Burnham Pavilion by Zaha Hadid Architects



Here are photos of Zaha Hadid Architects' Burnham Pavilion, which opened recently in Millennium Park in Chicago.


Hadid's pavilion is one of two commissioned to celebrate the centenary of the Burnham Plan, which set out a blueprint for urban design in the city.


See our story about the other Burnham Pavilion, designed by UNStudio.


See all our stories about Zaha Hadid in our special category.


More info on Hadid's pavilion plus renderings in our earlier story.


See also our top ten stories about pavilions.


Images courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects © Michelle Litvin. Here's some info from the architects:


The pavilion is composed of an intricate bent-aluminum structure, with each element shaped and welded in order to create its unique curvilinear form.


Outer and inner fabric skins are wrapped tightly around the metal frame to create the fluid shape. The skins also serve as the screen for video installations to take place within the pavilion.


Zaha Hadid Architects’ pavilion also works within the larger framework of the Centennial celebrations’ commitment to deliberate the future of cities.


The presence of the new structure triggers the visitor’s intellectual curiosity whilst an intensifi cation of public life around and within the pavilion supports the idea of public discourse.


The pavilion was designed and built to maximize the recycling and re-use of the materials after its role in Millennium Park. It can be re-installed for future use at another site.


Zaha Hadid Architects’ pavilion design for Chicago’s Burnham Plan Centennial celebrates the city’s ongoing tradition of bold plans and big dreams.


The project encourages reinvention and improvement on an urban scale and welcomes the future with innovative ideas and technologies whilst referencing the original organizational systems of Burnham’s plan.


Our design continues Chicago’s renowned tradition of cutting edge architecture and engineering, at the scale of a temporary pavilion.


The design merges new formal concepts with the memory of bold historic urban planning.


Superimpositions of spatial structures with hidden traces of Burnham’s organizational systems and architectural representations create unexpected results.


By using methods of overlaying, complexity is build up and inscribed in the structure.




PROGRAM: Temporary pavilion to house multimedia installation
CLIENT: Burnham Plan Centennial
ARCHITECT: Zaha Hadid Architects
Design Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher
Project Architect Jens Borstelmann, Thomas Vietzke
Project Team Teoman Ayas, Evan Erlebacher

FABRICATOR: Fabric Images




Posted on Monday August 24th 2009 at 1:56 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Dev

    I like the new direction they are taking. Good work.

  • CROFTdesign

    I thought the construction team would never get past that delay, due to the complexity of its structure. Perhaps they should employ robots to build Hadid designs, similar to what eduardo mcintosh proposes. Overall, i enjoy the composition of complexity. Keep it complex!

  • plastic

    what material did they use to do the surface? looks very “hard” but seems to be some kind of fabric?

  • amsam

    Super cute! Just what a “pavilion” should be. But bring on the knee-jerk Zaha haters!

  • gaque

    i dont think you can call this a new direction. atleast they gave some drawings.

  • Nice and metric.

  • I’m just happy to see the Aqua tower completed in the background. Dezeen should cover that story, the process is so simple and Chicagoan.

  • Vico

    “…referencing the original organizational systems of Burnham’s plan… with hidden traces of Burnham’s organizational systems and architectural representations…”

    I’m curious as to how a shell-like structure composed of parallel white bands of varying curvature references Burnham’s plan of grand intersections, diagonal avenues and radiating development. Are we talking merely of “bold plans and big dreams”? I hope not. That would make for a pretty fatuous connection to Burnham’s concept. Or is the reference so hidden as to be illegible? In which case, is it in fact operative at all or just shammery?

    The pavilion itself is a fine folly. Its scale, articulation and aesthetic exhuberance seem perfectly configured to delight. It is not, however, an allegory of urbanism. It’s a funky yert, a space-pod, which can be reused practically anywhere and for any use later: in Dubai or Madagascar, Bruges or Osaka, as a VIP room or lemur cage, public toilet or love hotel. Its only urban contribution is as a temporary attraction, a fleeting landmark, a mirage.

    Chicago’s urban form is made of more solid stuff.

  • Wonderfull architecture that makes me dream… BRAVO to Zaha and her team!

    Francois Beydoun

  • VDR

    just an object, not architecture

  • liz

    …not usually a “zaha hater” and while this is pretty sexy in drawings, it’s just not worth looking at as a built pavilion. not sure if it is fabric (looks like it) but if so, they should have just left the skin off… or at least not covered the inside. the actual skeleton might be cool.

    the interior renders a few posts ago show really gross details between the slotted openings and the rest of the body… and the way it hits the ground and tries to die into it but fails miserably just lends credit to the idea that just b/c you can intersect things in digital space doesn’t mean they’ll do it in real life.

  • yeswecan!

    ok, so just to let everyone know, that this project has been and is been completly designed, developed and build by the project architects, borstelmann and vietzke with probably a little bit of influence by patrik schumacher if any…they are the real masterminds behind this project and many others! zaha is just a brand now and has nothing to do with most of the projects…as simple as that!

  • The Toothfairys Lovechild

    Hey Amsam, you’ve took the words out of my mouth.

    I love this architecture but maybe the knee-jerk haters will count to 10 before posting!!

    Come on, you know who you are….. count with me….. “One-Zahaaaaaaaa, Two-Zahaaaaaa, Three-Zahaaaaaaaa……..!”

  • pop

    this is sweet less candy!!!

  • Trumbo

    I must admit i do like this “object”.
    It´s curious how this office gets much closer to good architecture when they don´t try to make “buildings”.


    objects are architecture!!!! and rhino script and grasshopper are made to do better than this!

  • This a good example of what it can be done with the new emerging design technologies , a perfect balance between complexity and simplicity, I like to see that no all projects from big firms have to be massive and exaggerated in its formal language.

  • Dimitra

    it is not my favorite zaha project. however, i love zaha’s design, the way it changed the understanding of design and the way it affected design far beyond architecture.
    seeing zaha hadid, her unique personality, her strong way through the years and against odds and then her influence growing that overwhelmingly through the last few years, lets the ‘shooters out of the shadows’ appear quite helpless and jealous :)

  • zee

    I think it just looks like a big pebble.

  • MrCoolTeapot

    Doesn’t it remind anyone of George Nelson lamps? I like how she took his look and made it more “organic” but it very much captures his “look”.

    If you’ve ever built balsa wood model airplanes, as a kid, it will bring that to mind as well.

    I think the drawings are more interesting than the finished piece for some reason?

  • Really stunning architecture. Even greater than Frank Gehry’s. Masterpiece.

  • Zaha did it again..BRILLIANT!!..:D

  • Boinzie

    Whether you like it or not (I think it looks like the back end of an insect) – which is probably the better half), kudos to all the people in Chicago for making this happen. It’s another reason why Chicago is such a great city for Architecture.

  • PJ

    A fine folly indeed, ditto Vico!

  • Waleed Ghanem

    Zahaa Hadid … realy Brilliant ..

  • intimacy of curves , , , , pioneer