Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago, IL
Photography by Christian Phillips Photography
The main branch of the Chicago River has a storied history. Once a meandering marshy stream, the river first became an engineered channel to support the industrial transformation of the city. Over the last decade, the role of the river has been evolving with the Chicago Riverwalk project – an initiative to reclaim the Chicago River for the ecological, recreational and economic benefit of the city.
The Chicago Department of Transportation and Ross Barney Architects completed an initial segment, which includes the Veteran’s Memorial Plaza and the Bridgehouse Museum Plaza. In 2012, the team of Sasaki, Ross Barney Architects, Alfred Benesch Engineers and Jacobs/Ryan Associates completed phases two and three. The design materials, details and repeated forms provide visual cohesion along the entire length of the project. Completed spaces include: the Marina Plaza, the Cover, the River Theater, the Water Plaza, the Jetty and the Boardwalk.
Löyly, Helsinki, Finland
Photography by Kuvatoimisto Kuvio Oy
Sauna bathing is an essential part of Finnish culture. Public saunas used to be common in bigger cities, but they dramatically decreased in numbers as new apartments had their own. Löyly, which means the steam that comes when you throw water on hot stones in a sauna, will offer foreign visitors a public sauna experience year-round.
The building was designed by Avanto Architects Ltd to be slim and elongated. The height is low to not obscure the views of future residential blocks. There is a rectangular black box containing the warm spaces that is covered with a freeform wooden “cloak.” The structure is made of heat-treated pine. There are sheltered outside spaces between the warm mass and cloak to cool down in between sauna bathing. Around 4,000 planks were precisely cut to individual forms by a computer-controlled machine. The interior architecture of the restaurant and sauna lounge is by Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio and has a soft minimalism approach. Materials used include black concrete, light Scandinavian birch wood, blackened steel and wool.
Forest Park Nature Reserve, St. Louis, MO
By Josh Wibbenmeyer, Nature Reserve Steward, Forest Park
Photography by Nature Reserve Team
West of Round Lake in Forest Park's northeast corner, thousands of native wildflowers and grasses have found a new place to call home. In 2012, work began to revitalize Round Lake Vista, an overgrown wooded hillside and bottomland overlooking the historic Round Lake fountain. Invasive vegetation was removed, followed by planting, planting and more planting. Coupled with this project was the installation of a pollinator garden on the opposite side of the waterway. In all, more than 200 different native plant species were added in the form of 10,000 plugs and 50 pounds of seed.
This new biodiversity hotspot has become an integral part of Forest Park's Nature Reserve creating a more contiguous natural corridor between the prairie and savanna complexes near Steinberg Skating Rink and Deer Lake. The refreshed native landscape has quickly appealed to wildlife. Songbirds and frogs now enjoy an overflowing buffet of seeds and insects occupying the wooded hillside. On sunny summer days at the pollinator garden you will hear a deafening chorus of chirps and calls of cicadas, crickets, and grasshoppers, while nectar-seeking butterflies, bees, and skippers flutter and dash from one wildflower to the next. Forest Park Forever is thankful for the many donations that make these restoration efforts and others throughout the park possible.