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Millennium Park

Bending Pipes for The Trellis at Chicago’s Millennium Park

Five full years before its completion, Chicago Metal Rolled Products consulted with the engineers at Skidmore, Owens and Merrill (SOM) about bending pipes for the Pritzer Pavilion trellis at Millennium Park.

At 625 feet long, 325 feet wide and 60 feet at its highest point, a complex web of 12,14,16,18, and 20-inch diameter curved and intersecting pipe was to cover an area greater than 4 football fields and to hold speakers for a computerized, sound system entertaining an audience of 11,000.

Architect Frank O. Gehry’s design called for 570 tons of pipe curved in two planes with multiple radii. Chicago Metal suggested that each arch be curved in one plane and that the radii—ranging from 100 to 1000 feet-- change at each arch’s four nodal junctions. The architect agreed and chose to tilt each arch a little to the side. This early involvement and teamwork reduced costs and facilitated construction without compromising aesthetics.

Millennium Park Images


Chicago Metal used a 3-roll bending machine with a capacity of 200 in³ section modulus, one of a few machines in the country with tooling for bending pipes cold. Adapting to an accelerated schedule—an “X-node” was expedited to continue construction on the stage--the company delivered everything on time.

And, of course, the whole fabrication required AESS (architecturally exposed structural steel) quality. For example, SOM specified that the pipe have no scratches that your fingernail would hang up on. The precise bending of Chicago Metal Rolled Products made the difficulty of shop-fitting 130 curved and welded TYK joint connections “a snap”!

The trellis had to connect to the steel-clad, curvaceous ribbons which adorn the stage and which are so characteristic of Gehry’s architecture. The general contractor, Walsh Construction, and the erector, Danny’s Construction, both remarked that “the trellis pieces went together so well.” Working together, all parties helped create an architecturally significant structure that is a tribute to the versatility, economy, and beauty of steel construction. They didn’t curb their enthusiasm; they curved it.

