North Park

Regional & Urban Design Award Submission

In 1891, the first building was constructed for North Park University, on pastoral grounds that are now part of the urban fabric of Chicago’s North Side. At the beginning of the 21st Century, the University’s attractive masonry academic buildings were dispersed within a typical Chicago residential community of bungalows and flat buildings organized by the city street grid.

The primary goal of NPU’s master planning effort has been to create a cohesive, pedestrian-oriented campus. This goal has been realized through the acquisition and demolition of private residences, the closing of city streets, renovation of vintage campus buildings, construction of a new library, and a comprehensive landscaping project, completed in 2006, that provides visual and spatial connectivity between campus buildings.

Straight city streets packed with cars have been replaced with subtly-curved pathways trimmed in brick. Path intersections are embellished with inviting materials, seating and lighting. Rich concentrations of native plants provide attractive foregrounds for buildings and transition seamlessly to the lush greenery of the North Branch of the Chicago River that runs through the campus.

The latest iteration of the master plan locates a future student center and science buildings to further improve Chicago’s new academic oasis at Foster and Kedzie.

VOA Associates Incorporated
  • Gary A. Wiss, Incorporated
  • Hoerr Schandt Landscape Architects
  • Primavera Engineers, Ltd.
General contractor
W.B. Olson, Inc.
Chicago, IL