Nachusa Grasslands Visitor Use Center

Winning a Merit Award in the Design – built category is Lardner/Klein Landscape Architects for the Nachusa Grasslands Visitor Use Center.

The reintroduction of bison to The Nature Conservancy’s Nachusa Grasslands in 2014 resulted in an increased number of visitors to the preserve in North Central Illinois. The nonprofit did not have the staff or resources to manage the influx of visitors and familiarize them with the site’s ecological landscapes and the roll of bison as a land management tool.

The landscape architect was asked to provide a sustainable, accessible and non-staffed visitor facility. Visitor accommodations included a large shelter, compost toilets, accessible paths and overlooks, a bus drop-off and parking, among other amenities.

The new facility showcases the site’s stewardship and ecological importance through public, accessible facilities that are environmentally respectful and sustainable.

The jury states that “The detailed approach was especially informative to the overall understanding of the site’s history and its proposed use. These concepts are carried wonderfully into the structure’s design features, and site design.”