OLIN’s winning design for the 11th Street Bridge Park Competition connects two historically disparate sides of the Anacostia River with a series of rooms and active zones, including two sloped ramps that elevate visitors to maximized look-out points to landmarks in either direction. Each ramp terminates in a waterfall that visually reconnects the ramps to the river below. In addition to demonstrating how plants cleanse captured rainwater, the waterfalls above the bridge deck provide cooling breezes and a calming sound. The waterfall below the structure collects surface river water and drops it back into the river, emphasizing the need for river aeration and higher oxygen levels. To encourage visitors to the bridge and neighboring communities, the design includes amenities for comfort and refreshment and an open plaza for markets, festivals and theatrical performances. The form of the bridge creates an iconic encounter, an “X” instantly recognizable as the river’s new image.
The Alexandria Waterfront project is a 20 year vision for a 1.2 mile stretch of riverfront that has been disconnected from the city and compromised by past industrial use. The OLIN team worked collaboratively with the community to shape a plan that is designed by and for Alexandrians and is deeply rooted in history and culture of the city. The waterfront plan creates a variety of unique outdoor rooms along the Potomac River, for both passive and active use, linked by a continuous pedestrian promenade. The design integrates flood mitigation infrastructure that also serves as park amenity space. The re-imagined waterfront meets the recreational and civic needs of a diverse population, restores natural habitat for native flora and fauna, and offers a vision that is economically viable, maintainable and implementable in phases over time.
The Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building, the workplace of 4,000 people, is located on approximately 4 acres adjacent to City Hall and bounded by 9th Street—the recently designated Rock and Roll Boulevard that leads to the Hall of Fame. OLIN’s fundamental design goal is to create a memorable place that will aid in the renaissance of downtown Cleveland. Central to the design is the concept of an urban forest that, together with careful modeling of the ground and layout of paths and low walls, form a protected microclimate, while remaining open and inviting to the city. The design features a series of strategically planted spaces that accommodate relaxation and contemplation, as well as large events. To most fully realize the potential of this challenging site exposed to the winds of Lake Erie, OLIN worked closely with architects, a wind consultant, a lighting consultant and an artist to form a place that will become one of the most popular destinations in downtown Cleveland.
For decades, the iconic art collection assembled by Dr. Albert Barnes was displayed at his summer estate, turned museum and arboretum, in Merion, Pennsylvania. Now relocated along Philadelphia’s Museum Mile, the priceless collection is accessible to the public like never before. Conceived as a gallery within a garden and a garden within a gallery, the design honors the original Barnes estate and provides visitors with a highly personal and contemplative experience.
In 1883, Frederick Law Olmsted created a vision for what a public park on the Pequannock River in Bridgeport, Connecticut should be. He envisioned Beardsley Park as a refuge for the citizens of Bridgeport from the increasingly urbanized city. A place, to paraphrase his words, that citizens could “re-create” themselves, be gregarious, reflect, and be stimulated by nature. Over the past decades cities have been challenged to live up to Olmsted's vision and ideals. It is clear, however, that his ideals are as relevant today, if not more so, as they were over a hundred years ago. The Beardsley Park Plan provides the city and its citizens with a framework that will enable them to incrementally realize Olmsted's vision. OLIN's vision restores Beardsley Park's historic integrity while providing a robust landscape for the 21st century.
One of the highest profile and most cherished public spaces in the world, Bryant Park has become a model for environmental, social and economic sustainability. Many visitors to the park are unaware that the site is a large-scale green roof above an annex housing more than three million volumes of the adjacent New York Public Library. The social character of Bryant Park was transformed within days of the restoration’s completion in 1992. The New York Times cited, “Where once the park was the home of derelicts, drug dealers and drug users, it is now awash with office workers, shoppers, strollers and readers.” Today, Bryant Park draws thousands of visitors every day. The park is active year-round with concerts, performances, movie screenings, ice skating and more. The restoration of the park marked the beginning of an era in which public/private partnerships became the financiers and guardians of the public realm—a watershed moment in the history of park-making.
