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Daley Plaza

Chicago, IL

Features: What's Out There Weekend, Chicago, June 2011

This paved civic space occupies the southern half of a city block taken up by the Richard J. Daley Civic Center. The building, designed in the International Style by Jacques Brownson of C. F. Murphy Associates in 1965, was originally called the Chicago Civic Center. It was renamed in honor of former mayor Daley in 1976. The focal point of the plaza is a Cor-ten steel, 50-foot tall, untitled sculpture by Pablo Picasso from 1967, which resonates with the high-rise Cor-ten steel building it fronts. The space also has a square fountain placed flush with the plaza’s granite paving and an eternal flame memorial honoring American casualties of 20th-century wars through the Vietnam War. More recent renovations include expanded planting areas with granite benches and raised rectangular granite planters with large honey locust trees, which provide shade for a portion of the plaza’s broad expanse of pavement. With its open quality and central location in Chicago’s downtown, the plaza operates as a political space and as an entertainment venue, holding concerts, festivals, and farmers markets in season.

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