|Born||May 26, 1903
St. Louis, Missouri
|Projects||Eagle Point Park, Dubuque, Iowa|
- Attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, left before completing a degree.
- 1926-1931 Worked for landscape architect Jens Jensen (landscape architect).
- 1931-1933 private practice.
- 1933-1936 Superintendent of Parks, Dubuque, Iowa.
- 1936-1939 landscape designer, Chicago Park District.
- 1944-1959 Hired by Mies van der Rohe to teach landscape architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) College of Architecture. Caldwell resigned in 1959 in relation to dispute with the college administration.
- 1965 taught at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
- 1965-1973 taught at University of Southern California.
- 1980 awarded the Distinguished Educator Award from the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
- 1981 returned to teaching at IIT.
Succeeded in his IIT teaching role by former student Paul Thomas.
- Eagle Point Park, Dubuque, Iowa.
- Promontory Point, Burnham Park, Chicago, Illinois.
- Riis Park, Chicago.
- Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool at Lincoln Park. Restored from 1998-2002 by the Lincoln Park Conservancy and Chicago Park District, designated as a Chicago Landmark.
- Campus Landscaping, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. Major portions destroyed.
- Lafayette Park, Detroit, together with his IIT colleagues Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Ludwig Hilberseimer.
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
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.
- Art Institute of Chicago: Alfred Caldwell oral interview
- Promontory Point Park and Promontory Annex in Burnham Park
- Alfred Caldwell collection at the Canadian Centre for Architecture
- 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