The Bud and Susie Rogers Garden at the Akron Art Museum is a gift to the community of Akron. OLIN worked closely with the museum on the design, which replaces a surface parking lot with a series of terraced outdoor spaces, including a welcoming plaza, a flexible lawn, a meandering path bordered by prairie grasses, and a woodland reminiscent of the forests of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Artists are invited to use the space to create interventions and expand the dialogue of art in innovating ways. The entire garden is also designed to welcome a range of activities, including introspection, exploration, expression, social interactions and memorable art experiences, generated by the community and curated by the museum.
Nature and culture come to the forefront as the design for California Memorial Stadium artistically blends natural systems with social and environmental function. The site improvements allow the stadium and its environs to be an active and contributing part of campus, not only during games, but every day of the year. The design takes its inspiration from several site-specific themes: wilderness, history, and academic and athletic achievements, which are expressed in the materials, grading and amenities. The site’s elevations change of more than 145 feet presented opportunities for dramatic views and spaces, but made accessibility a challenge, ultimately overcome through skillful and sensitive grading. The main plaza was formed conceptually by pressing the building into the earth, minimizing the visual impact to the site, while creating an accessible and significant public open space. Materials, as one approaches the stadium, become more refined, from a coarse stonewall to precisely laid paving. The paving pattern at the plaza is intricately designed and detailed, inspired by Ellsworth Kelly’s painting La Combe III at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Spirited quotations from alumni are engraved within the paving, acknowledging the university’s influence in world affairs.
OLIN’s redesign of Columbus Circle is based on concentric rings of movement and light, transforming what was once an inhospitable traffic circle into a refuge where people stop, meet and relax in the hub of a swirl of traffic late into the evening. The fountain is formed by a series of ledges with cascading water and jets arching toward the center to reinforce the circular design and primacy of the monument, mask traffic noise and temper the summer climate. When turned off, the ledges serve as seating to avoid the typically forlorn character of unused fountains during winter months. Custom-designed benches are scaled to complement the civic space and are wide enough to allow individuals to sit comfortably back-to-back. Columbus Circle demonstrates the potential of reclaiming social space in conjunction with rethinking transportation infrastructure. The redesign devotes less area to vehicles, yet traffic now flows more efficiently. Disciplining traffic as part of transportation planning and successfully balancing it with social needs is a difficult task, but one that is successfully addressed at Columbus Circle and can serve as a model for other cities.
Along the length of the landmarked Fifth Avenue façade, OLIN’s design for The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s four-block-long plaza enhances one of New York City’s most significant public gathering spaces. OLIN led the design to prioritize the pedestrian experience and create a welcoming urban destination with fountains, trees, seating, and kiosks for refreshments and museum information.
Ornamental beds of shrubs and herbaceous flowers reference plantings seen in early-to-mid-20th century photographs and drawings. Trees with limited lifespans have been replaced with a formal allée of aerial hedges; in all, the plaza includes approximately 100 new trees, more than twice the previous number. Increased shade creates a more comfortable environment, reducing the surface temperature of paving by as much as 25 degrees Fahrenheit. A new pair of contemporary granite fountains operates year-round by utilizing an innovative steam-recycling circulation system. They are positioned closer to the grand stairs, improving access to the plaza’s street-level public entrances and creating an energized connection between people sitting on the steps and those at the fountains.
At the foot of City Hall and the hub of Philadelphia’s transit center, Dilworth Park has become an iconic destination in the heart of the city. Prior to renovation, Dilworth Park lacked accessible space and was divided by a series of raised and sunken terraces and blind stairways. OLIN developed a universally accessible common plaza through the elimination of stairs and walls. The new design brings the entire plaza to street level creating a contemporary public space worthy of its prominent location at City Hall. The park is constructed over Philadelphia’s transit lines and is framed by the addition of two elegant glass pavilions that create a sculptural and daylit entry to the city transit concourses below.
