590 West Madison Pocket Park
Third Millennium Group (3MG), Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL)
The West Loop’s newest public open space, a 14,000 SF pocket park, was recently completed at the corner of W. Washington and N. Jefferson streets in Chicago. The park was designed as a public and tenant amenity in conjunction with the 590 W. Madison mixed-use (office and hotel) project. The goal is to provide an attractive outdoor space and amenity for tenants, hotel guests, residents, and workers in the surrounding neighborhood. Park construction was completed in advance of the building in order to preserve project entitlements.
The design concept is to provide a welcoming, attractive, and distinctive destination space that also encourages cut-through pedestrian circulation. The park is divided into smaller “outdoor rooms” which both provide smaller scale spaces within the park as well as some separation from the busy adjacent streets. Rooms are defined by tightly sheared angles that alternate between evergreen and deciduous plants, and are connected by “portals” on parallel pedestrian walkways that traverse the site. Hedges are arranged such that the rooms are always open to the street and the future building lobby.
The west room is more open, focused on a grass panel that is small but a welcome and unexpected presence in this urban location. The central room is a garden space planted with stripes of color-themed mixtures of perennials and ornamental grasses that provide seasonal, horticultural, and graphic interest. The east room is paved, programmable, and suitable for seating, outdoor dining, and gathering. Long wood benches with light strips below line the park paths; with light emanating from below, the benches appear to float above the paths. A dog-friendly area is located on the east end of the park for use by neighbors and hotel guests. Landscaping is rich and structured with seasonal and horticultural interest. The park opened in September 2016.