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The Illinois Council of The American Institute of Architects (AIA Illinois) has named Lockport Central Square as one of Illinois’ 200 Great Places, in honor of the State’s Bicentennial in 2018. The announcement was made as part of National Architecture Week, which showcases the innovative and talented architects who have made positive contributions to society and coincides with the birthday week of the nation’s first president-architect, Thomas Jefferson, on April 12.
Nominations came from architects from all parts of the state and were selected by AIA regional chapters. Nominations were weighed against criteria including the AIA’s “10 Principles of Livable Communities.” They must be publicly accessible, pedestrian-friendly, designed on a human scale, and provide vibrant, public spaces, among other requirements.
About Central Square: In 1836, Joseph Wampler, a surveyor for the Illinois & Michigan (I&M) Canal Commission, platted downtown Lockport at the same time that he laid out the Canal itself. Lockport was to be the headquarters for the Canal and was designed around it. Reflective of the I&M Canal’s period of operation, the buildings in the Lockport Historic District were built between 1836 and 1896 and range from frame to masonry construction. The Central Square Building was originally constructed as a public school, but the 1896 Romanesque-Revival building was successfully transformed into Lockport’s governmental complex.
AIA Illinois’ Illinois Great Places recognition program was created in 2007 to commemorate AIA’s 150th anniversary and was designed to broadly include the “built environment,” which includes civil, landscape and engineering places, as well as architecture. All of the AIA’s 200 Great Places are featured in a new website at illinoisgreatplaces.com and on a new Instagram account @ilgreatplaces.
Media Release issued Friday, May 4