PBC Gears Up For Gehry Bandshell Construction

Terry Levin, (312) 744-9277

Construction will begin this spring on one of Millennium Park’s major attractions-the bandshell designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry-after the Public Building Commission (PBC) voted to oversee its construction, including the portions being funded by private donations.

At its March meeting, the PBC agreed to accept authority over several contracts negotiated between the donors and private companies regarding special features of the Gehry-designed Outdoor Music Pavilion, including the elaborate stainless steel ribbons, trellis and lighting systems, according to executive director Eileen Carey.

These contracts are with the designers of those special features, so each can monitor their construction to ensure meticulous fidelity to the designs. The fees for these services will be funded from private donations to the park, Carey said.

Previously, the PBC accepted oversight for the overall construction of the bandshell; about half of its $43 million cost is being covered by the private donations.

Also at its March meeting, the PBC hired URS Construction Services-until recently known as O’Brien-Kreitzberg Inc.-to oversee the day-to-day construction of the Gehry pavilion, including its stainless steel ribbons; the trellis; and the landscaping for that east half of the park. The same firm has performed this service on other aspects of the park, including the recently completed ice rink and the Peristyle now under construction.

URS is expected to receive $3 million over the next two years for its services to the bandshell, about one-third of which also is being paid by private funds.

The bandshell is expected to take about two years to construct, with fixed seating for 4,000 and a 95,000-square-foot lawn area for an audience of thousands more. An elaborate trellis system will hold the state-of-the-art speakers to carry high-quality sound throughout the venue.

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