Designers Unveil Dramatic Plans for Navy Pier

Redesign project, if it happens, could be completed by 2016, the pier's 100th anniversary

UPDATE: Navy Pier Recommends Makeover Designers

Navy Pier in several years could look very different than it does today.

Five design firms on Tuesday unveiled their plans for sweeping changes to one of the state's biggest landmarks.

"Navy Pier is the state's top tourist attraction. It's a huge economic generator, so keeping it fresh, keeping it vibrant, keeping it as exciting as something like Millennium Park is critical to Chicago's economy," said Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin, who first reported on the plans late Monday.

The competition to redesign the pier actually began months ago, with 52 initial entries.

The five final entries feature undulating staircases and boardwalks, a giant ice-like sculpture emerging from Lake Michigan, a swimming pool and a gondola.

"Initially when the plans first started, we said about $85 million would be how much it would cost, and we're still looking into that. It really will depend on how much these design teams feel the plan will cost," said Navy Pier spokesman Nick Shields.

The project will be paid for by grant money and donations.

Three teams will present their designs Tuesday night and two will present Wednesday. A winner should be chosen by the beginning of March. All of the designs will be on public display at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, at 224 S. Michigan Ave., beginning Thursday.

The redesign project, if it happens, could be completed by 2016, the pier's 100th anniversary.

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