Saturday / May 21, 2022 / 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Tour - Ford Calumet Environmental Center: The Reclamation of a Brownfield on Chicago's Southeast Side

Big Marsh Park, 11555 South Stony Island Avenue, Chicago IL


The Ford Calumet Environmental Center, designed by Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDTA), is part of a larger initiative, seeking the reclamation of natural wetlands that were damaged by nearby industrial activity. This brownfield site is now a public park, home to birders, wildlife, and BMX bikers among other visitors. Aiming to cultivate advocacy for the restoration and conservation of the Calumet Region's environment and natural ecosystems, the center features an exhibit that tells the story of its setting and the people who have been a part of it throughout its history. Part of this exhibit is the building itself, which is constructed with Nail Laminated Timber, and uses a waste-water wetland system to process its own black water on-site.


  • Joe Lawton, SEGD, AIGA, VDTA
  • Alex Raynor, AIA, VDTA
  • Allison Rokusek, SEGD, AIGA, VDTA
  • Francisco Lopez de Arenosa, Media, VDTA

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn more about the use of mass timber through the building's Nail Laminated Timber Structure.
  • Learn more about the reclamation of the nearby wetlands that were damaged by nearby industrial activity.
  • Learn how a previous brownfield site was reclaimed for recreational and conservation purposes.
  • Learn more about the cultural advocacy involved in the reclamation of the brownfield.


Click here for bike rental information at Big Marsh Park. 

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