Soldier Field Renovator and Architect Dirk Lohan Takes Another Shot at Saving Century-Old Stadium

Paul Steinbach Headshot
Lohan Architecture, Expanded Soldier Field, East Elevation

Dirk LohanDirk Lohan considers himself a fan of the Chicago Bears. Of the franchise’s plans to build a domed stadium next to Soldier Field? Not so much. The German-born architect has developed the sort of affinity for America’s third-largest city — and its parklike lakefront — that can only come from having designed updates to signature structures dotting Chicago’s so-called Museum Campus: Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and the World War I memorial that has served as the storied home of the Bears since 1924. So concerned was Lohan, 86, about the cost and other consequences of a different stadium footprint along Lake Michigan that he voluntarily submitted a design that would completely enclose the existing Soldier Field — the early 2000s renovation of which he designed — at a fraction of the nearly $7 billion it could take the Bears (and taxpayers) to start from scratch. Speaking with an unmistakable accent, the namesake of Chicago-based Lohan Architecture recently shared with AB senior editor Paul Steinbach what motivated him to wade into the Bears’ stadium relocation controversy.

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