The Frederick Law Olmsted Design Competition in Riverside Illinois

The historic Village of Riverside Illinois invites qualified landscape architects, landscape designers, architects and artists to explore designs that embody the values of Fredrick Law Olmsted. We seek to create an attractive and eye-catching main entrance to the Village and its Central Business District. The entrance should include signage and landscaping appropriate for Olmsted’s most significant landscaped community in America.

Designed in 1868 by Frederick Law Olmsted, the Father of Landscape Architecture, the Village of Riverside was one of the first planned communities in the nation. Riverside is a National Historic Landmark with worldwide recognition of its signature landscape. With its expansive green parkways, curvilinear streets, and landscape that harmonizes with nature, Riverside‘s planning ideals have been emulated in cities and towns around the world.

In his design for Riverside, Olmsted emphasized a reverence for nature wherein manmade structures were sublimated. Roads were curved to suggest the lines of the nearby Des Plaines River, and to offer pleasing and changing views to the traveler. Houses were set back from the street, and trees were planted on the parkways to further subordinate views of the built environment. Native plantings and generous public green areas were included to further the sense community with nature. In his Preliminary Report for Riverside, Olmsted used such phrases as: “Gracefully curved lines,” “Charm of refined sylvan beauty,” “Pleasant openings and outlooks,” and “Quiet out-of-door recreation.”

Design Scope
The entrance sign and landscape at the intersection of First Ave. and Forest Ave. in Riverside Illinois.
Project must include lighted signage, removal of all invasive species from site, landscaping appropriate for this historic village, and all safety considerations for this very busy intersection next to a school.

Rules and parameters of competition
Use the history and values of Frederick Law Olmsted to guide your design process.
Use the ‘Guide to Landscaping in a Historic Village’ to gauge the current mindset of the residents but do not let it restrict you in the design process.
You must obey all current ordinances for the sign.
Lighting for the sign is required.

All site documents are available electronically at 

Judging Process:
FRED Steering committee reviews all submissions and narrows down to top eight for judging.
Riverside Village Commissions will vet the designs, narrowing down to five final designs.


$1,000 First Prize
A plaque with the winners name and company

Find out more at the official competition website.



2023 WLA Professional Awards registrations close on Friday, March 17, 2023, at 11:59pm London, UK.
About Damian Holmes 5671 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at