Finalists Announced for Field Center Renovation

Oak Park, IL (May 21, 2024)—The Park District of Oak Park has announced the finalists in its design competition to renovate or replace the Field Center.

After a robust public viewing session with an opportunity for community members to provide feedback for consideration, the panel of eight jurors convened and selected the finalists based on their conceptual design. The finalists are:

“The range of design concepts we received was remarkable,” said Jan Arnold, Executive Director of the Park District of Oak Park. “I look forward to what these three teams can bring to us for the next round of consideration. Oak Park is a unique community and the winning design must rise to the challenge of meeting the evolving needs of our community.”

Finalists received comments, insights and suggestions for consideration from the jury. They will each be given a small stipend to further develop the design, including structural concept, windows and exterior finishes. The finalized plan must also include a budget estimate.

Each finalist will present their design plan to a new jury, which will include three members of Park District leadership, a Board Commissioner and three members of the previous jury. The winning team will be announced on June 28 and awarded a $1.8 million contract to complete the construction.

Patrick Brown of ORG Inc. set forth a vision that he calls “generously sustainable,” meaning it isn’t just about the materials used in the building process, but about the overall impact. “Being green and using ecologically sustainable materials is important, but there’s more we need to consider. We’re designing a public building for the community,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to ask how we’re championing sustainable communities; how are we being supportive, welcoming and inclusive in our facilities as Oak Park clearly strives to be.”

Finalist Kenneth Dahlin leaned on his experience as a scholar and practicing professional in
organic architecture. “I was intrigued by the intersection of elements that this competition brought together—the city of Oak Park and its rich organic tradition; a revisiting of a 100-year old competition actually entered by Frank Lloyd Wright and John Van Bergen; the opportunity to express a deep tradition of Oak Park in a new way yet respecting the spirit and beauty of that movement; the opportunity to express the vitality of the organic idea in architecture for our age.” Dahlin’s concept retains the 100-year-old fireplace, letting it serve as the centerline and “trunk” of his design.

Finalist Gregory Klosowski entered the competition because the project is close to home – literally. “I moved to Oak Park in 2011, and my family used to play on the current site. I feel intimately connected with the area and its needs.” His design concept is a modern interpretation of prairie-style architecture with a butterfly roof, allowing more light into the building and supporting a green roof. “We call the new building a flutterby sanctuary – it’s named after what my children used to call butterflies. Here, the flutterbies are the children.”

Submissions can be seen on the Park District’s website.

The competition is a callback to the Field Center’s original construction: It was developed after a design competition for a “Playground Structure” in 1926, won by John Van Bergen. Van Bergen’s designs were also built at the Park District’s Fox, Stevenson, Andersen and Carroll parks.

For further information, visit or contact Edith Wood at


The Park District of Oak Park serves the recreation needs of Oak Park’s 52,000 residents, providing nearly 8,000 programs and special events annually throughout our versatile recreation centers, 18 parks totaling 84 acres, a community recreation center, two outdoor pools, indoor ice rink, gymnastic center, the Oak Park Conservatory, Cheney Mansion and Pleasant Home. Since 1912, our high-quality programs and well-maintained parks and facilities have dependably met residents’ diverse leisure, wellness, childcare and other needs and helped enhance quality of life. Learn more at

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