Ford Calumet Environmental Center

 2022 Driehaus Award, First Place

Valerio Dewalt Train Associates for Chicago Park Disrict

11555 S. Stony Island Ave

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Big Marsh Park, the Chicago Park District’s largest reclamation project, was a postindustrial brownfield scarred and damaged by years of legal and illegal industrial dumping by the time the Park District took over the site in 2011. Through the combined efforts of the City of Chicago and the Calumet community, this same area is now home to a 45-acre bike park and a series of walking trails that provide eco-recreation opportunities on Chicago’s Southeast Side. It is also now home to the new Ford Calumet Environmental Center—a building that exemplifies a new age of sustainability and environmental care. Designed by Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, the entrance serves as both a gateway and a hub, educating visitors about the site’s past and setting precedent for a new, sustainable future throughout the Calumet Region. The facility is designed for education and park services, featuring a permanent exhibit about the site and region, classroom spaces, offices, a bike repair area, restrooms and storage spaces. The corten steel placed elegantly and evenly throughout the building serves as a nod to the park’s industrial history. In addition, the use of skylights helps the building minimize its carbon footprint. Another key feature of the space is the flexibility in design: to keep the space flexible, the entire exhibit can be rolled away and the space can be converted for large events. The interpretive exhibit located inside the center provides a detailed look into the rich history of the Southeast Side of Chicago, as well as the positive and negative impacts that industry has had on the region. Big Marsh Park, anchored by the innovative Ford Calumet Environmental Center, serves as a beacon of hope for generations of children to learn about the history of Calumet and a major step toward a more sustainable future for Chicago.

10 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1700 | Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: (312) 422-9556 | Fax: (312) 360-0185

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