Travels in Landscape Architecture
December 2004 ~
Chicago and Illinois State, U.S.
My family and I lived in the Chicago suburbs of Oak Park
and Elmhurst when I was a kid growing up in the sixties, and one of my
fondest memories was of our arching, canopied-shaded tree lined
streets appropriately named "Morning Glory" and "Elm." My dad was a
huge admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright,
Japanese abstract art and architecture in general, having spent spent time
in the Far East during WW II and the Korean War.
cousins in the Midwest - Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota - we traveled
the area extensively, visiting parks, forests, rural pastoral vistas -
including historic covered bridges - and of course the various area
Wrightscapes. I suppose it's no big surprise then that I should appreciate
the Prairie School philosophy of integrating the land and the built
environment, and the principles of organic architecture.
Stephen J. Carrera / AP;
"Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, right, stands on top of his
city hall's green roof;" Source: MSNBC News article
"Is that a Garden on Your Roof? of 9.14.04.
So it is also with no
surprise for me, as well as others, to be proud of this beautiful part of
the U.S. since the City of Chicago, led by Mayor Richard M. Daley, has
chosen to throw down the ecological gauntlet and set a tough environmental
standard for municipal construction by vowing to make Chicago "the greenest
city in America."
In 2000 the mayor chose
to exemplify his own sustain-able design philosophy by building an air
quality and temperature test greenroof atop the Chicago City Hall, probably
the most famous and photographed example of a government greenroof project
application to date - read the
Greenroofs.com Case Study.
Completed in the summer of 2001
and encompassing one square block and twelve stories high, over 20,000
herbaceous and mostly native prairie plants were installed as plugs, including
112 woody shrubs, and even a Cockspur Hawthorn and Prairie Crabapple tree.
Thus began the initiation of Daley's "Green Quest."
Did you give or receive the perfect green Christmas gift? You might be interested
in reading about The Great Chicago Fire Sale - "America's First City
Sponsored eBay Charity Auction" and their
"Priceless Item #1190." What
was it? According to the
website, "on December 2, 2004, Chicago will once again make history when we
launch the first-ever municipally sponsored eBay charity auction. Auction
items will include Chicago related objects, one-of-a-kind experiences and
special services. The proceeds will benefit the Chicago Cultural Center,
Cultural Grants, and Gallery 37." Specifically, Item #1190 was none other than
A Private Tour of the City of Chicago City Hall Rooftop Gardens
- lunch for six included! The
tour guide was the Honorable Mayor Richard M. Daley.
So much has been written about the Chicago
City Hall that we selected Katherine
Millett's article entitled "Birds on a Cool Green Roof
Can the roof of Chicago's City Hall take urban nature to a higher level?"
for our Guest Feature for December 2004. Originally published in the Summer
2004 issue of the
Wilderness Magazine, we
are pleased to offer it here.
Because this region of the country is so
committed to green architecture, we also chose to highlight another Chicago
area greenroof for our January 2005 Guest Feature Article - read:
Therapy: Rooftop Garden Creates An Oasis For Wellness &
Rehabilitation - By Ed Jarger, Regional Greenroof Product
Examples of the many other
public and private greenroofs found within the Illinois green building
market to be highlighted include the first rehab building in the U.S. to
have achieved the US Green Building Council's LEED Platinum rating, the
Chicago Center for Green Technology, see
Green Roofs can
be successfully incorporated into new or retrofitted LEED certified
projects such as the Chicago Center for Green Technology, which has
earned a LEED Platinum rating - the only rehabbed building in
the nation to have been awarded this prestigious rating by the
US Green Building Council. Architectural Rendering Courtesy of ©Farr Associates.
here for Project info.
As I do when I am compiling information
for my Sky
questionnaires were sent out in October to the design and government
greenroof community notables, and perhaps because of the holidays or the
Chicago's RFI, I am still receiving greenroof project details and
photos (and am expecting additional profiles) - so please check back and
feel free to contribute
background info about greenroofs within both Chicago and the entire
state of Illinois...
Join me later for Part II when I will
have completed compiling the numerous greening activities of the windy
city, Chicago, and its Germany-inspired Mayor, Richard M. Daley's love
of roof gardening and greenroofing.
Linda is founder and publisher of Greenroofs.com, a greenroof design
consultant, and has been a Delta Air Lines international flight attendant
since 1979. All opinions expressed in this column are exclusively
those of Linda S. Velazquez. Delta Air Lines neither contributes to nor
endorses this column or website. (And, Yes, she is still flying.)
Linda went back to school and received her Bachelor’s of
Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Georgia in 2000.
She received her LEED™ Accredited Professional designation in August, 2004, and welcomes your comments; contact her
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