Category Archives: Design

Family Gathering

A Chicago garden calls a Black community pushed to the margins back together again.

By Zach Mortice

MKSK Community Garden Design
MKSK’s design for the community garden extends a Mauricio Ramirez mural onto the ground plane. Image courtesy MKSK.

Since 2009, a vacant lot turned community garden on the 4600 block of Winthrop Avenue in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood has commemorated the Winthrop Avenue Family, the descendants of a group of Black families who for much of the 20th century were confined to this one block of the predominantly white neighborhood. “Everybody who lived on the block [was] not necessarily blood-related, but we were so close we felt like we were, and still do,” says Emilie Lockridge, whose mother was born there in 1925.

Continue reading Family Gathering

A Deep Dive Into the Archive

Albert Kahn Associates mines original drawings for the restoration of the historic Ford House.

By Jeff Link

1929 plan the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House
The design team consulted Jens Jensen’s original drawings for the restoration, including this 1929 plan for the pool and lagoon. FOE31 Jens Jensen Drawings and Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

The restoration of the 87-acre grounds of the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, may be among the most historically faithful re-creations of the work of Jens Jensen and Albert Kahn to date. Pieced together from Jensen’s original drawings, detailed construction logs, archival photographs, and digitized film reels, the restored landscape just outside Detroit features a 185,000-gallon clamshell-shaped pool, a lagoon, a meadow, and a wagon-wheel-shaped rose garden. 

Continue reading A Deep Dive Into the Archive

January 2023: Al Fay Park

ON THE COVER: Al Fay Park in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, by SLA. Photo by SLA/Phillip Handforth.

"Play It Cool" Magazine Spread

Featured Story: “Play It Cool,” by Jessica Bridger. A desert forest is a surprising sight in the booming heart of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. For the popular Al Fay Park, Copenhagen-based SLA used local materials and resilient native plants in unexpected ways, creating engaging settings for play and rest.

Continue reading January 2023: Al Fay Park

Breaking Bonds

Design for Freedom works to end modern slavery in the materials supply chain.

By Kamila Grigo

Theaster Gates Black Chapel Design
A design by the artist Theaster Gates, Black Chapel was a pilot project of Design for Freedom. © Theaster Gates Studio. Photo: Iwan Baan. Courtesy: Serpentine

The 2022 Serpentine Pavilion, titled Black Chapel and designed by the multihyphenate artist Theaster Gates, was conceived as a space offering contemplation, community, and joy to the public.

Installed next to the Serpentine South Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens, the austere pavilion felt at once imposing, as it reached just beyond the treetops, and humbly compact and perfectly embedded within its context.

Continue reading Breaking Bonds

Ten Times Better

At Quarry House, TEN x TEN uses Minnesota stone and lissome birch to sculpt a residential garden in three dimensions.

By Aaron King

Stacked quarry stone in a parklike setting
A set of collages explored design possibilities for the backyard. Courtesy TEN x TEN Landscape Architecture and Urbanism.

The backyard as a distinct space has not always been with us. It is, according to the cultural landscape historian Paul Groth, a relatively recent invention that was made possible by technological innovations in the 1930s and 1940s.

Continue reading Ten Times Better