A Force of Nature: The Life and Work of Jens Jensen

This City of Chicago installation brought to light the contributions of the pioneering Prairie landscape architect Jens Jensen. The design of the public gallery at the Cultural Center incorporated the landscape architect’s use of site and nature in its design, using light, shadow, and color to create mini-vistas into the work and life of Jens Jensen and his roles as designer, conservationist, social reformer and planner.

Sun Openings, ways Jensen allowed glimpses of sunlight to enter a space, were incorporated in the gallery. They helped entice visitors and school groups into mini rooms that provided close-up views of his innovative work. The thoughtful placement of over-sized Tecco Ware-like vases, dried native plants and foliage, and graphic ribbons of information brought nature indoors. A Jensen-inspired council ring provided a contemplative gallery space, in which visitors could take home packets of native Midwestern seeds to plant themselves, a reminder to propagate Jensen’s love of the natural world. Visitors of all ages were encouraged to recognize the importance of nature in their lives, to help save Jensen landscapes, and to acknowledge a great Midwestern artist and designer.

Owner:  City of Chicago
Interior Architecture & Exhibit Design:  
Architecture Is Fun, Inc.
Graphic Design:  
Anita Ambriz
:  Completed 2001.
Photography:  © James Prinz