Michigan Avenue Median Planters 2016 Seasonal Display


2016 Merit Award


Chicago, IL


29,030 sq ft


Chicago Department of Transportation



Landscape Architects

Project Details

The Michigan Avenue Median Planters 2016 Seasonal Display provides a unified comprehensive seasonal landscape display for the enjoyment of pedestrians, bicyclists, bus and taxi riders, and motorists within a 3-mile-long project corridor through the very heart of a busy downtown district of commerce, tourism and recreation. From Roosevelt Road to Oak Street, the project corridor encompasses a string of 79 large-scale raised linear planters aligned in the center median of Michigan Avenue. Because pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic is commonly heavy, the display was designed as a bold, vivid landscape that could be easily appreciated from varying vantage points while walking, biking, or driving.

The 2016 display itself was different from past displays in that it was conceived from its inception to pay homage to a celebrated local contemporary artist. Drawing inspiration from the artist’s works, the Pamela Self Landscape Architecture, in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Transportation, designed the display to interpret the artist’s whimsical images and improvisational style in the three-dimensional medium of a living landscape. The landscape display occurred simultaneously with the artist’s major summer-long retrospective exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center.

In the last 20 years, the Michigan Avenue medians have been thoroughly transformed by landscape architecture. Once a barren wasteland, the medians are now highly-visible public landscapes beloved by city residents and visitors alike. Throughout the design process, Pamela Self Landscape Architecture remained committed to achieving its core objective to originate a stimulating contemporary landscape well-suited to its urban context and historic legacy.

Project Team

A Safe Haven Landscaping

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