Project Spotlights

Coliseum of Champions Sculpture Garden

Coliseum of Champions Sculpture Garden
Coliseum of Champions Sculpture Garden

Project Details:

  • Sculpture Garden Design for the Coliseum of Champions’ Main Entry
  • Part of Illinois’ Art-in-Architecture Program
  • In Partnership with Sculptor David Seagraves

Austin Engineer’s Role

  • Site Drainage and Permeable Pavement Design
  • Landscape Architectural Design
  • Sculpture Garden Planting Design

Project Overview:

Every year, as a part of Illinois’ Art-in-Architecture program, a portion of State funds is awarded to ongoing public construction or renovation for the “promotion and preservation of the arts.” To this end, projects part of the Art-in-Architecture program use state-provided funds for the commission, design and construction of suitable works of art to adorn public buildings. And in 2020, Austin Engineering partnered with Sculptor David Seagraves to create the winning design for the Coliseum of Champions’ new sculpture garden, part of Illinois’ Art-in-Architecture initiative.

After being closed in 2016, the 120-year-old Coliseum of Champions was deemed unfit for occupancy. Plans were immediately implemented to renovate this 60,000-square-foot building, with the goal of reopening within the next three years. And as a part of renovation efforts, a call for a central art piece and garden for the building’s entrance was requested from local artists, architects, and sculptors in the area. Austin Engineering, in partnership with area Sculptor David Seagraves, submitted the winning design and was given the opportunity to implement it into The Coliseum of Champions’ renovations.

Project Highlights:

  • The garden’s focal point features a bronze, free-standing sculpture designed by expert Sculptor David Seagraves. David developed the sculpture concept and sculpted its bronze medallion and upper details.
  • Sean Rennau was the lead landscape architect and civil engineer for this project, designing the entirety of the plaza and assisting with the lower portion of the sculpture design. Sean designed and detailed the lower portion of the sculpture to entail fabric and light metal framing to help soften the sculpture and add another level of detail and interest to the piece. The colorful fabrics will move a little in the wind, and various colors and graphics could be changed out depending on the season and events.
  • The hope is that the space will act as a memory-creating opportunity for those who compete in events in the coliseum to take selfies and group photos, with the sculpture and garden serving as the perfect backdrop. This sentiment is also passed on to the general public, who visit the space annually.
  • In addition to the sculpture, the garden features walking and seating areas, with landscape plantings native to Illinois.
  • The Coliseum of Champions is reopened, with final renovations (including the sculpture garden) to be completed in late summer 2024.