With popular demand, I have taken my College paper on Highland Park architecture, please enjoy.
"What defines a neighborhood? A neighborhood has no exact boundaries to tell a person that one place is different from another. So how does one know where they are? Simply put it is the experience. That experience is a collective of the people, lifestyle, environment, and what people do in that particular place that makes it a neighborhood.
Highland park in it self is part of a larger part of Illinois and it is called the North Shore. The North Shore is several cities north of Chicago and lie on the northern shore of Lake Michigan. But Highland Park should not be categorized in the homogenous image of large houses, with money, and a place of fancy. Yes the neighborhood instills all of that but it stands out on how it’s presented. Lake Forest, Glencoe, and all the other North Shore cities have, how would you say, an old money feel. Historical as they all feel, Highland Park shows that a city can be vibrant and modern. Because of it electrifying modern architecture it stands out of the crowd of old time buildings. Yet with the modernity comes with a warm feeling from the people, places, and the way of life that truly separates this neighborhood form others around it.
Highland Park has been awarded twenty seven times Tree City, USA. The city also has 600 acres of park district. The city itself is connected to the environment. Not only has the city put effort to make sure that the land is kept but also that the buildings in the city reminds people that they live in the natural environment.
The Highland Park library is iconic to the city. It represents the city’s vast knowledge and intellect. The first library opened in April 6,1888. Holmes and Flinn built the current library, and they used limestone from the local area. The addition to the gothic part of the building was constructed in 1976 by the firm of Wendt, Cedarholm, and Tippens. The gothic design does not look environmental but inside you can discover that it has been worked to make sure the patrons feel the environment around them. The old building has a old feel yet has modern facilities. The lobby entrance has been fitted with slate floors. The media and periodical sections housed in the old building feel open and airy because of the use of glass partitions instead of brick or sheetrock walls. The historical significances are not hidden by the modern changes but are actually enhanced. Because of the glass walls the wood beams and molds, and tone fireplaces can be seen no matter the lighting conditions. The library has the modern addition. While the gothic building made sure the interior was environmental the modern building made sure that the outside environment went in. The interior has a large feeling because there are no stationary walls and uses universal space. Instead the walls can be placed in according to the use of the library. The most environmental features the modern building has are its floor to ceiling vertical windows. Other than the concrete pillars, the building walls make an effort to bring the outside in. The modern building also decreases the entire footprint of the library by incorporating the parking area underneath it. In addition to parking it also has a brook and a small garden with a circular fountain. The library blends books, quiet workspace, and environment to remind people that they live in a green city.
Some major cities have airports. Chicago has one of the world’s busiest airports in the world. It is also one of the most elegant designed by Helmut Jahn. But Highland Park does not have the largest of area to commission and airport on its land. So it has the next best thing, the train. Little is known of the architecture of the train station but it has prairie school influences in its design. It has horizontal lines that Wright would use in his designs. Its building materials are rock and the ceiling is lined with wood. The only thing to disrupt the long lines and designs is the clock tower. The design was purposefully made for its commuters. It has a long “wingspan” to make sure that there is a roof over commuters while waiting outside for their train. Also being one of Highland Park’s main ports of entry it was designed to make a welcoming impression as the building looks like a pair of wide-open arms to give you a hug.
Chicago has a great deal of parks. Highland Park could relate with its vast number of parks. Moraine Park is a park that is on the great Sheridan road. A million years ago this park would have been covered by ice. The giant glacier would carve out the ravine that is in the middle of the park. Today it has collection of art pieces from local artists. There is no particular design to its landscape; it’s more of a nature park. There are a dense number of oak trees that line the small hills of the park. Go down the stone staircase and people would encounter a bridge. The bridge connects one side to another over the ravine. Below you will see a running stream and the remains of the old bridge that dates back to the old Moraine Hotel. Across the bridge is another stone staircase that follows the stream down to the lake. The beach is not only for people but also for our furry friends. The park creates a better environment with people, nature, and our dogs.
Highland Park has new buildings coming that are more environmentally friendly. The green townhouses near the Fort Sheridan train station. They cost less than $300,000 and are made for new families. Not only do these buildings increase affordable properties but it also makes being green more mainstream. Highland Park has incorporated the environment to the current buildings and the future buildings will mirror the town homes in being more green by being even more environmentally friendly.