Fabric Images, Inc. Rescues the Hadid Burnham Pavilion in Less Than 30 Days

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On July 6, 2009, construction resumed on the much-anticipated Zaha Hadid-designed Burnham Pavilion at Millennium Park. First announced in 2008, the exhibit was projected to take thousands of labor hours and six months to complete. In reality, it took less than 30 days, thus allowing visitors to enjoy the story and ideas of a future Chicago as envisioned by Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett's Plan of Chicago.

We had to add about 300 crossbars and weldments, and redo 19 out of the 24 trusses, along with adding all the fabric to it

On July 6, 2009, construction resumed on the much-anticipated Zaha Hadid-designed Burnham Pavilion at Millennium Park. First announced in 2008, the exhibit was projected to take thousands of labor hours and six months to complete. In reality, it took less than 30 days, thus allowing visitors to enjoy the story and ideas of a future Chicago as envisioned by Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett's Plan of Chicago.

After the original contractor walked away from the unfinished project, the decision was made to look for an alternative fabricator, and several local builders of fabric architecture were asked to submit proposals for completion of the project by the announced reveal date of August 1, 2009. Elgin, Illinois-based Fabric Images, Inc. was not intimidated by the intricate and unique design, nor by the compressed timeline, and was commissioned to complete the exhibit by August 1.

As construction began, however, it became evident that this wasn't just a rescue plan, but also an overhaul. The completely organic "Z-pod" is comprised of over 7,000 bent and welded aluminum tubes covered by a skin of weather-resistant fabric. Once on board, Fabric Images, Inc. deemed the existing metal skeleton to be structurally unstable. It was in need of major re-engineering in order to meet Chicago city code enforcement, which was being overseen by city engineer Chris Rockey. The rescue plan envisioned by the Hadid architects was comprised of a single solution: to rebuild the exhibit on-site.

In an interview with Derrick Blakely of CBS 2 News, executive vice-president of Fabric Images, Inc., Gordon Hill said, "We had to add about 300 crossbars and weldments, and redo 19 out of the 24 trusses, along with adding all the fabric to it,". Hill implemented a temporary, fully functional sewing and welding shop at the pavilion with welders and seamstresses (called dreamweavers) to complete the task. The Fabric Images, Inc. team worked tirelessly, putting in 12- to 16-hour days to meet the Pavilion Committee's revised deadline.

After all the reconstruction in metal, hours of sewing, fitting, and refitting, the team at Fabric Images, Inc. completed the construction of Zaha Hadid's interpretation of Burnham's vision on time and in less than 30 days. The exhibit remains open to visitors through October.

About Fabric Images, Inc.: Since 1992 Fabric Images, Inc. has been a premier supplier for fabricating and printing of tensioned fabric architecture for the retail, museum, architectural and exhibit design communities. FI is a family-owned and minority-operated business. They are considered by many to be a leading manufacturer of lightweight, digitally printed fabric tension structures. For more information, visit Fabric Images, Inc. visit http://www.fabricimages.com, or contact Leo Boczar, Director of Communications at 800/228-9223.

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