As downtown Chicago ads more and more residents, the ratio of people to greenspace grows increasingly lopsided. That’s part of the reason so many people were happy to see River North’s newest public park open late last week.
The park is on the north side of Exhibit on Superior (165 West Superior Street), the 35-story residential tower designed by the Loop’s bKL Architecture for Magellan Development and Mac Management. The tower opened earlier this year sporting 298 homes and 109 parking spaces. It’s also supposed to be one of the downtown Chicago buildings with the fewest obstructed views.
The park, designed by Kettlecamp & Kettlecamp, came to fruition at least partially through the prodding of 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly, who was on hand to witness the giant ceremonial novelty scissors slice through the lime green celebratory banner.
Also there was Pål Svensson, the Swedish sculptor of the park’s focal point, Turning Triangle. Mr. Svensson has produced dozens of pieces of public art since the 80’s and many are on display from mountain tops to freeway tunnels, mostly in Europe.
Another artist present was Jeremy Gentry, who in addition to being a musician, is actually an amenity at Exhibit, along with the fire pits and quartz countertops. Unlike the countertops, Mr. Gentry makes pleasant music in the building’s public spaces for the benefit of the building’s residents. The last time we saw an “artist in residence” as a building amenity, it was in Houston where an elderly woman filled the hallways with giant oil paintings of her feet, alligators, and her feet chasing alligators. Mr. Gentry is a much better amenity.