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Testimonials

  • "A big thank you to your team. Your parts are receiving the most positive feedback possible. Your company has new fans here."
    Bruce E., Kansas
  • "Without CMRP able to roll these channels to my specifications, there was no way this beautiful round antenna would have ever worked. 
    Damon S., Wisconsin
  • "My customer has installed several truck loads worth of 36" x 160# WF beams you rolled and cambered for us. The quality is spot on."
    Justin J., Alabama
  • "The rolled stringers were right on the button as far as pitch and radius."
    Bob O., Illinois
  • "I really appreciate your company coming through on this order & expediting the material when you said you would.You stick by their word."
    Jason R., Missouri
  • "The last order of rings were the best that we have received from you. The flanges were all flat. Keep them coming like that."
    Lenny P., Ohio
  • "Thanks for OVER AND ABOVE EXCELLENT SERVICE.  The quality and accuracy of CMRP's work is outstanding"
    Peggy, Texas
  • "The ring looks good! The OD is dead on. Thank you for your concerns regarding our questions and responding so quickly. I was impressed!"
    Fran Z., Pennsylvania
  • "Please pass on to the workers, . . . (your) rings . . . were some of the best our fitter has seen."
    Jeff K., Illinois
  • "I want to thank CMRP for exceeding what you promised. You are ahead of schedule and the strakes are fitting great."
    Jim A., New York
  • "Your advice was a significant contribution to the project.  You provide excellent service and knowledge"
    John Z., Illinois
  • "These pipes were rolled DEAD ON. The shop guys said they had never seen a pipe come in and hit every point like that in a long long time."
    Joe C., Missouri
  • "The rolling on these rectangular tubes was absolutely perfect! Barely any adjustment needed to be made."
    Tom G., Massachusetts
  • “We just placed an order for Rolled Angle Rings & you delivered them to us within 2-1/2 days ... we are three states away.”
    Jim S., Pennsylvania
  • “I would like a quote on a spiral project. I have heard many good things about your quality and timeliness from other fabricators.”
    Ryan L., Utah
  • “The rolled beams were delivered yesterday and look very good. Thank you for great service!”
    Thomas S., Maine
  • “I’ve worked with CMRP for over 16 years and can rely on them for any size job and in any time frame. CMRP delivers every time.”
    Mindy, H., Indiana
  • “It is unbelievable how good a job you guys did rolling these beams.”
    Richard G., Canada
  • “You all helped us out greatly when no one else seemed they could. Everything worked out wonderfully!”
    Cliff P., Florida
  • “The parts are very impressive and the service was stellar. I will certainly be recommending you to anyone needing such services.”
    Randy W., Georgia
  • “We got everything we needed in a very short turnaround, I appreciate it.  We are happy to have a reliable source to turn to.”
    Russell P., Illinois
  • “Quote was great! Timely, appropriate, and frankly less money than we expected.”
    James L., New York
  • “CMRP immediately took action and shipped out my order the same day! This all happened like clockwork, allowing us to meet the deadline.”
    Margo R., Ohio
  • “We only use CMRP for our rolling needs. We can always depend on getting a finished product that is to our expectations or better.”
    David P., New York
  • “I wish everyone could get quotes back that fast! That is why we use you, fast response to quotes and questions and great quality!”
    Will F., Indiana
  • “Your quotes are always so well organized and thorough, I trust your work.”
    Jessica, South Carolina
  • “On larger more complex rolling items, I typically only go to Chicago Metal Rolled Products for pricing due to quality.”
    Kevin H., Pennsylvania
  • “Thanks for providing the material. First two sets were laid out and fabricated. Radius was excellent!”
    Brad, Iowa
  • “We really appreciate your work on this. Amazing attention for a smaller sized job. Thank you for coming through.”
    Erik J., New York
  • “The project was AMAZING! Thank you so much for your help. I really do appreciate it. Always a pleasure doing business with you.”
    Kelly E., Iowa
  • “Your salesman provided a quick quote with an offer to explain things we should take into account. It's known you guys do the best work.”
    Mark R., Maryland
  • “Thank you for your help with the project and for getting everything complete and shipped out in a such a timely fashion. You guys saved the day.”
    Ben B., Florida
  • “You guys did an amazing job on these stringers. We would NOT be having such a success story without your team's effort & patience!”
    David B., Oklahoma
  • “You gave me excellent service and help which I appreciated very much. Material was on time and right on spec.”
    Brian S., Pennsylvania
  • “Your positive attitude is noted & CMRP reputation in the steel industry is impressive. All of our locations will contact you in the future.”
    Dave B., North Carolina
  • “My boilermakers in the field had positive things to say about the quality and accuracy of the angles that you rolled. Thank you.”
    Walter L., New York
  • “The project is complete and our customer is very pleased. I appreciate your diligence and quality on this one.”
    Dusty A., Texas
  • “CMRP has been instrumental in our ability to deliver high quality & great looking parts. Any job, big or small, CMRP has come through.”
    Eddie C., Kansas
  • “Your rolled steel worked great! We check lengths & chord dimensions ...everything was within an 1/8".”
    Don L., Michigan
  • “We received our order on time and the level of workmanship is excellent!"
    Roger R., Georgia
  • “Your company did a great job rolling these parts. Our fab and installation is going very well thanks to the quality of your work."
    Ronnie S., North Carolina
  • “Your company is the only one that was able to give me a quote that was right on with my specs, everyone else had to modify at least one dimension."
    Adam S., Minnesota
  • “Thank you for the follow through & turn around time, it greatly helps in the environment that exists today."
    Don F., Nevada
  • “This was our first experience with your company & I was very impressed with all aspects."
    Rick N., Minnesota
  • “I want all to know your hard work and efforts have not gone without appreciation."
    Lance B., Minnesota
  • “The accuracy and quality of your product put a smile on our foremans face - that is hard to come by."
    Jonathan S., New York