Lower Lake Shore Drive

Chicago, IL

Since the 1800s, the shoreline of the City of Chicago has been modified through a man-made landfill expanding horizontally into Lake Michigan.  Lower Lake Shore Drive proposes a vertical shift, expanding Lake Shore Drive (LSD) by digging down into the earth. This move creates a beachfront boulevard and linear urban park that acts as a natural extension to the city.

This proposal buries LSD between Oak Street and North Avenue, the heart of the Gold Coast neighborhood. On the newly reclaimed land, Lower LSD proposes new low-rise, mixed-use development, an urban greenspace, and an expanded recreational beach. Tax Increment Financing money earned by the raising of this new development finances the burying of the roadway.

The project maintains Inner Lake Shore for local traffic. This roadway then becomes a pleasure drive as envisioned by the neighborhood’s founders, Potter and Bertha Honoré Palmer. The Palmers conceived of the Gold Coast neighborhood as a development for lakefront living. The Lower LSD proposal reassembles the Palmers’ original vision for a symbiotic relationship between city and lake.

Finally, the project dedicates a statue to Bertha Honoré Palmer, a patron of both art and architecture, at the north end of the park. It is her vision of Chicago as a center of both progress and the arts that the Lower LSD project strives to uphold.

Entry for the Chicago Architecture Club's Chicago Prize, 2016