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Field Center: A River of Crystal Light

Oak Park, IL | 2024 | Field Center Competition Entry
Night renderings of Field Center from across Berkshire Street showing the "river of crystal light"

Project Information

Eugene Field’s evocative words inspire our entry to Oak Park’s Field Center Competition. Our proposal creates a new building within Oak Park’s historical context. Like poetry, the building alters the context’s syntax, creating a unique structure that fits into the community and welcomes all.

Oak Park’s contextual histories create our strategy for form-making. The existing landscape is altered, creating gentle waves nestling Wynken, Blyken, and Nod’s trundle bed within and recalling pre-Columbian mounding.

Field Center Main Entry
Main entry – “Along the River”

Prairie Style’s horizontal lines and overhangs become mass, creating the children’s wooden shoe sailing on the river of crystal light produced by a window reveal between floor levels. Window groupings recall the Prairie style and later interpretations by Weese and Kirsch, altered to create rhythm present in poetry. The children’s trundle bed becomes the base hidden away in the waves – with the overall mass of the building then shaped by the surrounding mature trees.

Field Center during the day from across Berkshire
View from across Berkshire, showing fit within context.

Field Park shapes our proposal, reducing the amount of site modification and tree-cutting required – allowing shading in the summer, connectivity to nature, and a Living Building Challenge-designed building that meanders through the site like three children sailing on a river of crystal light.

Conceptual Diagrams showing mounding, trundling, and wandering
Conceptual Diagrams
Field Center Entry Lobby
Entry lobby – “Stars along the river”
Field Center Sectional Perspective
Sectional Perspective – Lobby and Classroom
Classroom rendering during performance
Classroom during performance


Field Center and Park Site Plan
Field Center and Park Site Plan
Ground Level Floor Plan
Ground Level Floor Plan and Adjacent Site
Classroom Level Floor Plan
Classroom Level Floor Plan
Lobby Sectional Perspective
Sectional Perspective – Lobby
Classroom Sectional Perspective
Sectional Perspective – Classroom
Elevation renderings of Field Center
Elevation renderings


View from within Field Park
Front Perspective
Lobby Stairs