Chicago – Jan. 18, 2020 – A new quarter-mile public pathway recently opened along the Chicago River as part of phase one of the Southbank development currently under construction.
Designed by Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects, the 2.5-acre park and riverwalk is the latest addition to the seven-acre multi-phase development. The site features trees, shrubs, and grasses selected for their beauty, resilience, and low maintenance requirements. And it offers a waterfront viewing platform, a kayak launch, and the potential for a future water taxi stop.
Stretching between Harrison Street and the River City Apartments along the river’s south branch, the riverwalk itself is decked with 9,000 square feet of Kebony modified wood, which was chosen specifically for its weather-resistant qualities.
“We were searching for new materials that are resilient to the midwest climate,” Hoerr Schaudt senior associate said. “What sparked my interest is that it doesn’t need to be finished and has been tested in some brutal climates in Scandinavia. Other projects in harsh atmospheres set the precedent.”
A stone amphitheater at the adjacent Southbank park will host small public events and concerts, and although privately funded and maintained, these open space amenities are available to the public.
The Southbank riverwalk is a preview of what a revitalized south branch of the Chicago River could look like in the future. The new segment will be eventually joined by another pathway crossing in front of the Riverline development to the immediate south. Just beyond that, a 100-foot-wide public riverwalk is planned at the sprawling mixed-use megadevelopment known as The 78.
Kebony is a Norwegian company which aims to be the leading wood brand and technology organization. Underpinned by proven timber modification technologies, it produces an enhanced wood of a superior quality that is both environmentally friendly and cost-effective.
The company's headquarters is based in Oslo, with its production facility in Skien, South of Oslo. Currently employing about 60 people, Kebony has subsidiaries in Norway, Denmark and Sweden, sales representatives in Germany, France, UK and the US and a wide distribution network internationally. Shareholders are leading the venture with private equity investors from Germany, France, UK and Norway. The company has received numerous awards for its environmentally friendly technology and innovation, including its naming as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer.
The Kebony® technology permanently transforms sustainable wood species such as pine into Kebony wood with features that are comparable, and in some cases superior, to those of precious tropical hardwoods. This unique environmentally friendly process is also a superior alternative to traditional wood treatment based on impregnation with biocides (wood preservatives). The company’s patent-protected production processes yield products that deliver major improvements in durability and dimensional stability, at the same time as being highly attractive. The Kebony products are suitable for a multitude of applications and designs – encompassing both indoor and outdoor applications.
Kebony’s mission is, through active innovation, quality thinking and understanding of commercial possibilities; give the world beautiful, long lasting and environmentally friendly wood products. The company will show social responsibility and contribute to improvements of the environment in a way that builds a better future.