Dilworth Park is designed as both a relaxing refuge in Center City as well as a destination for major events. Signature park elements include the plaza, a lawn parterre for informal gathering, sinuous stonework detailing and an interactive fountain. The fountain emerges from the plaza providing a seamless scalability to the park with basins that shrink or enlarge according to the park’s activity. In the winter the fountain transforms to an ice rink providing year round enjoyment. Integrated into the fountain is artist Janet Echleman’s Pulse, a kinetic representation of the transit lines, which signal their passage through illuminated ribbons of atomized fog rising through air. OLIN collaborated with Urban Engineers, KieranTimberlake and CVM Engineers to create this vibrant and comfortable public space that establishes Dilworth Park as a welcoming space to all.
OLIN’s landscape design for the Duke Medicine Pavilion establishes an open space which demonstrates a commitment to environmental sustainability. New buildings feature green roofs, and the landscape utilizes drought-tolerant, native and adapted plants. This minimizes irrigation needs, improves habitat for wildlife, and provides seasonal interest for patients, employees and visitors. Biofiltration, rainwater harvesting, and a commitment to pedestrian circulation links the site to the larger campus.
The Eastern Market 2025 Strategy is a development framework plan designed to protect the authenticity and diversity of Detroit’s Eastern Market. The resulting document is an inclusive guide for the growth of the 125-year old wholesale market that attracts over two million visitors a year. The strategy is built upon the consensus of a diverse group of stakeholders that characterize the market: large scale food wholesalers, family-owned farms that cater to the market, brick and mortar retailers, and entrepreneurs that make up the informal economy. The market is a source of both endless variety and living wages to people not only from Detroit, but across the Midwest.
The document is unique in that it not only illustrates an economically sound and equitable future, but it also documents the culture and vitality of the market that must be maintained. Throughout the strategy document, photographs of and quotations from market vendors and regular customers capture the authentic character of Eastern Market. The result is a spirited plan focused on job growth and the authenticity of the local food economy. The plan lays out a vision in which Eastern Market can simultaneously expand the wholesale food industry while working to diversify the current market district by infilling with food retail and residential in ways that fulfill Eastern Market’s role as a place that welcomes all Detroiters.
The Emerald Riverside project in Shanghai's Pudong district is an oasis within a bustling urban landscape that celebrates the Forest, The Garden and the Sky. The project primarily consists of residential towers, with high-end retail frontage on the eastern edge of the site. OLIN creates a multi-layered landscape both in the design of the streetscape as well as within the confines of the residential development. Residents and visitors move through landscape thresholds, each with a unique visual and horticultural character related to "Forest-Garden-Sky."
The streetscape design is a series of thresholds intended to shield pedestrians both physically and visually from the street as well as give them intimate garden spaces to occupy opposite major retail entrances. Within the residential zone of the project, occupants enjoy an incredibly rich series of layered landscapes. The classical language of the building architecture shapes the vocabulary of materials and sequence of spaces in the landscape, though OLIN infuses contemporary touches throughout the design to cater to the expectations of modern residents.
The Grace Farms Foundation sought a site design that allows people to experience the beauty of nature through landscape; creates a welcoming environment that fosters relationships; provides volunteer resources and opportunities; and enhances this bucolic environment as a place for reflection, study, and discussion. Teamed with the architects at SANAA, OLIN’s vision for the site transformed this 75-acre former horse farm into an open park composed of woodlands, meadows and ponds surrounding new buildings, as well as separate community facilities for art, social outreach and recreation. The property’s post-agrarian landscape has a unique cultural and historical narrative that will be shared with the larger community—72 of the 75 acres is openly accessible to the public. The landscape encourages ecological diversity by strategically removing invasive woodlands and non-native tree species, which will be replaced with indigenous plantings. OLIN also clarified circulation to enhance one’s experience of the site.
