- The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) signed a partnering charter yesterday to call on landscape architects to help make Federal buildings more hospitable to patrons and their communities.
"We are designing new Federal buildings of landmark quality and revamping our older buildings to make them more productive and inviting," said Robert A. Peck, Commissioner, GSA Public Buildings Service, who signed the document for GSA. "By making better use of the skills of landscape architects, we can make Federal entryways and plazas more lively and attractive, help us achieve our goals in energy and environmental sustainability and enhance our efforts to be good neighbors in cities and towns across America."
The document acknowledges that GSA and ASLA recognize that Federal buildings have a significant impact on communities, and that the two organizations must work together to ensure the impact is positive.
"The interaction between buildings and the community should be friendly, especially with government facilities, so we're working on this issue with GSA," said Len Hopper, ASLA president. "It is possible to address security concerns through creative site designs without making Federal buildings inaccessible. To do this, landscape architecture must be integrated into the planning process from the start. The site protections landscape architecture provides, as well as the sense of approachability good design conveys, fit an image of accessibility and openness to the American people."
Specific partnership objectives include educating ASLA members about GSA's Design Excellence and Good Neighbors programs, considering a GSA membership program in ASLA and promoting sustainable development in designs and project administration.
"Creating good communities is no longer seen as just the business of local government, planning, or real estate professionals," Peck said. "Instead, many organizations are contributing to downtown revitalization all over the country. The ACLA joins the Congress for new Urbanism and the National Trust for Historic Preservations in GSA's growing list of partnerships with national professional organizations dedicated to helping communities."
As the nation's largest public real estate organization, GSA provides offices, supplies, technologies and other solutions to more than one million federal workers in at least 1,600 U.S. communities. ASLA which celebrated its centennial in 1999, represents more than 13,000 members working in land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation and rehabilitation Full text of the agreement is available on ASLA's website,