Lake Ellyn Boathouse


2016 Honor Award


Glen Ellyn, IL


35,000 sq ft


Glen Ellyn Park District



Landscape Architects

Project Details

Lake Ellyn Park is the Village of Glen Ellyn’s oldest and most cherished park, which offers an incredible recreational experience. The park’s remnant woodland and lake provide a serene setting and ideal backdrop for the historic Boathouse. A Master Plan, completed in 2013, enhances the historic qualities of the park while also being restorative to the ecology and habitat of the site through the integration of modern, high-performance sustainable solutions crafted with authentic, appropriate materials and details.

As part of the first phase of development from the Master Plan, Conservation Design Forum was challenged to eliminate flooding of the Boathouse during large storm events when the lake water rises above the finish floor elevation. A flood protection wall was constructed around the buildings perimeter, built of local, natural stone selected for color and texture to ensure compatibility with the two historic chimneys. The flood wall creates a separation between the Boathouse’s outdoor garden rooms and the rest of the park during special events, which provides flexible seating opportunities.

Surrounding the Boathouse, permeable brick paver walks laid in traditional patterns were installed to cool and cleanse stormwater runoff prior to a slow, buffered release to the lake, eliminating the need for traditional detention ponds. Ornamental rain gardens are vegetated with native plants that require minimal supplemental irrigation and attract birds, bees, butterflies, and other beneficial pollinators. A “smart” irrigation system uses stormwater sourced from the lake to lessen summer stress effects on the plantings.
The parking area and the addition of a detached trash enclosure were creatively situated within the existing pavement footprint in order to protect the adjacent Bur Oak heritage tree grove. Since completion, the Boathouse and other park improvements have been well received and extremely popular with the community. The Boathouse was awarded national historical registration in 2016 and local recognition is being pursued. Additionally, the Boathouse improvements were designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, which is pending.

Project Team

Farr Associates

Parties Involved in Prior Master Plan: Conservation Design Forum; Farr Associates

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