Travel magazine deems campus the “Most Beautiful” in Illinois

The 58th Street project transformed a former street into pedestrian walkways populated with lush foliage.

Once again, the urban oasis that is the University of Chicago campus has earned a distinction for the beauty of its campus, this year being named “The Most Beautiful College” in Illinois from Travel + Leisure magazine. For a full list, click here.

Citing “several contenders (especially Northwestern),” in Illinois, the magazine noted UChicago’s largely Gothic campus today shines for it balanced mix of modern designs alongside classic stalwarts. Other “Beautiful Colleges” to make the list were Yale University in Connecticut and Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

This is the latest in a string of awards honoring our iconic buildings and polished 217-acre campus landscape. The Illinois chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ILASLA) again recognized the Laird Bell Law School Quadrangle, for the new garden installed in 2016 with the organization’s Honor Award, one of four awards for landscape design. Kettelcamp & Kettelcamp were the landscape architects for the new garden, funded by the Julie and Parker Hall Botanic Gift Endowment. Previously, the Illinois chapter had honored the Law School Quadrangle with its President’s Award in 2009, the organization’s highest honor for the fountain renovation. Eero Saarinen’s original 1959 design featured a fountain and basin for the Quadrangle, which was drained each winter. Wolff Landscape Architecture Inc. worked with Saarinen’s original plans to develop and construct the zero-depth reflecting pool with a design suitable for all seasons, while staying true to Saarinen’s vision.

In addition, our newest quadrangle was honored with a Gold Award from the Illinois Contractors Association for Commercial Landscape Construction in 2016.  The North Sciences Quadrangle, a design by Michael Van Valkenburg Associates featured large slabs of stone creating topography on the relatively flat campus and included an underground retention system, which holds 150,000 gallons of water and is reused to irrigate the site. The irrigation system is a first in the City of Chicago and is a test to see if this technology can be used elsewhere.

And last fall, our Landscape Services team was recognized for the outstanding oversight and care they provide to our beautiful campus by receiving the Grand Award from the Professional Grounds Management Society. Again, this is a repeat win as this team also received this award in 2011.

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