Lake Shore Drive - Museum Campus

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Chicago, IL
United States
Lake Shore Drive - Museum Campus

In 1995 the Office of Lawrence Halprin worked with the City of Chicago to relocate a section of Lake Shore Drive (U.S. HW #41), thereby facilitating a dedicated campus for cultural institutions along the shores of Lake Michigan. Located south of the central Loop, within Grant Park, this campus contains the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. The site is bounded by Lake Shore Drive to the west, Burnham Park to the south, and Lake Michigan to the east.

The expressway’s northbound and southbound lanes formerly split at Roosevelt Road to the north of the campus and rejoined around 24th Place south of Soldiers Field. Halprin’s design surgically relocated the northbound traffic lanes from the waterfront inland to align with the southbound lanes, and a section of the former northbound lanes was converted into Museum Campus Drive. Halprin also raised the highway and installed tunnels and bridges at pinch points to make the area more pedestrian friendly. Lighting and plantings adorned the new pedestrian routes, while parkland and bike paths were built along the lakefront where the northbound lanes had been to better connect the museums. A parking lot to the north of the Field Museum was converted into an open lawn, and parking areas to the east and south of Soldier Field were redesigned with pathways, grassy areas, and trees. The Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium, which had been separated by the northbound lanes, were linked by the new park.