Chicago Botanic Garden

Project Location: Glencoe, IL

Client: Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden Learning Campus is envisioned as a gateway to the natural world for kids and their families.  As nature increasingly becomes a distant concept for children plugged into the digital environment, our work encourages direct engagement with plant life, and the natural cycles of nature in order to reconnect our youth to the ecological world.  As the idea of “getting dirty” in the outdoors becomes more of an abstraction for children, we have designed this garden to highlight process, transformation, and creative discovery in this four season landscape experience.

The overall concept is guided by strategically located elements that focus on natural materials and systems.  A series of play mounds and an encircled stone stream define the framework for the proposal.  Within these two areas, opportunities for individual exploration and group learning are integrated into the canopy and earthen experiences.  Kids of all ages are considered in these various types of discovery from fossilized imprints of seeds and leaf structures in the stones and wood planking to the various landscape typologies that transform over the seasons.