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Landscape architecture gets its rightful due in exhibit, book …

Landscape architecture is all too often viewed as a stepchild of architecture — a mere adornment rather than an integral part of the environment that shapes how we live.

Anyone who has been delighted by the colorful arrays of tulips popping out of the planters in the middle of Michigan Avenue — or who has sat beneath the ethereal canopy of hawthorns in the Art Institute of Chicago’s South Garden — knows how wrong that view is.

At its best, landscape architecture can create compelling places that soothe frazzled spirits and resonate with meaning.

That’s the message delivered by two new explorations of the field — a small but smart traveling show about the work of the late Dan Kiley, on view at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan Ave., through Aug. 25 and a handsome book that sheds fresh light on projects by Chicago landscape architects Douglas Hoerr and Peter Schaudt.