With careful restoration of the natural habitat, a multi-use path system, and increased public access points, Hoerr Schaudt’s work along the Chicago River creates a uniquely tranquil place for Chicagoans to live, work, and play.

With a master plan vision spanning a half-mile of continuous river walk and six acres of open space, the landscape design for Southbank Park expresses its unique sense of place by recognizing the site’s historic roots while celebrating its present-day urban context. As part of the Phase I development alongside The Cooper Southbank luxury apartments, the two-acre core open space acts as a catalyst for future development phases by providing people with an opportunity to encounter the river in one of the more naturalized settings along its journey through the city.

Through restoration of the natural habitat with a multi-use path system and increased public access points, the site seamlessly bridges the urban landscape of South Wells Street with the serene, natural ecosystem of the Chicago River. Surrounded by tall seawalls along the south branch corridor, Southbank Park incorporates naturalistic edges designed to withstand inundation from the river’s annual fluctuations of nearly seven vertical feet. Allowing the riparian landscape to remain continuous and unimpeded, the park’s river walk was elevated above the landscape while weaving through the native vegetation. This unique segment of the Chicago Riverwalk is intermittently lined with monumental benches and an open amphitheater, creating a series of experiences for visitors to enjoy.

Hoerr Schaudt served as design landscape architect and Confluence supervised Construction Administration of the project.