Commitment to quality, agrarian heritage, and the connection between people and finely crafted food was an ethos its leaders wished to be represented in every detail of their new home. In a unique collaboration with Overland Architects, OLIN produced an interweaving of building and landscape that enables all employees to enjoy and draw inspiration from the company’s roots and Wisconsin’s bountiful agricultural heritage. The new landscape is composed around and within the Home Office, sited to take advantage of views to the greater surrounding rural landscape and the dramatic Niagara Ledge. Employees arrive via a meandering drive to an orchard inspired parking court of Red Maples, then pass through the Four Seasons Garden to the Arrival Piazza, encountering sensory-rich plantings of vivid color and seasonal contrast. In the central courtyard, employees gather around a uniquely crafted common table to meet and share ideas throughout the day. Beyond the piazza sits the Heritage Orchard, dedicated to Grande’s founder Fillipo Candela, for which OLIN developed a program of grafting authentic Sicilian bud stock onto hardy Wisconsin rootstock. More than half of the 40-acre site is preserved for the continued development of orchards and meadows, which are experienced via winding paths for promoting exercise and contemplation. At its heart, Grande Cheese Home Office is a physical expression of its commitment to craft and focus on success through a better and more natural work environment.
Americans today are seeking to retain their traditional relationship to the land and their historic landscape while balancing simultaneous demands for increased density, more amenities, greater efficiency, and an ever-expanding job market. The Hills at Vallco offers a paradigm shifting solution: that which cannot be located side by side, can be combined vertically in layers. This project proposes to create a 30-acre public park over a 50-acre development of buildings, streets, and public civic squares. The public landscape of Vallco is composed of tree lined streets, two public squares, and an extensive roof park with a variety of outdoor amenities. The roof park incorporates paths for walking and jogging, a playground, orchards and a vineyard, along with a unique performance space, and at the same time, quieter areas, some constituting native habitat for the native flora and fauna of the Bay Area.
The Hunts Point Lifelines project is an innovative plan to safeguard the hub of New York’s Food Supply through a protective and resilient landscape infrastructure. The plan was a funded winner of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design competition. The project is an exemplar of design that demonstrates innovative, scalable solutions that increase long term resilience along the Eastern Seaboard and enables cities, towns, and neighborhoods to respond to the mammoth challenges of climate change adaptation. Lifelines was built upon an integrated design process with deep community engagement, research, and analysis. These efforts resulted in popular support for a landscape based flood protection system that encouraged the use of local industries and green jobs in the implementation of flood protection as well as funding strategies that would result in buildable projects along New York City’s urban shorelines. The PennDesign/OLIN team focused on the development of a living shoreline strategy that incorporated the use of levees designed as greenways and habitat rich wetlands to manage stormwater and prevent wave inundation along the low-lying Hunts Point Peninsula. The project’s consisted of four initiatives, known as ‘Lifelines’: The Levee Lab, a protection system that serves dual purpose as a shoreline greenway, Cleanways a multi-step plan for clean infrastructure, Emergency Maritime Supply Chain, and Livelihoods a policy proposal to promote the local economy and create green jobs.
OLIN’s garden design grew organically in response to the site’s context, specifically climate and light. The architectural parti strove for seamless integration of interior and exterior space. For staff and visitors, the gardens create an exquisitely appointed vestibule for the museum and set the stage for the treasures encountered within. OLIN’s design concept emerged as a reinterpretation of a classic Italian Renaissance villa and garden as a contemporary public arts institution. Italian stone pines line the entrance drive, pruned as in Rome to highlight their distinctive silhouette. A bosque of London plane trees revives the ancient horticultural practice of pollarding, a pruning technique seldom seen in the United States. All plants were carefully chosen based on their horticultural requirements, primarily water, soil and sun needs. Both native and non-invasive plants that are proven performers in the Mediterranean climate of Los Angeles were selected. The striking cacti and succulent garden serves as a model of plant selection based on extreme environmental constraints.
