Zaha Hadid pavilion opening brings thousands of visitors to Chicago Park

The second of two pavilions honouring the centennial observation of the first city master plan by architect and planner Daniel H. Burnham opened in Millennium Park on August 4, 2009, and thousands of people have visited the structure, created by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid. Hadid’s pavilion, as well as the pavilion designed by the equally famous architect Ben van Berkel, will be open for viewing through October.


Unlike van Berkel’s high-gloss structure with three scoop-like supports, Hadid chose an elastic, silver-grey tent fabric to cover a 7,000-piece aluminum structure. She added oblong slits along the top of the pavilion for skylights. Hadid, the only woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize, calls this look a “fluid form.”


Inside the Hadid pavilion, visitors can view a video that represents the past, present and the future of Chicago. The installation was produced by the London artist Thomas Gray, who trained at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A variety of events, including talks with the pavilion architects, are planned throughout the summer and fall at a locations throughout Chicago and its suburbs to celebrate the Burnham Plan Centennial.


Daniel Burnham oversaw the construction and operation of the 1892 Chicago World’s Fair and is credited for preserving the Lake Michigan shoreline for the public. He envisioned a network of parks and promenades adjacent to and near the water that would replace the patchwork of tent cities, warehouses and wharves. His plan was based on European architecture and he saw Chicago becoming “Paris on the Prairie.”