Alfred Caldwell

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Alfred Caldwell
Born May 26, 1903
St. Louis, Missouri
Died 1998
Bristol, Wisconsin
Nationality American
Occupation Architect

Lily Pool, Chicago, Illinois

Eagle Point Park, Dubuque, Iowa

Alfred Caldwell (May 26, 1903 – 1998) was an American architect best known for his landscape architecture in and around Chicago, Illinois.


Succeeded in his IIT teaching role by former student Paul Thomas.

Major works[edit]

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool is a National Historic Landmark listing restored and maintained by the Chicago Park District and Lincoln Park Conservancy.

Caldwell, like his mentor Jens Jensen, promoted a natural style of landscape design. The intent was to manufacture a native landscape that copied natural ecosystems. A complete natural ecosystem requires little maintenance other than removal of non-native invasive species. Due to the subtleness of his planting designs and the live nature of landscape materials, many of Caldwell’s projects have fallen into disrepair as the result of improper maintenance and modifications; the Lily Pool, however, is regularly maintained by the Lincoln Park Conservancy and Chicago Park District.

Caldwell’s buildings are frequently mistaken for the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Both architects created Prairie School designs in and around Chicago at roughly the same period of time. Caldwell stressed the importance of orientation for passive solar design, as well as integration into the landscape.

Caldwell’s own house[edit]

In the 1940s, Caldwell began construction of his own house near Bristol, Wisconsin, along with planting nearly 30 acres (120,000 m2) of eastern hardwood forest. It was intended to be a working hobby farm. An apple orchard was planted, but farm buildings were never completed. As work progressed the house featured a low cost construction materials technique: stone for the stone walls was donated by neighboring farmers, labor was provided by teaching students how to build a stone wall.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Dennis Domer: Alfred Caldwell: The Life and Work of a Prairie School Landscape Architect. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Virginia, 1997, ISBN 0-8018-5551-9
  • Werner Blaser: Architecture and Nature: The Work of Alfred Caldwell. Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, 1994