Frank Gehry, winner of the National Medal of Art, applied his signature style to this revolutionary outdoor concert venue. The Pavilion stands 120-feet high, with a billowing headdress of brushed stainless steel ribbons that frame the stage opening and connect to an overhead trellis of crisscrossing steel pipes. The trellis supports the sound system, which spans the 4,000 fixed seats and the Great Lawn, which accommodates an additional 7,000 people.
This state-of-the-art sound system, the first of its kind in the country, was designed to mimic the acoustics of an indoor concert hall by distributing enhanced sound equally over both the fixed seats and the lawn.
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion is home to the Grant Park Music Festival and other free concerts and events. It was named in memory of Chicago business leader Jay Pritzker, who with his wife Cindy, established the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1979.
"How do you make everyone - not just the people in the seats, but the people sitting 400 feet away on the lawn - feel good about coming to this place to listen to music? And the answer is, you bring them into it. You make the proscenium larger; you build a trellis with a distributed sound system. You make people feel part of the experience."
To really appreciate Frank Gehry one must hear this unassuming man speak at the Ted symposium in 2002 entitled - Then What? There he explains that even after the success of Bilbao "which was one of my first buildings that didn't leak!" he continues to feel immense anxiety on how to approach a new project. He now is attempting to build the Guggenheim in the middle east in Abu Dabi where the foyer of the new museum alone could swallow Frank Lloyd Wright's Manhattan Guggenheim museum in its entirety.
Frank Ghery takes the idea of a tent like paviion and gives it a profound sense of place and meaning much the way he put and otherwise obscure Bilbao on the map. As a result of his fantastical buildings, Ghery has won the Pritzker Architecture prize. What other architect in history has had the fearlessness to take a city to the brink of financial ruin where every man woman and child was in debt for a quarter of a million dollars and through its pure exuberance create a tourist destination and architectural Mecca that yields nearly a billion dollars in revenues to an otherwise unknown part of Spain. This prestigious medal of honor proves that the man who brought us chain link fence " because of client budget constraints" is one the absolute greats of all time. In fact no one has achieved such a status as an architect while living to see it. Unlike other greats Gehry continues to be self-reflective and self-critical well into his older years. Although perhaps to the untrained eye his works appear to be similar in style - if one sees the literally hundreds of models that are produced to ensure that not only the interior but the exterior is accomplishing exactly what he set out to do. - Ecomanta