New Chicago Bears Stadium Design Includes Giant Glass Wall

Not everyone in the city is thrilled with the multi-billion-dollar Soldier Field replacement

Chicago Bears helmet on a green field. We recently got a look at new design renderings of the planned Soldier Field replacement.
The Chicago Bears' time in Soldier Field may be nearing its end.
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, or so the saying goes. The release of renderings of what may be the Chicago Bears’ new home raises one point that might require clarification: what about throwing footballs? If there’s one word to describe the Manica Architecture-designed stadium, it might be glass. Or transparent, depending on the materials used. Between a striking glass wall and a dome, the planned stadium connects to the world outside in a way that stadiums, historically, have not.

Soldier Field, the current home of the Bears, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, though it was renovated in 2003. The planned new stadium would be located where parking for Soldier Field itself is right nowe, ABC7 News reported earlier this year.

As Dezeen’s Kate Mazade reports, the release of the new stadium renderings has led some preservationists to push back against the plans. The nonprofit Friends of the Parks raised an alarm over the use of lakefront property for commercial purposes. “As is so often the case in Chicago, the powerful and wealthy are demanding that our entire city stop and fast track their plans to expand operations on the people’s lakefront,” the group said in a press release, shared with NBC Chicago.

In an opinion piece for the Chicago Sun-Times, Lee Bey argued that the issues at stake around the land weren’t the Bears’ to decide. “[T]he Waldron parking deck is a concrete eyesore and does a disservice to the lakefront. The Museum Campus needs a revamp and Soldier Field is showing its age,” Bey wrote. “But the public and elected officials, not the Bears, should be the ones deciding what remedies are needed.”

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There’s also the matter of the project’s cost. The Bears and NFL will contribute $2 billion to building the new stadium. The total cost is $3.2 billion, according to The Athletic’s reporting. The team also stated that they want the city to throw in another $1.5 billion in infrastructure improvements.

That’s a lot of money to commit to any large-scale urban project, and it’ll be interesting to see how Chicago voters feel about this plan in the weeks and months to come. As Mazade writes, for now, “Manica expects to break ground in the summer of 2025, with an opening slated for 2028.”

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