Ridgeland Common Recreation Complex

Oak Park, Illinois / United States of America

One way to judge Ridgeland Common’s design is to compare it to the worn fifty-year old facility that underlay its renovation. Considered this way, the remade facility has been described by the community as a rebirth. Another is to compare it to other similar park district facilities. Considered this way, the design possesses a vitality that, while expressive of the facility’s purpose, is unusual for a building type that often settles for either nostalgic ideas of park architecture or for utilitarian structures.

The building’s vitality is partially the result of emphasizing the contrast between the facilities two primary recreation activities, ice and aquatics, which are expressed on the buildings west (arena) and east (pool) facades. An expressive design strategy informs other elements ranging from the pragmatic—using the color red to identify service points—to the playful—tracing compulsory skating patterns in the lobby’s terrazzo flooring.

The building’s dominant space is the ice arena, which features a preserved and refinished wood roof structure. It is the space of most dramatic improvement including lengthening the sheet of ice to regulation size, depressing the ice surface to increase height clearances and improve audience sightlines, and replacing bleacher stands with fixed seating.

Architect of Record

Nagle Hartray Architecture


Park District of Oak Park

General Contractor

Bulley & Andrews, LLC


  • Stantec Inc.
  • TERRA Engineering, Ltd.