Peter Schaudt Favorite Chicago Places

Peter Schaudt in the Art Insitute of Chicago’s South Garden. Scott Shigley

Checking my Google alerts for landscape architecture I came across this article in Chicago Business about Landscape Architect Peter Schaudt and his favorite designed spaces in the great city of Chiccago.

It’s a terrific list with great information and insight into these spaces and this now makes this list sort of a must-see for any of us with interest in the subject if we visit the Windy City.

I thought enough of this well-written article by Robert Sharoff(08/05/2013) to add all of the article here including the fantastic images from the article.

The in-story links were added by me, along with the images just below, fantastic work by these gentlemen.

Tiffany&Co. Celebration Garden – Chicago, Illinois
Shedd Aquarium – Chicago, Illinois
World Food Prize garden/Des Moines Iowa

Well, after reading this I have my work cut out for me on my next(don’t know when) trip to Chicago, but don’t expect me to go to a White Sox game. Cubs yes, White Sox-no. Yes, i’d love to go back to the Botanical Garden.

The article in it’s entirety :::

Over the past 20 years, Peter Schaudt and Douglas Hoerr of Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects in Chicago have designed award-winning spaces for civic, commercial and institutional clients. These include everything from Soldier Field and Daley Plaza to Trump Tower, the Hyatt Center and Crate & Barrel stores.

Mr. Schaudt, 54, grew up in Villa Park, where he still lives with his wife and two college-age children. After graduating from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 1984, he spent three years in Vermont working for the late Daniel Urban Kiley, regarded as the preeminent landscape architect of the midcentury modern era.

We asked Mr. Schaudt for a list of his favorite Chicago gardens and landscapes. Here they are, in no particular order.

Art Institute of Chicago South Garden

111 S. Michigan Ave.

“I first saw this garden, designed by Dan Kiley in 1962(Miller House, see below-RA), when I was a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and I always say it’s what made me want to become a landscape architect. Dan loved the Court of Oranges(Cordoba Mosque, see below-RA) , which is a famous grove of orange trees next to the cathedral in Seville (Spain). The South Garden takes off from that with a grid of identical native hawthorn trees that creates a beautiful sun-dappled canopy on either side of the reflecting pool. You also have that great Lorado Taft fountain. I also love that it’s a four-season garden—as striking as the trees are in summer, they’re equally impressive in winter when you can see their thorns and berries and gnarled branches.”

Columbus Park

500 S. Central Ave.

“Columbus Park was Jens Jensen’s largest original commission for the Chicago park system. It’s about 140 acres on the border between the city and Oak Park. What I love about it is that it’s an abstraction of a natural Illinois prairie landscape with a system of cascades and limestone waterfalls that originally fed into a large lake.

The lake got filled in when the Eisenhower Expressway was built in the 1950s, but the waterfalls remain and they’re glorious. Jensen’s disciple, Alfred Caldwell, used them as the inspiration for his famous lily pool in Lincoln Park.

The park’s other classic Jensen touches include a large council ring—basically a circular stone bench with a hearth in the middle that Jensen believed symbolized strength and friendship—and a pair of handsome Prairie-style lanterns at the Central Avenue entry gate.”

Bluff Spring Fen

945 Bluff City Blvd., Elgin

“There’s no sign and you enter it by driving to the back of Bluff City Cemetery, where there’s a tiny parking lot. Fens are marshy lowlands, and Bluff Spring—a 100-acre nature preserve—has a number of natural springs where 50-degree water bubbles up year-round. In the winter, there are clouds of steam over the fen.

The fen is surrounded by kames, which are low-lying hills and mounds created by retreating glaciers. The landscape is natural prairie and is threaded with narrow paths and occasional clearings. Lots of butterflies and wildlife like deer, foxes, raccoons and skunks. Among my landscaping peers, Bluff Spring is considered a rare jewel.”

Photos courtesy Cook County Forest Preserve District

Chicago Riverwalk

Chicago River between Lake Shore Drive and Franklin Street

The Riverwalk is Chicago’s High Line—a blighted 19th- century industrial corridor now being reborn as a people-friendly park. It’s not formal at all. It widens and narrows and there are a lot of little landscaping episodes along the way like curving benches, cafes, a fountain and a memorial or two.

For me, the main attractions are the bridges and bridge houses, which I think are some of the most beautiful works of sculpture in the city. And when they open, it’s like watching the city flex its industrial muscles. I sometimes hear people complain that we live in an era of diminished expectations when it comes to urban infrastructure. The Riverwalk, however, belies that claim. It’s a big vision.”

Graceland Cemetery

4001 N. Clark St.

“Graceland is about views and vistas and seems to have been modeled on Stourhead and other 19th-century British gardens. The area around the pond is like an open-air classroom of Chi-cago architecture. All the major figures—Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham and Mies van der Rohe—are there, as well as families such as the Palmers and the Goodmans. I love the humility of Burnham’s gravestone, which is a simple boulder on an island in the middle of the pond. I love all the willows, which you rarely see in modern landscapes.”

Lincoln Park Conservatory

2391 N. Stockton Drive

“When you talk about Chicago conservatories, the first one that comes to mind is Garfield Park, which I always think is a little overwhelming. I prefer the Lincoln Park Conservatory, which was designed in 1894 by Joseph Silsbee, an early Prairie school architect. The scale is intimate, almost domestic, and it’s all about the plants. I like how the machinery of the building—the pipes ands valves and louvers—is clearly visible. This is a building that has a job to do.”

Washington Park

5531 S. Martin Luther King Drive

Frederick Law Olmsted was a genius at illusion—those endless vistas he creates that twist slightly at the end and leave you wondering what’s around the next bend. Washington Park is just under 400 acres, with about half of it devoted to an enormous oval meadow where Olmsted specified that herds of sheep be kept to keep the vegetation at a manageable level.

It’s a staggering space. When you’re in the middle of it, the horizon recedes and all you see is sky, which was the point. The park is the western half of a much larger project Olmsted designed that involved connecting the lagoons of Washington and Jackson parks via a mile-long canal. The project was derailed in 1872 when the financing collapsed in the wake of the Chicago fire. Eventually, the half-dug canal became the Midway Plaisance.”

Pullman Market Hall Square

E. 112th Street at South Champlain Street

“The square, which consists of a central market hall encircled by four tiny colonnaded apartment buildings, is high Victorian urban infrastructure. I love the scale and the classical details, which are intimate to the point of miniaturization by today’s standards. Those curving apartment buildings seem like something you’d see in Florence.

Pullman dates from the early 1880s and was designed by Solon S. Beman,(Grand Central Station, see below -RA) who also designed the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue. There’s a lost-in-time quality to it that’s rare in Chicago.”

Photos by Sara Mays except where noted otherwise



Court of Oranges – Cordoba, Spain ca12th century Islamic Mosque

The Puerta del Perdón leads into the picturesque Patio de los Naranjos in Córdoba, planted with orange-trees and palms, where the ablutions prescribed by Islamic law were performed.

Mosque and Court of Oranges in Cordoba, Spain ca12th C.
Court of Oranges
Chicago’s Grand Central Station :::
Solon S. Beman – Grand Central Station in Chicago

Dan Kiley, The Miller House in Indiana :::

The Miller House (via Unknown)
The Miller House (via Unknown)


By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.

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