The Phoenix Pavilion & Music Court

Above: 1893 Phoenix Pavilion and Garden lost in 1946.

The Phoenix Pavilion & Music Court

A cultural and architectural legacy is reborn in Jackson Park.

The Historic Lakefront Axis Point

The new Phoenix Pavilion will be situated in Jackson Park on one of the most historic axis points on Chicago’s south lakefront – connecting the beautiful 7-mile stretch from the Chicago River to Hyde Park with over 1,000 acres of urban park landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, which includes Jackson Park, Washington Park, and the Midway Plaisance.

The approach to, and circulation through the new Phoenix Pavilion follows the flow and function of the space as laid out for the 1893 World’s Fair.  In his 1895 General Plan for Jackson Park, Olmsted established a formal drive that once encircled the Museum of Science and Industry, and included a concourse and gathering area for the Music Court.

Whether a place from which to embark, or as a destination, the new Phoenix pavilion will be a place for people to connect with park, the neighborhoods, and each other.

Above Image: Approach to the Phoenix Pavilion from the Clarence Darrow Bridge. The site is today an under-utilized concrete parking lot, and the historic bridge is in grave disrepair.
A place where people and ideas intersect and converge

The new Phoenix Pavilion will serve as a center of activity for visitors to Jackson Park – a place to connect with, learn about, enjoy and celebrate the park, including its history, design, and natural beauty as envisioned by Daniel H. Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted following the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

Above Image: View of the Museum of Science and Industry, and over 120 cherry blossom trees planted in 2013 for the 120th Anniversary of the dedication of the original Phoenix Pavilion on March 31, 1893.

The new Phoenix Pavilion's amenities will include a café, dynamic physical digital educational and exhibit space, and a new performance venue that incorporates the historic outdoor amphitheater (Music Court) designed by Olmsted. Much of the space will be flexible, and include a multi-purpose room that can be used for meetings and events, including parties, music performances, lectures, and workshops.

To enhance and activate the new Phoenix Pavilion and Jackson Park as a campus to explore the wonders of science, nature and humanity, Project 120 Chicago and its partners are engaged with the Chicago Park District in developing educational and awareness efforts such as audio tours, Internet-based guides, on-site tours, exhibits, and publications that ensure that Chicagoans and visitors alike have an extraordinary opportunity to explore and discover one of the nation's most engaging landscapes.

Above Image: Interactive technology.

The Music Court | Restoring a prominent outdoor venue for cultural activities

Above Image: Olmsted's Music Court
Olmsted designed the Music Court following the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition to be a "place especially designed for the gathering of crowds about a band stand," and composed of a semi-circular area for a bandstand with two outer semi-circular paths pierced by diagonal paths. The area, as laid out by Olmsted will once again be a place where people enjoy music and culture surrounded by nature.

The Phoenix Pavilion will include a fully equipped outdoor stage around which people can enjoy performances comfortably seated. Beyond the Music Court Bridge, it is envisioned that once again people will be able to stroll through the Great Lawn (Project 4), and enjoy extraordinary views of the Lake and the lagoons.

Above Image: Bird's eye view of the new Phoenix Pavilion & Music Court Area.

An Architectural Legacy
Mindful of the new Phoenix Pavilion’s cultural and environmental mission and its place in Jackson Park’s history and location within the park, Project 120 Chicago and the Chicago Park District have selected architect Kulapat Yantrasast and his team of architects and landscape architects at wHY to design the new Phoenix Pavilion and its surrounding landscape.
Yantrasast’s graceful and sophisticated design not only responds appropriately to the site and the needs of visitors to Jackson Park, it reflects and builds upon an important architectural and cultural legacy established by the original Phoenix Pavilion built by Japan on the Wooded Island for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, and then gifted to the City of Chicago to be a permanent place for visitors to experience Japanese culture. 
For most of the over 27 million visitors to the 1893 Exposition, including the young architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the original Phoenix Pavilion and the canon of Japanese art that it contained, was their first direct encounter with Japan. This encounter would begin the transformation of their understanding and appreciation of Japan and its people.

For Wright, this marked the start of a life-long fascination with Japan and its aesthetics, which would become a constant source of inspiration and confirmation for his work, beginning with the development of the Prairie house, which revolutionized residential architecture in the United States. The Robie House, completed in 1910, is one of the best examples of the Prairie house and is located in the Hyde Park neighborhood adjacent to Jackson Park.  
Shortly after completing the Robie House, Wright designed the Phoenix-inspired Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, which would in-turn encourage world-renown architect Tadao Ando, Yantrasast’s long-time mentor, to pursue a career in architecture. Today, with Yantrasast’s new Phoenix Pavilion, the legacy comes full circle with the rebirth of the Phoenix in Jackson Park.

Additional references:

Above Image: Location of Project 2- Phoenix Pavilion and Music Court. The original Phoenix Pavilion built in Japan and gifted to Chicago was located on the site of what is Project 2 - SKY LANDING by Yoko Ono.