Public Building Commission Announces Award for Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse
River-Friendly Project Singled out by Friends of the Chicago River
The Public Building Commission of Chicago (PBC) announced today that Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse has been awarded the Silver Ribbon Award by the Friends of the Chicago River for outstanding contributions the park facility makes to the Chicago River and its surroundings.
Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse, 1700 S. Wentworth Avenue, sits at the edge of the Chicago River and features a green roof and rooftop terrace that overlook the river and city’s skyline. The 30,000 square foot Chicago Park District facility opened in the fall of 2013 and also offers a fully accessible recreational facility with a six-lane pool with spectator area, spacious locker rooms, a large gymnasium, fitness center, club rooms.
The award, announced on Thursday, June 5, is given each year by the Friends of the Chicago River and honors buildings and projects that embody the principles of the Chicago River Blue initiative. Friends of the Chicago River noted that the award- winning project “sets a new standard for river-sensitive development.”
“We are pleased to accept this award because it acknowledges what the design of the field house was intended to do — complement and enhance this unique riverfront property,” said Erin Lavin Cabonargi, Executive Director of the PBC. “The field house serves not only as a premiere sports and recreational facility for families, but as a community anchor and gathering place where residents from the Chinatown community can meet and socialize in one of Chicago’s most beautiful settings.”
More than 50 years ago, construction of the Dan Ryan Expressway forced the demolition of Chinatown community’s original Ping Tom Memorial Park and Fieldhouse. As founder and chairman of the Ping Tom Memorial Park Advisory Council, the late Leonard M. Louie’s vision to create a new park and field house became a reality in 2013 with the opening of the new Ping Tom Park Memorial Park Fieldhouse.
For the first time in the Chinatown community, this field house provides, a large community sports and recreation amenity and an opportunity to fully enjoy all that the Chicago River has to offer residents and visitors.
With unique design concept with features significant to the Chinatown community, Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse reflects the spirit and character of the community. Beyond the fact that the Chinese characters expressing ‘Community’ are etched in the red exterior metal panels, the field house serves as a hub, for adults and children to gather, socialize, and grow.
The field house is surrounded by a series of plazas, each with a unique purpose. A ‘Welcome Plaza’ greets patrons as they arrive via a dedicated Wentworth Avenue entrance. Another plaza incorporates the Chinese symbol for ‘luck’ with the brick paver design. The north side of the facility offers a plaza-like garden of native plants within a culturally relevant landscape. This garden, in contrast to the active welcome and entry plazas, provides a place of rest and relaxation. Overall, the landscape surrounding the field house tells a story of simple beauty and peacefulness.
This is the second award for Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse in as many months. In May, the project was awarded the Chicago Association of Realtors’ Bruce Abrams Award for the outstanding contributions and positive impact it has made to the community.
Public Building Commission Executive Director Erin Lavin Cabonargi (center, holding award) is joined by, on the right, Art Del Muro, PBC Managing Architect and Jim Mark, Vice President of Wight and Company, the Design/Build firm for Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse and, on the left, Jackie Loewe with Margaret Frisbie, Executive Director, Friends of the Chicago River at the Friends of the Chicago River’s annual awards event where the Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse was awarded the Silver Ribbon Award.