DuSable Park design team selected

March 10, 2022
Du Sable Park Announcement Chicago Skyline Sketch

The Chica­go Park Dis­trict select­ed Ross Bar­ney Archi­tects’ joint ven­ture with Brook Archi­tec­ture (DuS­able Park Design Alliance) to design DuS­able Park; a 3.5 acre space where the Chica­go Riv­er and Lake Michi­gan meet.

Named in hon­or of Jean Bap­tiste Pointe DuS­able, the first non-native set­tler and Founder of Chica­go”, DuS­able Park will become an over­due acknowl­edge­ment of the city’s his­to­ry and an icon­ic pub­lic space. 

Sit­ed on an area of lake fill, the park was home to var­i­ous indus­tri­al uses begin­ning in the late 1800’s. The Chica­go Dock and Canal Trust Planned Devel­op­ment estab­lished the site as a park, and in 1987 May­or Harold Wash­ing­ton ded­i­cat­ed the site in hon­or of Jean Bap­tiste Pointe DuS­able. DuS­able park is posi­tioned as both a crit­i­cal piece of Chicago’s pub­lic lake­front and a cap to Chicago’s Riverwalk. 

Du Sable Park Announcement 05

Depiction of Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable by Charles C Dawson

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Chicago, 1820

John Bap­tiste Pointe DuS­able arrived in Chica­go around 1775, estab­lish­ing a trad­ing post on the banks of the Chica­go Riv­er. His suc­cess estab­lished DuS­able as one of the city’s first entre­pre­neurs. His­to­ri­an and DPDA team mem­ber, Dr. Christo­pher Reed, illus­trates DuS­able and wife Kittiwaha’s home­stead and trad­ing com­plex as sur­round­ed by a bake­house, a milk­house, a smoke­house, a chick­en house with 44 big hens’, a work­house, a cow house, and a barn that housed 30 big horned beasts’. DuSable’s eco­nom­ic involve­ment in this trad­ing sphere depend­ed on main­tain­ing good polit­i­cal rela­tions with the dom­i­nant eth­nic force in the Chica­go plain, the Bodéwad­mik (Potawato­mi). His flu­en­cy in lan­guage, his mar­riage into the group, and his pos­i­tive atti­tudes towards non-Euro­pean peo­ples no doubt con­tributed to his suc­cess. The scope of eco­nom­ic activ­i­ties ranged from mer­chan­dis­ing pork, flour, and bread to hunters, fur trap­pers and set­tlers; to sell­ing man­u­fac­tured items result­ing from the skill as a coop­er and car­pen­ter. He ben­e­fit­ed from the monop­oly held in the absence of competition.”

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A DuS­able Park
Navy Pier Fly­over
C Lake Shore Dri­ve Bridge
400 North DuS­able Lake Shore Dri­ve Site
Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier 

DuS­able Park will join a series of recent invest­ments includ­ing the Navy Pier Fly­over, Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier, and Relat­ed Midwest’s pro­posed 400 North DuS­able Lake Shore Dri­ve, which will be con­nect­ed to DuS­able Park with a riverwalk.

About DuS­able Park Design Alliance
The DuS­able Park Design Alliance (DPDA) is a unique, diverse, and inclu­sive joint ven­ture formed to pro­vide the bold, inno­v­a­tive, and col­lab­o­ra­tive design ser­vices demand­ed by the mis­sion and spir­it of the DuS­able Park project. DPDA is found­ed, owned, and led by an African Amer­i­can, women-owned archi­tec­tur­al design firm (Brook Archi­tec­ture) and a women-owned archi­tec­ture, land­scape archi­tec­ture, and urban design stu­dio (Ross Bar­ney Archi­tects). The firms rep­re­sent two of Chicago’s most rec­og­nized and respect­ed design lead­ers. DPDA has assem­bled a major­i­ty minor­i­ty and women-owned con­sul­tant team to col­lab­o­rate on the real­iza­tion of DuS­able Park:

  • Syl­vain Stu­dios (Art Curator)
  • Dr. Christo­pher Reed (His­to­ri­an and DuS­able Scholar)
  • MBDB (Com­mu­ni­ty Engagement)
  • sCole­man Design (Graph­ics and Wayfinding)
  • Dynasty Group (Sur­vey­ing)
  • David Mason (Civ­il and Struc­tur­al Engineering)
  • Wang Engi­neer­ing (Engi­neer­ing)
  • Alfred Benesch (Marine Engineering)
  • Delta Engi­neer­ing (Elec­tri­cal Engineering)
  • Hugh Asso­ciates (Light­ing Design)
  • Con­cord Group (Cost Estimation)

Land Acknowl­edge­ment
DuS­able Park and Checagou (Chica­go) reside on the tra­di­tion­al home­lands of the Hoocąk (Winnebago/​Ho’Chunk), Jiwere (Otoe), Nutachi (Mis­souria), Bax­o­je (Iowas), Kiash Matchi­ti­wuk (Menom­i­nee), Meshk­wahkîha (Meskwa­ki), Asâkîwa­ki (Sauk), Myaami­a­ki (Mia­mi), Waayaah­tan­wa­ki (Wea), Peeyanki­hši­a­ki (Piankashaw), Kiikaapoi (Kick­apoo), Ino­ka (Illi­ni Con­fed­er­a­cy), Anishi­naabeg (Ojib­we), Odawak (Odawa), and Bodéwad­mik (Potawato­mi).

As the DuS­able Park Design Alliance begins work it is com­mit­ted to ele­vat­ing and cel­e­brat­ing Native Amer­i­can voic­es, past and present. 

Learn more about land acknowl­edge­ments from the Native Gov­er­nance Cen­ter and Field Muse­um.

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