Hoerr Schaudt is a team of landscape architects, urban planners, and horticulturists who craft innovative outdoor spaces that delight on every scale, from city streets to vast public parks. Our hands-on approach to design and attention to detail help our civic clients discover the unseen potential of their site.
Beautiful and sustainable public spaces are signals of health and vitality. Our team brings a unique perspective to urban design and the importance of horticulture in the civic realm. We work with cities, towns, and villages to create streetscapes, urban plazas, green roofs and other public spaces that attract financial commitment from business owners and the lasting appreciation of a city’s residents.
Our ability to successfully implement our innovative approaches to the design of urban environments has been recognized with numerous state and national design awards including five National American Society of Landscape Architects Awards and 15 Illinois ASLA Awards.
The Hoerr Schaudt team combines dimensional thinkers with innovative horticultural experts to produce streetscape and public works designs that are delightful at first glance and grow richer, season after season. Each of our designs evolves from nature itself, the surrounding city and architecture, and the people who will enjoy the space each day.
The Gary Comer Youth Center is located in a neighbourhood challenged by significant poverty and its attendants: reduced access to fresh foods, poor health, crime and substandard housing. Gary Comer, benefactor of the project and former resident of the neighbourhood, desired to create a safe, welcoming learning environment for the neighbourhood’s children. An integral part of the building is an 8,160 square foot green roof, designed as a vegetable and flower garden. The green roof is unusual. Not only does it reduce climate-control costs, it is also an outdoor classroom for the neighbourhood’s many children who have little access to safe outdoor activity. Creating a green roof able to withstand enthusiastic children digging for potatoes and carrots with garden tools required careful design. Soils 18-24 inches deep allow for viable food production, including cabbage, sunflower, lettuce, and strawberries. The garden maximizes two heat sources — ambient heat from the building and solar energy. Sharp differences between ground temperatures and those on the roof mean that the rooftop is in a different climate zone and can be utilized nearly all year long.
Photography credits Scott Shigley
With extreme winds and temperatures, Oklahoma City’s harsh climate makes it difficult to create inviting public spaces. However, SandRidge Energy Commons had set out to do just that, desiring a new headquarters property that would develop community spaces at varying scales, while also mitigating the strong seasonal winds and representing the regional landscape. Taking on this challenge, the landscape architecture team extensively researched how to elevate standards of sustainability and resilience. They landed on urban shelterbelts, utilizing data on wind directions, wind tunnel testing, and microclimates. The protective design was also instilled in the planting palette, selecting plants that thrive in the harsh climate. With the shelterbelt breaking the wind and the pathways in place, the plaza at the base of Kerr-McGee Tower was primed for redevelopment. A tilted plane of turf bordered by native grasses, movable seating, and a striking wind and shade canopy were installed in the main gathering space. The result is an outdoor area that strengthens public life, and is one of the few spaces in Oklahoma City that is enjoyed all year as a public park. The reinvigoration of SandRidge Energy Commons represents an exciting step forward as Oklahoma City works hard to improve its downtown. Instead of a vertical corporate icon, the landscape design around SandRidge is a horizontal civic place that gives back to the public realm.
Photography Credit Scott Shigley & Tim Hursley
The overall design of River Oaks prioritizes streetscape design as an important element in place-making. Distinctive and welcoming landscape elements – including mature trees that give instant shade, beautiful plantings that celebrate the seasons, and quality materials and furnishings – identify River Oaks as a special place. Hoerr Schaudt developed 12 planting palettes for street plantings to create an ever-changing environment as visitors walk along the sidewalk. Inspiration for the planting design draws on the work by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. Plant types are massed together into large blocks to create interlocking geo-metric planes. Bold contrasts in color, a playful mix of plant textures and a variety in height create a garden-like experience. This simple, clean design supports the elegant and contemporary aesthetic of River Oaks.
Photography Credit Scott Shigley
When Hermann Park set out to create the McGovern Centennial Gardens for the park’s 100th anniversary, the Conservancy sought a rich horticultural experience within the park. The design team and the client decided Centennial Gardens would be a ‘pleasure garden’ in the tradition of great English pleasure gardens, which encourage strolling, relaxing, and overall enjoyment. The final vision centered upon the idea of interpreting America the Beautiful vis-à-vis intense horticultural experiences; the gardens incorporate Italianate, English, French, American, and Texan landscape principles to create six distinct zones organized around three central elements—the large, low-slung pavilion, the 350-foot-long Centennial Lawn, and the 30-foot-tall Mount. Visitors climb the Mount up a spiraling concrete path for a panoramic view of Houston, with a waterfall breaking up the ascent. Because its height is visible from afar, it truly acts as the focal point within Centennial Gardens, drawing visitors into the space. On both practical and visionary scales, the McGovern Centennial Gardens instill the value of beautiful landscaped parks into Houston’s built environment and its fluid, 21st century global culture. The site has become flush with people and event rentals are up. The project proves that the design of great, green public spaces is essential to a thriving city. Hermann Park’s originators understood this when they established the grounds, and it still rings true today, 100 years later.
Photography credits Scott Shigley & Tommy Orellana
Hoerr Schaudt, in collaboration with PLANT Architect, Inc., Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners and Adrian Blackwell, won the international competition for the Nathan Phillips Square Revitalisation in Toronto, Canada. Situated in front of City Hall, Nathan Phillips Square serves as Toronto’s premiere events landmark. Complete with a reflecting pool, peace garden, sculpture court, playground, permanent stage, and ice rink in the winter, the design revitalizes the square by creating a robust landscape that is both economically and ecologically sustainable. Formerly a sea of concrete, the landscape is now transformed into a rich, landscaped foreground to the city skyline. Bloom and foliage colours change with the season, and the prolific growth of the plantings envelop the intimate seating areas, with shifting foliage revealing the strength of the city’s urban wind. The intersection of landscape, built form, and modern heritage intersect at the Nathan Philips Square, providing a lush and colourful retreat for visitors of City Hall.
Photography credits Chris Evans