Project Title: Mary Bartelme Park,
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Built, Unbuilt or Under Construction: Built
Project Year: 2010
Firm: Site Design Group, Ltd.
Firm Website: www.site-design.com
Project Team Members:
Client/Owner: Chicago Park District
Photography Credit: Ron Gordon Photography and Site Design Group, Ltd.
Site Design Group Ltd. – Architect of Record, Landscape Architecture and Project Management
Ernest C. Wong, Principal-in-Charge
Michelle M. Inouye, Lead Designer
Hana Ishikawa, Project Manager and Designer
Brad McCauley, Construction Manager
Terra Engineering, Ltd. – Civil Engineering
GSG Consultants, Inc. – Environmental Engineering
Hinkle Engineering, Inc. – Electrical Engineering
Gagarin Farruggia Gibisch Reis, Inc. – Structural Engineering
Fountain Technologies, Ltd. – Fountain Design
The Lombard Company – General Contractor
Project Description: Mary Bartelme Park is located on the site of a former infirmary in Chicago’s West Loop, an area known for its crowded condos and industrial grit. Providing crucial green space, the park is the result of much community engagement and advocacy. Site Design Group, Ltd., worked closely with community members during design development and site programming, creating a modern identity for the new neighborhood. The outcome is a much-loved site, streaming with diverse groups of people at all times of day—offering a vibrant space in which visitors can interact.
The design melds the site’s industrial history with sustainable and innovative design features. As a brownfield site, the project required extensive remediation and consideration of groundwater contamination. The sculpted landforms provided an opportunity to store excavated earth beneath the mounds, while imported clean soil provides a buffer between the surface and rectified soils. The site’s stormwater is stored under the permeable paver paths and later infiltrates through a leach field beneath the site’s largest mound. In addition to providing a permeable surface, the pavers are also pollution-eating and self-cleaning.
The sculpted, angular design of the site is mimicked in the iconic misting fountain. Using only 10% of the water typical of Chicago spray features, this arched gateway exemplifies the energy and movement of a growing community. Bold, geometric moves are complemented by hidden delights and evolving surprises. Salvaged artifacts from the original infirmary are imbedded into seatwalls, landscape mounds bloom with over 24,000 periwinkle-blue flowers in the spring, and weathering steel retaining walls oxidize to brilliant earthy hues. Through this combination of bold programming, dynamic design, industrial references, and sustainable features, the park has become a landmark for the area, offering a vibrant and contemplative refuge.
Find out more:
Inhabitat: Chicago’s Bartelme Park ”A New Public Park Opens In Downtown Chicago”
Chicago Tribune: City Scapes: ”West Side story: A new park, with dynamic geometry and bold interactivity, creates an urban oasis amid wall-to-wall condos”
Chicago Public Park District. Park Description.
Chicago Tribune: City Scapes: ”From the tallest tower to a vibrant urban park, the best architecture of 2010″
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