The LA River Index is a planning and outreach initiative to address a broad spectrum of needs to revitalize the LA River. The project provides an expansive array of open access data from flood protection to public health and environment which has been synthesized into an accessible research tool via a user-friendly website. The tool enables policy makers, planners, river advocates and the general public to see the river’s potential to create new and connected park land open space, offset greenhouse gas emissions and conserve water resources while reducing risks from floods and stormwater runoff pollution. The initiative envisions the river as a connective open space for the nine million people who live near the river. The team consisted of the integrated design and engineering expertise of Gehry Partners, OLIN and Geosyntec Engineers supported by numerous experts in fields of health, environment and public policy. This project is envisioned as a first step to transforming the LA River and surrounding area from a costly, aging utility to a public resource and natural asset for the future of the region.
For decades, Mill River in Stamford, Connecticut was dammed and channelized, choked with pollution and silt buildup, leading to greater flood risk for the surrounding downtown. When the Army Corps of Engineers called for the removal of the dam and channel walls, OLIN was brought in to create a master plan for the newly naturalized waterfront. The plan envisioned the river as an amenity and connector, anchored by a park to the north and with a multimodal greenway stretching down to Stamford Harbor. The first phase of the plan, Mill River Park, was implemented directly out of OLIN’s master plan. The park embraces the newly naturalized banks with a design that includes passive meadows, pedestrian and bicycle trails, lawn areas for play and events, and—for the first time in decades—access points down to the water’s edge. The park also incorporates an existing cherry tree grove, a beloved landmark in Stamford that was a gift to the city in 1957 by Junzo Nojima, a Japanese immigrant. Future phases of the park development include a fountain/ice rink and additional permanent visitor amenities, as well as trail connections extending beyond the park to Stamford Harbor.
The Museum of the American Revolution is located in the historic heart of Philadelphia, just blocks from Independence Hall. In collaboration with Robert A.M. Stern Architects, OLIN led the landscape design for the public spaces along each of the streets. On Chestnut Street, long benches provide comfortable seats for viewing two large bronze bas-reliefs depicting events from the revolutionary period. On 3rd Street, a café terrace offers views toward the historic First Bank building designed by Samuel Blodgett. The museum’s entrance at the corner of 3rd and Chestnut is set back on a sympathetically scaled plaza, allowing for ease of circulation and occasional events. The plaza also marks the beginning of the museum experience, with a display of revolutionary-era cannons facing outward toward the street.
The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is a welcome oasis in the vast scale and bustling environment of the adjacent National Mall. It is a lush retreat created by plantings, pathways, and furnishings designed to highlight some of the finest examples of 20th century sculpture in the nation’s capital. OLIN’s concept for the garden was to create a series of outdoor rooms to provide an appropriate setting and route for viewing the collection. The garden was to be a comfortable enclave for people to rest, relax, dine and watch each other in the presence of great art. American tree species define the rooms of various size, shape and proportion to accommodate the sculpture and display them to best advantage. One can focus upon each piece individually, while also viewing several at a time to compare them. Curvilinear paths guide visitors through the rooms and choreograph a comfortable pace for observation. An elegant fountain replaced the old, non-functioning one, and is transformed into an ice skating rink in the winter.
The National Veterans Memorial & Museum is a monument to honor the fallen and recognize the service and sacrifice made of all veterans in every branch of the military. As an extension of this purpose the landscape is intended to provide a natural sanctuary for remembrance and reflection. The central component of the design being a memorial grove, a ceremonial stand of trees, a sacred space for rest and meditation surrounded by a series of outdoor rooms designed for memorial displays and commemoration. A tree-lined pedestrian walk encompasses this landscape while gradually rising to a height overlooking the Scioto River and downtown Columbus beyond. This project is being implemented out of a larger master plan for the Scioto Peninsula in Columbus, developed by MKSK and OLIN.
Situated on an eight-acre site on the edge of Beverly Hills, this condominium and retail complex is organized around a series of gardens, which are built over a parking garage. Inspiration for the landscape design was taken from the Mediterranean climate of Beverly Hills and the archetypal courtyard housing built throughout Los Angeles in the early 1900s. The landscape concept is based on repetition with variation and contrast. Bands of plantings of varying sizes and species tie all levels of the site and garden together, while bands of water of varying depths and widths repeat the plantings through their reflection. Plants were selected for compatibility with the microclimatic conditions of the site, as well as with each other, specifically with regard to irrigation needs.
Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station is one of the busiest and most iconic transit hubs in the nation. Its location at the nexus of Philadelphia’s Center City and University City Districts also makes it potentially one of the most valuable tracts of real estate in the city. Amtrak, Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust engaged a multidisciplinary team including SOM, OLIN and Parsons Brinkerhoff, to develop a new master plan for the 30th Street Station precinct. Building upon a number of ongoing initiatives, this thirty year plan aligns the goals of multimodal transportation, urban development and economic resurgence under one umbrella.
Located in the Hudson River Park near the Tribeca neighborhood, Pier 26 reaches out and over the Hudson River with striking views to the Statue of Liberty and One World Trade Center. The 2.5 acre pier is located within the Hudson River Estuary, a highly sensitive and ecologically productive body of water that contains a hybrid of freshwater runoff and ocean saltwater. The pier has a unique mission, providing a physical and virtual space that brings to life the invisible dynamics of the Hudson River Estuary, reflecting the current technologies and scientific understanding regarding its health, ecological successes, and challenges. The physical design of the park is a dynamic gradient experience from upland to lowland, from land to water. This experience provides opportunities for ecological education and offers recreation and leisure spaces for people of all ages.
This competition-winning design by OLIN and OMA will create a vital hub of office, retail, dining and cultural amenities within a dynamic public realm. With a generous, fully accessible public plaza and roof terraces atop each obliquely oriented building level, the entirety of the site’s measured area is preserved as programmable open space. The resulting development will be a destination for gathering, play, education, innovation, entertainment, and celebration.
OLIN is a core design and planning member of the Red Hook Housing restoration plan led by Kohn Pedersen Fox. During Hurricane Sandy Residents lost heat, power, in some cases water for weeks, with many stranded in their apartments or left unable to return for weeks. The storm permanently damaged the majority of the electrical and heating systems and most of the buildings are still using temporary boilers. NYCHA has commissioned a design and engineering team to make the houses more resilient and reimagine the campus to be more livable and efficient as part of approximately of a comprehensive Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Resilience (CBDG-DR). The team developed strategies that address the challenges inherent in adapting aging buildings to be sustainable, support a social environment that supports health and wellness, and incorporate resilient strategies to withstand the next superstorm.
Formerly a parking lot the size of a city block, Simon and Helen Director Park is now a vibrant urban piazza in downtown Portland. The park, built entirely atop an underground parking garage, has created a variety of public spaces within the site's compact footprint, with a range of microclimates, amenities and activities. A glass and wood trellis stands out as a signature element of the plaza, offering shaded seating and a café without disrupting views throughout the space. An interactive fountain element anchors the northwest corner of the site, partially bordered by an ipe wood bench, and on the southern edge, a small grove of trees frames a giant, whimsical chessboard. Amid this vibrant civic experience, the park also incorporates strategies for urban greening and stormwater management, including a green roof on the café, planting beds which filter and reserve runoff for irrigation, and even the trellis and paving, which are designed to direct rainfall into the park’s catchment system.
Extending south from OLIN’s original 2005 design of the Washington Monument Grounds, OLIN and Weiss/Manfredi’s competition-winning scheme clarifies viewsheds between the White House, the Monument and Jefferson Memorial while creating a series of new physical connections within the cultural landscape of the National Mall and the Tidal Basin.
By folding a visitor’s center into the terrain south of the Washington Monument, the landscape becomes both an amphitheater and sinuous green roof. The new open-air terraced lawn of Sylvan Theater hosts up to 10,000 patrons and frames performances against the stunning backdrop of the Washington Monument. The visitor center serves as a multi-functional destination with an all-weather café, bookstore, public restrooms and public exhibition space for art and gatherings. A series of meandering pathways and an elevated canopy walk connect the Monument Grounds to a waterfront promenade, passing through sylvan groves and lawns framed with cherry trees.
