Sometimes the best way to blend two very different aesthetics – in this case ancient Asian sculpture and the native Midwestern landscape – is to let each remain distinct. We’re telling the story of this landscape in celebration of its recent commendation by the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Illinois chapter. Enjoy these photos and see more on our website and Houzz pages.
Over several decades, an American collector in the Midwest assembled an outstanding collection of Asian artifacts which he displayed in and around his residence. The collection grew, and soon exhibit space in the original display garden we designed was limited.
We encouraged the collector to commission a building and add additional gardens within a 2.25 acre area for better display. Today, there are two distinct gardens adjacent to a new museum building (designed by Booth Hansen) that function as outdoor galleries. The original Gallery Garden, below, features plantings that function as individual settings for art.
In contrast, the ‘Zen’ Garden, below, is enclosed by a rich tapestry of Midwestern native trees, shrubs and grasses. The overall landscape strikes a careful, yet relaxed balance between Asian and Midwestern aesthetics, honoring both in simplicity, materials and style.
This project won the 2016 Jens Jensen Award from the ASLA’s Illinois Chapter. Jensen was an early champion of our native Midwestern landscape who valued native plants, ecological processes, and reconnecting people to the landscape with harmonious design. Watch this beautiful documentary trailer about Jensen for a quick overview of his work and impact.