Thoughtful attention to landscape design is a defining aspect of the campus environment at the University of Chicago. It’s part of the fabric and identifying character of the University and its impact is experienced on a daily basis by students, faculty, and staff.
In 2016, Facilities Services – Campus Planning + Sustainability collaborated with the Office of the President to select Crerar Science Quadrangle for redesign using the Julie and Parker Hall Endowment. This endowment provides the necessary funding to design, build, and maintain campus gardens. The space was updated to provide functional and directional movement and to create a place that is expressive of the individual character of the science buildings it faces, instead of one that simply served as a pass-through to move from one area of campus to another.
The focal point of the Crerar Science Quadrangle is a plaza with a custom light feature consisting of a pair of concentric circles with continuous LED lights supported from four 20-foot poles by catenary cables. The cables gracefully suspend the lights and are barely discernible in the evening hours, giving an illusion of lighted rings floating in mid-air. The circular light feature is made of laser-cut steel rings measuring 30-foot and 15-foot in diameter. The modern element completes the connection of the quadrangle with the varying architectural styles of the surrounding buildings.
In May 2019, the light feature in Crerar Science Quadrangle won a Merit Award presented by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). This nationally recognized organization awards selected projects for ingenuity and originality in lighting design.
In addition to the IES honor, in August 2019, the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture, selected the Crerar Science Quadrangle as an American Architecture Award winner for 2019. Now celebrating its 25th year, the American Architectural Awards® is a program that honors new and cutting-edge design for buildings, landscape architecture, and urban planning in the United States.