2,700 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline, 825 meters of Lake Michigan shoreline
Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Master Planning
Award of Excellence -- General Design, Award of Merit -- Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement, Engineering Achievement Award -- Category B
campus planning, civil engineering, coastal engineering, constructed wetlands, ecological restoration, green design, green infrastructure, habitat restoration, landscape architecture, landscape for stormwater control, modeling, planning, public outreach, recreation, regenerative environment, restorative landscape, shoreline stabilization, stormwater management, sustainability, sustainable design, waterfront
Set on a 130-foot bluff above Lake Michigan, Concordia University Wisconsin faced a daunting problem: over 20,000 tons of campus land annually was eroding annually into the lake. By the time SmithGroupJJR was engaged to address the issue, the university had already lost over five acres of its campus.
SmithGroupJJR's innovative design stabilized and restored the bluff slope, replanting it with native vegetation. The project also established a more naturalistic shoreline below, with a new beach, a coastal reef habitat, and perched and coastal wetland areas. Accessible paths, trails and a scenic amphitheater complete the transformation.
Where once a near-vertical bluff prevented safe access, the project has reunited the campus and community with their lake. Undergraduate enrollment has increased four-fold since completion, and the university has been able to build a residence hall near the top of the bluff, along with a LEED-Platinum Center for Environmental Stewardship. Students, faculty and area residents now use the restored setting for recreation, reflection, worship, and ecological study and research.