Landscape Architect & Specifier News

MAR 2016

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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Page 57 of 173

58 Landscape Architect and Specifier News Ping Tom Memorial Park in the Chinatown neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago is a shining example of the transformation of vacant open space into a vibrant community anchor. Part of the Chicago Park District, the park project encompassed five phases of work over a period of more than 10 years. The expanded 19-acre site now includes traditional Chinese gardens, a playground, pavilion, boathouse, fieldhouse, naturalized shoreline, community waterfront plaza and a boardwalk. The history of this dynamic pubic space harkens back to the late 1960s when the Dan Ryan Expressway spur cut through Chinatown's only public green space. Designed by the Olmsted brothers, Hardin Square Park had amenities such as a fieldhouse, wading pools, ball fields, and playgrounds. All of it was erased and never replaced for the Chinatown community. Now, after 40 years of waiting the bold plan pioneered by local business and civic leader Ping Tom (1935–1995) has fully emerged. Ping Tom Memorial Park is part of a 60-acre mixed-use development on former Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad yards along the edge of the South Branch of the Chicago River in the Armour Square Community near the Above Ernest Wong, FASLA, APA, of site design group designed Ping Tom Memorial Park. The park lies along the east bank of the Chicago River just south of downtown Chicago. The park's original design imaged walled plazas inspired by traditional Chinese gardens in Suzhou, China, but security and vandalism concerns scrapped that notion in lieu of pathways. Catalyzing from the success of Phase 1 of the park (completed in 1999), Ping Tom Memorial Park has also continued to grow and build upon the initial development. Subsequent phases encompassed the 18th Street underbridge (2009), the north shoreline (2011), boathouse (2013) and Leonard Louie Fieldhouse (2013). The fieldhouse is back right; the boathouse in the foreground right. Decorative "nautical" style pendant luminaires with HID lamps keep the park brightly lit. The St. Charles Air Line Bridge (left) was built in 1919, then relocated and shortened in 1930 when the Chicago River channel was straightened. The 108-story Willis Tower, still commonly called the Sears Tower, is in the background left. PHOTO: ROSE YUEN Reviving Chinatown's on Chicago's South Side S Lost Public Green Space Landscape Architecture by site design group, ltd., Chicago The Transformative Ping Tom Memorial Park

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