Ravinia Festival Association


Ravinia Festival Site Improvements

Highland Park, Illinois

34 acres, 14 hectares

Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Master Planning, Urban Planning and Design


Ravinia, the oldest outdoor music venue in North America, approached SmithGroupJJR to prepare a Master Landscape Plan. The resulting design work solved major flooding and pedestrian access problems while enhancing Ravinia's aesthetic character and sustainability.

To address frequent flooding in the south parking lot, SmithGroupJJR provided a green design solution using flow-through pavers and an underground detention vault. This increased permeable area on site from 38% to 81%, and its success spurred similar renovations for the north lot.

An at-grade commuter rail crossing between the west parking lot and entrance had caused long waits and safety concerns for 35 years. The design team made Ravinia's dream of a pedestrian underpass a reality in a remarkable 20 months from start to completion. The team modeled pedestrian flows and came up with an optimum solution for moving 8,000 people to the entrance – while also extending the artistic quality of the Ravinia experience to the venue's edges.

Related Content

Ravinia LAF Performance Series Case Study
See Ravinia's performance metrics and benefits on Landscape Architecture Foundation site.