Lakefront Project

In 2003, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts sponsored a competition on the “21st Century Lakefront Park” to extend and complete Chicago’s Lincoln Park, encouraging proposals to consider the possibility of ‘both/and’ between the built and natural environment. Soliciting over 100 entries from professionals across the nation, the six competition winners highlight the many changes in the disciplinary practice of architecture addressing some of the most complex political, ecological, and aesthetic challenges facing public lands and waters in cities today. Tackling issues related to history, context, energy, biodiversity, branding, globalism, and infrastructure, Chicago’s lakefront offers a site rich with landscape and programmatic diversity to challenge park-city relations. The various attitudes evident in the competition entries questioned how one might participate in the nature-society relation today and re-appropriate the role of landscape as a constructive activity. Following a brief account of the landscape and planning activities that have shaped Chicago’s lakefront, an evaluation of the winning entries helps to cultivate more active participation, renew discussion and develop fresh ideas about the role of the constructed landscape to expand the possibilities of the twenty-first century city.

Lead Investigator: