Outdoor Space at One Bennett Park

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Children’s playground

I don’t so much think of a park as an escape from the city as I think of it as an escape in the city.

Michael Van Valkenburgh
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Planting detail

A Sense of Privacy

Michael Van Valkenburgh’s design of Bennett Park brings a sense of pastoral pleasure and harmony to life at One Bennett Park. The world-renowned landscape architect is the designer of the celebrated Maggie Daley Park and The 606 Trail in Chicago and Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City. He appreciates how a park can truly be “an escape within the city.” At Bennett Park, the idyllic gardens sit alongside two dog runs, meandering pathways, and steps leading to a shady grove. A sense of privacy is ensured with a frame of trees surrounding the park’s outer edge, yet the center of the park, which welcomes the sun, is bright and open. The dappled shade of the perimeter helps establish Bennett Park as a garden hideaway in the heart of Chicago.

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Lawn Bowl

At the core of the park is what Van Valkenburgh calls a “lawn bowl”— an open bowl ringed with small flowering trees that get progressively larger and taller. It’s the perfect gathering place in the center of the 1.7 acre park.

This magical area is the perfect place for children. “They can sit under the trees or run freely in this small world,” he says. Van Valkenburgh designed the park so that it will evolve through the seasons, with some trees maximizing their color each fall and others retaining their greenery throughout the year. As a result, the park will maintain a sense of life all year long as the beating heart at the center of One Bennett Park and the broader Streeterville neighborhood.

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