By John Svast
Have you folks heard of the Burnham plan? You haven’t! Great! Take a seat while I blast you with my information shotgun!
The Burnham Plan is the Chicago urban design that was thrust forth into this world in 1909 by a pretty amazing guy by the name of Daniel Burnham. Burnham is famous for not only his plan for Chicago but he is also half of the design duo of Burnham and Root. I think of Burnham and Root at the Penn & Teller of their day.
We totally copied our Shtick from Burnham and Root…
Photo of Penn LEFT and Teller RIGHT
Penn and Tell totally copied our shtick
Photo of Burnham LEFT and Root RIGHT
Burnham designed several building including the Rookery, The Monadnock Building, and the Reliance Building. He is also is famous for saying:
“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big”
It took a man like this to handle the big idea that we now know today as Chicago. Would you like to see the plans? I know you would!
1909 Burnham Plan
Do you like Grant Park? Thank Burnham
Do you like the Lake Front? Thank Burnham
Do you like all the Museums? Thank Burnham
As a matter of fact, along with the several maps that Burnham provided he also included 6 items to focus on:
1) improving the lakefront
2) developing a highway system
3) improving the freight and passenger railway systems
4) acquisition of an outer park system
5) arranging systematic streets; and
6) Creation of a civic center of cultural institutions and government.
Why am I bringing this all up? For our design for studio we will be implementing a lot of Burnham’s ideas into our design due to the fact that 290/Congress Parkway was going to be this grand green boulevard with parks dotting along the way. We are going to design a new park on the near west Side. Horary!
Here are a handful of photos of the progress I have thus far in studio:
Photos By Author