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These Chicago projects won awards for eco-sensitive design

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Studio Gang’s newest boat house took top prize

Courtesy of Studio Gang

On Tuesday evening, Friends of the Chicago River doled out awards to a handful of Chicago projects with designs that were particularly mindful of their water impact.

The 2018 Chicago River Blue Awards recognize the work of developers, architects and municipalities for projects that are sensitive to the Chicago River watershed. Studio Gang’s Eleanor Street Boathouse in Bridgeport took home the organization’s top prize.

Other winning projects include Argyle’s shared street, Canal Shores Golf Course’s ecological restoration master plan, River Point park, the Eugene Field Park riffle and Metropolitan Taproom and Brewery.

The Big Fish Ball, where the awards are announced, began in 2006. This year the event raised $280,000 to benefit Friends of the Chicago River’s goals to improve the river system.

Eleanor Street Boathouse

Blue Ribbon Award

This boathouse, designed to bring the community closer to the river, is located on the South Side in Bridgeport’s Park 571. Architect Jeanne Gang said in a statement, that she hopes that this sustainable project will create a destination for recreation that aids in creating a sense of ownership among residents. One organization housed within the center is Recovery on Water—a support group and rowing team for those dealing with breast cancer.

Argyle’s shared street project

Silver Ribbon Award

A shared street is a type of urban design that eliminates a curb—instead the street is raised which allows for a more versatile use of the space. The Argyle project is Chicago’s first shared street. Without any curbs, the designers had to figure out another way to manage water runoff. Numerous infiltration planters, trees and landscaping soak up the rainwater while providing greenery and some shade.

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Canal Shores’ ecological restoration master plan

Silver Ribbon Award

The 82-acre Canal Shores Golf Course provides a place for recreation as well as an important habitat for birds and other wildlife. The non-profit Evanstan Wilmette Golf Course Association has recognized this and designed an ecological restoration master plan for the area.

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River Point

Green Ribbon Award

150 N. Riverside is one of Chicago’s newest skyline additions. It’s innovative design created a riverwalk and 1.5-acre public park landscaped with trees and native plants. In addition, the building works to enhance the quality of rainwater entering the river and ensures the water released won’t cause overflow.

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Eugene Field Park riffle

Green Ribbon Award

This project involved creating a riffle in the park’s river with two large boulders and smaller stones. The habitat, which mimics rapids, provides a home for fish and other organisms as well as adds oxygen to the water.

Metropolitan Taproom and Brewery

Green Ribbon Award

On the North Branch of the river in Avondale, Metropolitan Tap Room and Brewery opened up in a former tannery last year. The design capitalizes on the riverfront location and allows guests to overlook the river.