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Stoss Landscape Urbanism

Boston, United States


STOSS is an innovative design practice driven by a mission to make positive change in cities, across the planet, and in people’s daily lives with landscape as the tool. STOSS designs landscapes and social spaces that foster resiliency, vitality, social equity, and environmental health. Since its founding in 2001, the studio has worked on complicated sites from flooding waterfronts and neglected brownfields to underserved neighborhoods and sites of cultural significance – museums, institutions, campuses, and design exhibitions and festivals. Whether designing a complex coastal resiliency plan, public park, or temporary installation, the studio grounds design in research, and seeks to transform people’s experiences with new applications for technologies, infrastructure and ecology. Through deep research and robust public engagement about the historical context and culture of each site, STOSS creates public spaces that resonate uniquely with their public and their place, encouraging new use and attentive care. As a practice, STOSS asks questions about who and what design is for: imagining new possibilities, creating value, and providing beauty in everyday moments. The firm’s efforts have garnered numerous awards from both peers and the public including the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award, the Topos International Landscape Award, and two Progressive Architecture Awards.


James R. Thompson Center


100 W Randolph St., Chicago, IL, 60601


The Loop


The Chicago Architecture Biennial is pleased to announce the participation of the James R. Thompson Center as a Cultural Partner and City Site for the fifth edition of the citywide exhibition, CAB 5: This Is A Rehearsal. CAB 5’s artistic team is led by the Chicago-based artist collective, Floating Museum. Hailed as one of Chicago’s postmodern architectural marvels, the Helmut Jahn-designed building will open to the public from September 21, 2023–through the end of the year and will host five exhibitions and site-specific installations made possible by Prime, Capri, and Google.

CAB 5 Contribution

Project Overview

TREE CYCLES: Re-inaugurating Dynamics of Growth and Decay in the Woodland City

TREE CYCLES investigates the roles of trees in Chicago through  positioning growth, felling, fabrication, decay, and decomposition  as a set of active (and normal) urban and ecological processes in a  reconceptualized productive cityscape. We ask: How might we  engage the public with demonstrations of urban forestry initiatives  and dialogues around the environmental and social benefits of  nurturing woodland nurseries while giving space to the rejuvenating  effects of decay and decomposition? Through a first rehearsal  installation along the south edge of Butler Field and a concurrent  installation at the Chicago Cultural Center, we hope to initiate a  series of performances that could transform vacant lots throughout  the city with ritual and ecological care while simultaneously  demonstrating the social and environmental benefits of fuller and  extended urban forestry cycles. 

TREE CYCLES is made up of three primary components, with the  Woodland Circle and the ability of the installation to be replicated  and distributed throughout other areas of the city. The Woodland  Circle is a new growth circular forest installation occupying the south entry lawn of Butler Field, a living counterpoint to the Serra sculpture  at the north entry lawn. The TREE CYCLES installation activates  an underutilized space beneath the adjacent southern tree allée and  brings to life the full cycle of felling, decay, repurposing, and  decomposition with rough logs harvested from the city, nurse logs  generating new growth and nutrients, and fabricated log seating  elements that acknowledge the human dimension and application of  raw materials. The Chicago Cultural Center installation visualizes the  full cycles of growth and decay over time lapse and marries the  immediacy and materiality of a living nurse log with databases for  tracking and caring for the urban forest at large.

The City is the Site