2014, 5:21 PM
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For every successful commercial concrete urban plaza, there's got to be at least ten dismal turds out there...
     
     
  #99  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2014, 6:58 PM
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So we're all in agreement, then, right? This building needs a name. They must want a signature tenant to buy naming rights. Maybe Heidrick & Struggles will move out of Sears and call it the Heidrick & Struggles Riverfront Park-Plaza Tower.
     
     
  #100  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2014, 11:49 PM
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Yes, I've carefully studied many of Europe's great plazas. But as already noted, Chicago has neither the climate nor the café culture of Italy.
Public Plazas in the U.S., it seems to me, have suffered as a function of the demand for retail space. In Europe people use public space and cafes more because they spend less time shopping and also because the work day tends to be shorter than in the U.S. Commute times are shorter so that people have more free time to sit in a cafe or plaza. Apartments are also much smaller and closer together - the plaza or cafe functions like an outdoor living room - which of course has also to do with the fact that they watch less television (an indoor activity)

If you look at the statistics of retail space per capita, the U.S. is far and away the most with nearly seven times (20 square feet) as much retail square footage per person as the top European country, Sweden (3 square feet)
http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/the-unite...oo-many/212833

IMO it doesn't matter what type of plaza they build at 150 - park or whatever. I think we all know very few people will use in (at least in comparison with European cities)

I rather like the design of the park in the renderings - would be a cool place to catch a game of frisbee!
     
     
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