▶ North Shore Gets a New, Modern, Eco-Sensitive Beach Experience on Lake Michigan

Summer is here, and one of the best things about living in the midwest is the fact that you’re never too far away from a lake, pond, stream, or other swimming hole.  The people of north suburban Highland Park will very soon have a brand new beach experience thanks to the town’s Park District and Woodhouse Tinucci Architects.

Rosewood Beach opens this coming weekend after undergoing a major renovation.  Woodhouse Tinucci went with the modern aesthetic of emphasizing nature and minimizing the impact of the man-made elements to give beachgoers a yesteryear bathing experience.  Instead of docks and piers and fieldhouses mucking up the lake view, the infrastructure has been pulled back from the water as much as possible, letting Lake Michigan and its sandy stretches be the star of the show.  As described by WTA’s PR firm:

The Rosewood Beach restoration and improvement project incorporates four new pavilions into a boardwalk and landscape at the base of the natural bluff to use the full length of the recreational beach. The program elements are housed in simple, small scale, low profile pavilions that fold in and out of the boardwalk. The restoration project supports the ecological, educational and recreational activities of the community and will preserve this important beachfront for generations to come.

The design takes full advantage of sustainable and responsible architectural elements including geothermal heating and cooling, a FSC certified Brazilian Ipe boardwalk with integrated boardwalk seating, bird-safe glass and locally quarried ledge stone building cladding.

In addition, there have been extensive ecological improvements to the area that highlight the Park District of Highland Park’s conservation efforts including the opening of the ravine stream to provide fish habitat and cleaner water, native plantings, restoration of the bluff, a permeable paved parking lot to reduce water runoff, a new breakwater and beachfront erosion protection and sand nourishment.

There are lots more details about the project in the press release after the photo gallery, which shows drawings of the project and construction photos.  Also worth a few minutes of your time is the quadcopter-riffic construction video above.

Or better yet, pull on your sandals and a flowered shirt, throw a couple of egg salad sammitches in a wicker basket, and head on over there for the grand opening at 11:00am on Saturday.*

All images courtesy of Woodhouse Tinucci Architects


Award-Winning Architecture Firm Woodhouse Tinucci Architects Leads Transformation of Highland Park’s Rosewood Beach
Highland Park’s Rosewood Beach will be reborn this summer as an educational and recreational oasis after an extensive shoreline restoration project and beach infrastructure plan led by Chicago-based Woodhouse Tinucci Architects.

Woodhouse Tinucci Architects was selected to design and oversee the beach infrastructure improvement initiatives after participating in a design competition hosted by the Park District of Highland Park. Woodhouse Tinucci Architects worked alongside the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Park District to develop a plan that took into consideration programmatic needs and environmental stewardship initiatives.

“We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to develop a plan that fosters the exploration and enjoyment of this unique lakefront environment,” said Andy Tinucci, Principal at Woodhouse Tinucci Architects. “We have a strong commitment to creating public spaces that will serve the community for generations.”

To realize their vision for revitalizing the 17-acre Rosewood Beach and surrounding parkland, Woodhouse Tinucci Architects integrated four unique buildings into a beachfront experience. The beachfront is anchored by a 1,500 foot-long boardwalk that leads visitors along the beach, connecting them to the buildings, beach and upper Rosewood Park, perched atop the bluff. This design solution ensured all functions were served without removing any of the valuable beach area between the lake and bluff. The interpretive center, lifeguard station, concessions and restrooms were designed as compact, independent, wood and stone structures that appear to rise out of the boardwalk with a minimalistic design and materials that are natural, simple and sustainable.

“We rejected the conventional idea that all functions of Rosewood Beach needed to be served in one building,” said Andy Tinucci. “Instead, we created a series of smaller low-profile buildings that were pulled back to the line of the bluff so that all views up and down the beach and from the park above are fully preserved 20 miles to the south and 40 miles to the north. This creates a landscape in which the built environment is absorbed into the dynamic natural environment instead of competing with it.”

The shoreline and ecosystem plan called for new low-profile stone breakwaters, extending 200 feet into Lake Michigan. These barriers provide erosion protection to support dune structures and native plantings while creating three separate beach coves that will expand recreational and interpretive opportunities and enable the Park District to simultaneously offer a variety of programming options.

“The restoration of Rosewood Beach and surrounding park area is a lasting legacy of Highland Park’s commitment to environmental stewardship, conservation, recreation and education,” said Liza McElroy, executive director of the Park District of Highland Park. “The project serves as a role model for ecological best practices and showcases how a collected vision can be transformed into a shared reality.”

*Unless you’re a Highland Park resident, we recommend you take some form of mass transportation to get there because non-residents get slapped with a neighborly $20 parking fee.

Location: 883 Sheridan Road,  Highland Park

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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