Located next to Target Field, the station serves as a central, multi-modal transportation hub and community gathering space in downtown Minneapolis. A catalyst for neighborhood redevelopment, the $82 million design-build project provided 300 new jobs during its construction, and created new community park space for the North Loop neighborhood and historic Warehouse District. The station links 488 trains from light and commuter transit networks, and connects daily bus operation and miles of biking and walking trails linked within the Twin Cities Metropolitan area. The interchange includes an urban plaza with areas for neighborhood bars and eateries, cultural amenities, and entertainment. A great lawn in the upper plaza serves as a central green “stage,” providing new space for pre-game events, community concerts, and seasonal events. Located atop a parking structure, the project provides for 250 additional parking spaces within the transit hub. The landscape and infrastructure are fully integrated, with stormwater cisterns that can hold over 40,000 gallons. Stormwater filtering and reuse have reduced runoff from the Target Field Station site by 27% and total suspended solids in the runoff by 97%.
OLIN worked with Temple University to create a development plan for the Main Campus of 30,000 students. The plan guides the University as it evolves and re-imagines the campus and the role of a top tier research university within North Philadelphia’s urban landscape. A central goal of the plan is to enhance the sense of campus community for all students, faculty, and staff by increasing the number of student residents and providing a wide variety of campus social spaces and amenities. The 20/20 Development Plan provided recommendations for long-term and short-term building and landscape projects, established campus design guidelines, analyzed massing and development pro-forma, and created material palettes for elements within the Main Campus. The plan is based around an armature of public open spaces and architecture, and creates a cohesive fabric of land uses that support the University's academic mission and promotes engagement with the surrounding communities.
OLIN’s landscape design is a synthesis of the U.S. government’s goals for sustainability, security, accessibility and design excellence; with a team led by KieranTimberlake, OLIN crafted an embassy design that gives form to the core beliefs of democracy—transparency, openness, and equality—in a way that is at once secure, welcoming, and sustainable. OLIN’s competition winning landscape is a contemporary approach to the English tradition of urban parks and gardens as the context for civic buildings. The design’s spiraling walks and sculpted meadow terrains form the Embassy grounds, winding into the lobby and promenade overlooking a freshwater pond and the Thames to the north. The landscape design expresses these ideas formally but also through the selection of landscape materials. The spiral continues up through the building in interior gardens based on six significant American landscapes. Plantings chosen for the project were selected on the basis of commonalities between species common to the United Kingdom and the U.S.—a result of their being brought by English settlers and explorers to the New World. The result is a true embodiment of the United States’ deep bond with the U.K., the embassy’s connection to the city and people of London, and the fundamental tenets of American democracy.
The grandeur of Vista Tower at Lakeshore East starts below the level of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Built over a complex web of structure, bridges, and parking, the landscape organizes and mediates the surrounding urban fabric for hotel guests, condo residents, and public visitors alike. Entrance into the hotel and residential buildings is celebrated through dynamic seasonal gardens, while paving patterns and materiality navigate the circulation routes for safe passage throughout the site. The project knits the Lakeshore East Community to the riverfront at Lower and Upper Wacker Drive, connects Waterside Drive to Upper Wacker Drive, and forms an essential link between the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Public amenities such as a tree-lined lawn, a riverfront lookout deck, and the South Overlook framing views toward Lakeshore East Park and Lakeshore Drive beyond become park space for all of Chicago’s residents to enjoy. Topping the building’s iconic frustum forms will be multiple terrace levels that serve as private oases for residents and guests. The uniqueness of the spaces is made manifest through materiality and details for comfort such as a poolside red maple grove and a sky bar with intimate outdoor rooms for socializing and enjoyment over stunning views of Navy Pier and Lake Michigan.
OLIN collaborated with Studio Gang Architects, bKL, and Mackie Consultants to clarify pedestrian and vehicular circulation and cultivate lush, green spaces on existing and new urban structures in a complex urban setting.