Chicago Botanic Garden Learning Campus

Project Location: Glencoe, IL

Client: Chicago Botanic Garden

The Regenstein Learning Campus is an environmental discovery center and nature playground at the Chicago Botanic Garden. This six-acre horticultural center is LEED Platinum certified and serves as a vibrant community for families, offering an interactive experience with the natural world.

The landscape design immerses families and children of all ages to a variety of outdoor experiences that include inquiry-focused learning and play that engenders a deep understanding of ecological systems. This regenerative project is envisioned as a gateway to the natural world; one that highlights creative discovery in all seasons. The campus weaves together multiple landscape typologies: from an upland play mound area to a lowland fountain fed from the adjacent lake.

The project features an interactive stone water runnel for discovery and play at the center of the garden. The perimeter of the garden includes other active elements such as a willow tunnel, an arborvitae contemplative room, a hornbeam council ring and hollowed out climbable logs. The upper garden adjacent to the Learning Center includes an apiary, a butterfly garden, and an outdoor classroom space for art and gardening classes. Discovery and imagination are emphasized in the design, offering visitors fertile ground for the expansion of the mind and body.

Image credit: Kate Joyce
Local landscape architect: Jacobs/Ryan Associates


ASLA Honor Award

American Architecture Prize – Educational Landscape Architecture