Movement and Meaning: The Landscapes of Hoerr Schaudt highlights the depth of work created by landscape architects Doug Hoerr, FASLA, and the late Peter Schaudt, FASLA. From private gardens to lush civic spaces, this coffee table book chronicles major works by the Chicago-based studio, from inception to final installation.
The book, written with Douglas Brenner, begins with Hoerr’s first residential project, a garden in Lake Forest, Illinois, a suburb north of Chicago.
And then moves to bustling plazas and civic spaces, like the Michigan Avenue streetscape in Chicago, recipient of the 2016 ASLA Landmark Award, which is given to projects of longevity that have maintained their design integrity and contributed to the public realm.
In 1991, then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley tapped Hoerr and Gordon Segal, founder of Crate & Barrel, to redesign the landscape of Michigan Avenue, a hotspot for tourism amid Chicago’s towering skyline. Hoerr’s goal was to “make the horticulture so bold that it looked ready to jump out of the planters and compete with any skyscraper.”
Schaudt also renovated Daley Plaza, a much-loved iconic square in Chicago. Designed by Jacques Brownson in 1965, Schaudt called the Modernist space “‘the Italian piazza of Chicago.'”
Schaudt sought to “replace the thin stone pavers with more durable lookalikes, double the tree court without changing the number or location of planters, and leave the plaza’s landmark character intact.”
A charming moment is documented in the book: “After Daley Plaza reopened, a Chicago architect confided, ‘This looks great, Peter, but I can’t figure out what you did.’ Schaudt took the comment as the highest compliment to his craft.”
It’s these bits of personal context that make Movement and Meaning compelling.
The book offers insight into design challenges and decisions, explaining the unique circumstances under which each project came to be.
Take the Greater Des Monies Botanical Garden. Brenner explains that since its heyday in 1979, the site around the garden fell into disrepair. Visitors struggled to find comfort in the landscape surrounded by an interstate and a double-lane parkway. After joining a design committee in 2004, Hoerr concluded the design should be based on water and sought to bring the river to the botanical dome.
In the Dwarf Conifer Garden, another Midwest plant-focused space, the studio increased accessibility and conducted a “plant-by-plant assessment of the two-decade-old garden.”
The sheer variety of images, drawings, and photography make this book an absorbing overview of Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects’ work.