Since it opened in 2004, Millennium Park has become an essential destination for visitors to and residents of Chicago, second only to Navy Pier. As with many of Chicago's architectural and artistic marvels, how the park came to be is a story of outsize ambition, luck, political manoeuvring, and turning obstacles into opportunities. Cheryl Kent's lavishly illustrated book is the best general introduction to the park's history and each of its attractions. Each chapter describes a conceptual, design, and construction process that defied the odds. From Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate (affectionately called "the Bean") to Frank Gehry's Jay Pritzker Pavilion, projects that could have been modest and conventional instead blossomed into trophy pieces to rival Picasso's sculpture in Daley Plaza. In every case, the story of how that transformation occurred shows individuals who invested themselves in the spirit of the enterprise and accomplished more than they ever thought they could. Its millions of visitors attest to Millennium Park's enduring appeal. Cheryl Kent's book will be both an essential guide to the park and a keepsake for those who have enjoyed its unique attractions.
Cheryl Kent has been writing about architecture and cities for more than twenty years. Her most recent books are Santiago Calatrava, Milwaukee Art Museum (2005) and The New Spertus Institute (2008). Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Architectural Record, Metropolis, Progressive Architecture (for which she was the Chicago correspondent), Inland Architect, Design (London), Chicago Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, World Architecture (London), Historic Preservation, and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. She has consulted to the National Register for Historic Places and the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. Kent was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support her research on civic architecture.