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Merit Award - DESIGN

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Jackson Park Pavilion Fountain Court and Town Square Court
Chicago, IL

Wolff Clements and Associates, Ltd.

Frank Clements, FASLA
Principal, Wolff Clements and Associates, Ltd.
417 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60605
Tel: 312-663-5494;
Fax 312-663-5497
frankclements@wolffclements.com


Project Purpose

The Jackson Park Pavilion was built in the early twentieth century to provide bathing facilities for residents of the neighborhoods surrounding Jackson Park. In 1997, the Owner embarked on a program to rehabilitate the facility which was not being utilized by the public due to its severe disrepair having been abandoned long ago. The original design of the pavilion included two open-air courtyards that were used as men and women's changing areas. The Landscape Architect was retained to redesign the courtyards with funding from a not-for-profit, community-based trust foundation (the Client). Concurrently, the Owner engaged an architectural firm for the rehabilitation of the building which included the redesign of the interiors to provide a new lifeguard station, office space for park district staff, public meeting rooms, concessions, and restroom facilities. The Landscape Architect and Architect collaborated on issues that were important to life safety aspects of the design as well as issues arising from the historic status of the pavilion.

The new "Fountain Court" contains an interactive water feature design by the Landscape Architect that recalls a carousel. Lights and rotating water arches, which reach ten feel in height, are arranged in three concentric rings to simulate the experience of riding on a carousel AI the center of the fountain is a water maze that visitors can travel through; and by pushing foot pads and hand buttons, park users can turn on different water shows. A concentric circle of benches surrounds the fountain, providing comfortable seating for parents to watch their children play. Trees provide shade in the courtyard. Special site lighting, some of which was recreated from historic plans and photographs, adds to the ambiance and security of this public place.

The water feature is supported by a 20-foot by 20-foot pump room, which contains pumps, filters, water treatment facilities, and a sophisticated computer control system that allows the water feature to be programmed into an infinite number of water shows.

The "Town Square Court" as its name implies is a landscaped courtyard designed for multi-purpose public gatherings. A central lawn provides an area for seating and is surrounded by trees, shrubs, and beds of colorful perennials. Cultural events, such as concerts and theater performances, as well as public meetings, are held in this area. In addition, it is used for day camp activities sponsored by the Owner.

Construction of the "Fountain Court" and the "Town Square Court" was completed in the summer of 1999 for a total construction budget of $1.2 million.

Role of the Landscape Architect

The Landscape Architect's role in the project was to create for the Owner a project that would serve the Jackson Park neighborhood, improving the life of its residents the children, especially the children.

In addition to being charged with leading the design team's efforts, the landscape architect was given the responsibility of managing the extensive public participation process. Community involvement thus became an integral requirement in the planning and development of the Jackson Park Pavilion and Courtyards. Representatives of the Jackson Park Advisory Council and members of the local community met with the Owner and the Landscape Architect when plans to restore the pavilion and courtyards were proposed.

Beginning at the conceptual design phase, the Landscape Architect presented the proposed plans for the courtyards to the Jackson Park Advisory Council and local residents. As active participants on the design team, the Council and community input had significant influence on the final design. In order to implement the design and construction documents required as a result of the public participation process, the Landscape Architect had to assemble and manage a larger multi-disciplinary team of professionals, which included a fountain design consultant, mechanical and electrical engineers, structural engineers, and lighting designers. With this team, the Landscape Architect was able to complete the proper design and technical components of the project.

Special Factors

The selection of the construction materials and site furnishings by the Landscape Architect were chosen to match the historical context of the building, yet stand up to contemporary standards of quality and durability. For example, gray and neutral colored concrete pavers for the plazas were chosen to match the color and texture of the building materials, which is poured-in-place concrete. Paving in the plazas were constructed of strips of green granite to match and recall the green tile roof of the pavilion. Additional site furnishings, which include a second type of bench, trash receptacles, and lighting, are either reproductions of historic furnishings, or were selected as appropriate to the historic context. As part of this work the Landscape Architect considered the future cost of annual maintenance and prepared a projected annual maintenance budget, which the trust foundation (the Client) has endowed.

Significance

Because the Jackson Park Pavilion had been closed for several years and had fallen into a state of severe disrepair, local neighborhood groups were very concerned about the planning and design of the renovated facility. Neighborhood groups perceived the lengthy closure of the park facility as a serious gap in the Owner's responsibility to provide them, especially their children, with adequate beachfront access and amenities. Due to the intense public scrutiny of the project, it was extremely important that the Landscape Architect have the experience and skills to successfully conduct the necessary and extensive public participation process, bringing it to a win-win conclusion for the Owner and the local communities.


2001 Award Winners
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