The Architectural Drawings of Jens Jensen

Jens Jensen was one of America's most visionary prairie school landscape architects. Jensen's art was based on an intense knowledge of midwestern plantlife and ecosystems. Characteristics of his work include utilization of horizontal lines in landforms and stonework, the natural branching habits of plants, and the restoration and conservation of native plant materials. He completed projects for Parks and preserves, schools, residential areas, estates, hospitals, office complexes, and government centers.

The collection is comprised of approximately two thousand landscape architectural drawings (largely original with a scattering of prints) representing Jensen's work from ca. 1903 until retirement in 1934. Work consists mainly of drawings in black ink or graphite on linen and tracing paper, with occasional sketches rendered in colored pencil. Of particular significance are drawings for Chicago parks; estate work executed for Edsel Ford in Michigan and Maine; the "ideal section" of the Lincoln Highway; and the Avery Coonly and Henry Babson estates in Riverside, Illinois -- collaborations with Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan respectively. A few of the drawings have been scanned and are available through the Bentley Historical Library's Online Image Bank. A reference number is provided with the information on a specific drawing. All materials are available for study at the library.

Images above (left to right):
Preliminary sketch. Gardens for J. Farson, esq.; Oak Park, Ill. (bl002195)
Rock work for the wading pool at Columbus Park; Chicago, Illinois (bl002170)
A general plan for the grounds of the Henry Ford Hospital. (bl002207)