Oooo, Shiny Lima Bean and Video Fountain! (Millennium Park, Chicago)

For the park enthusiast/engineer geek inside most of us…

My husband and I have been watching the progress of the Pritzker Music Pavilion, the Crown Fountain, and the Kapoor Sculpture being built here in Chicago.

They’re almost finished! The due date is July 4, and we’re biting our nails hoping they get it all finished in time.

You can see the progress through live webcams here:

Click on, say Fountain, which is built out of glass blocks and will have video images under a sheet of water, and it will take you to the most recent shot. If you go to the “Date/Time” link on the left, you can go back and see various incarnations of building/tests. For instance, they were testing color bars on June 19. 16:00 is green. 15:30 is blue. 15:00 is, whatever that color is (teal?), 12:02 is dark red, and so on.

Click on the “Back to Site / Camera Directory” on the left and check out the Kapoor. The “shiny lima bean” is being built inside a tent, which you can see being erected on April 21, say, 12:00. Panels are being put into place, which will then be welded and polished to a high shine.

Artist’s rendering of what they’re going to look like: (which will also show the most recent webcam photo)

We’re having so much fun watching this I wanted to share it with others.

More images can be found here: (you have to turn off your pop-up blocker, then click “View Images” next to whatever section you want to look at.)

The whole thing may be 4 years late, but I think it’ll all be worth the wait.

I’ve heard that businesses are already complaining about the glare thrown off by that damn thing. Daley’s abandonging his Bridgeport manse for a condo overlooking this. It’ll also be interesting to see if the contractors who are owed a lot of money picket this. I’m surprised they haven’t already.

What a mess.

How can that be? It’s not even built yet, and the panels that are in place have a dull-white protective coating over everything but the seams. AND, what is built is covered by a huge tent so no sunlight has even had a chance to touch it!

Nothing nearly so swanky, but Montreal is just putting some finishing touches on the Quartier International, an urban redevelopment near the stock exchange.

First, several areas of exposed underground autoroute were decked over, with the convention centre being enlarged (with a funky new multicoloured façade and a couple of truly bizarre artworks inside) and a new office building for the Caisse de dépôt being built (the latter at a horrendous cost overrun).

Then the parks: Square Victoria was completely redone. They restored the Parisian entrance to Square-Victoria metro station, reinstalled the statue of Queen Victoria (after having moved her dais to a better location), rebuilt the southern exit of the metro station, and completely changed the park itself; the lower half is quite densely foliaged now, while the upper half is a big plaza with cool fountains.

Two blocks away, they built a completely new square - Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, named after a famous Quebec artist who recently died. Amid a popular uproar, they moved a sculptural ensemble of his (La Joute) from the Olympic Stadium and reinstalled it there; it’s actually a fountain, and they were able to make it “multimedia” as the artist had intended. Every hour, fog billows from hidden jets throughout the park and pours off the fountain, and then on the hour itself, gas jets shoot a ring of fire up out of the water around the centre of the fountain. It’s extremely impressive.

They also put a series of pillars with inserts representing the flags of the world along rue University.

Finally, they built several new sections of the underground city, linking Square-Victoria and Place-D’Armes metro stations, the convention centre, the Caisse de dépôt, the Hôtel Intercontinental, and the Centre de commerce mondial, and finally joining a big outlying section of the underground city to the central part. (Now you can walk all the way from Place des Arts to the Molson Centre completely inside if you want to. That’s quite a ways.) In the new tunnel sections, they put in space for Montreal’s museums to contribute installations. In the rotunda of the southernmost exit of Square-Victoria metro, they put in this very cool interactive multimedia display featuring Montreal’s science museums, including live feed from the Biodôme.

It’s extremely cool.

matt_mcl, that is one of the most amazing websites I’ve ever seen.

Color me impressed.

Indeed, Matt’s got a great site.

And I’m glad I got to see the shiny lima bean. You know, your life is not complete unless you’ve seen at least one shiny lima bean . . .