Chicago Navy Pier


Chicago, IL
United States

Project Size
6.7 acres
Site Context
Former Land Use
Previously Developed
Terrestrial Biome
Temperate grasslands, savannas and shrublands
Project overview

Chicago Navy Pier has been a Chicago icon and popular destination throughout much of its history, and by 2010 had grown to be the “number 1” tourist destination in the Midwest. In 2012, Navy Pier Inc. (NPI) decided to undergo a major renovation at the pier as the 100-year old site was showing signs of fatigue and felt increasingly disconnected from Chicago. Phase 1 of the project was completed in 2016 and received SITES Gold certification, becoming the first project under v2 of the rating system to achieve certification at the Gold level. As part of the renovation, NPI undertook a comprehensive plan to retrofit the pier’s South Dock and Gateway Plaza area and transformed the site into a more seasonally dynamic, culturally rich and sustainable destination. The renovation has made Chicago Navy Pier not only a world-class destination, but also a center of activity and culture tied back into the very essence that is Chicago – with engaging social spaces, generous and diverse seating, contemporary architectural pavilions, stunning water features, atmospheric lighting and robust seasonal plantings. Sustainable features in place at the project include using native and appropriately adapted plants in outdoor environments with 100 percent of selected plants suitable for site conditions, climate and design intent, and preserving existing trees by conserving 72.8 percent of site’s existing plants and healthy soils. The project uses highly efficient drip irrigation to meet 100 percent of its irrigation demand with harvested rainwater, and also estimates a 60 percent reduction in energy consumption through the incorporation of energy efficient lighting, pumps, aerator and transformer components. One hundred percent of structural waste and 99.84 percent of roadway and infrastructure waste has been diverted from landfill.

Learn more about this project and earn SITES-specific CE hours.

Photos courtesy of Sahar Coston-Hardy for Navy Pier, Inc. and James Corner Field Operations


Project Team
  • Client: Navy Pier Incorporated
  • Landscape Architect (prime): James Corner Field Operations
  • Landscape Architect (local): Terry Guen Design Associates
  • Architect: nArchitects
  • Civil: Primera Engineering
  • SITES Consultant: Re:Vision Architecture
  • Structural: Buro Happold Consulting Engineers
  • Lighting: L’Observatoire International
  • Fountain: Fluidity Desing Consultants
  • Signage: Pentagram
  • Soils Scientist: Jeffrey Bruce and Company
  • Irrigation Consultant: ESD Global
  • Construction Manager 1: Madison Evana Construction
  • Construction Manager 2: McHugh Construction