James Stone Freedom Square

Public Plaza & Festival Grounds

2023 — Built

Creative Placemaking; Landscape Design

James Stone Freedom Square is a new public plaza in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. It also serves as the dedicated outdoor venue and festival grounds for the Chicago Sukkah Design Festival, an annual public art and architecture exhibition of outdoor pavilions that celebrates cultural heritage and interfaith/interracial solidarity. During the Sukkah Design Festival, the landscape of James Stone Freedom Square is activated with cross-cultural public programming, bringing together intersectional pairings of neighborhood groups. While the sukkah pavilions are moved from this plaza and re-installed in the permanent homes of participating community partner organizations after each annual Sukkah Design Festival, James Stone Freedom Square features permanent site amenities, including an accessible pathway, signage and branding components, and outdoor seating that contribute to an ongoing creative placemaking effort to expand the neighborhood’s outdoor public program spaces. James Stone Freedom Square is also the central hub of Stone Temple Baptist Church’s extended neighborhood campus. In partnership with Lawndale Pop-Up Spot, a community museum in a shipping container located adjacent to James Stone Freedom Square, the church activates the plaza with year-round community programming, including a healthy food distribution program, a farmers’ market, movies in the park, and kite-flying festival.

For more information and images of the 2023 contributing sukkah designs, visit the Chicago Sukkah Design Festival website.

Design Team: Joseph Altshuler, Zack Morrison, Nekita Thomas
Turf Painting: Outpost Office
Textile Installation: Norman Teague Design Studios
Fabrication: Stolatis Fabrication
Community Partner: Stone Temple Baptist Church
Photography: Brian Griffin; Norvell Tolbert