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American Society of Landscape Architects

 

August 2008 Issue

2008 ASLA Awards

Edited by Paul Burkhardt

2008 ASLA Awards

Sure there was pride, and occasionally, prejudice. We’re human. But three long days together allow the voices of reason and good judgment to prevail. In the end you do feel proud of your colleagues and your profession. But you also depart with the hope for even better work in the coming years. How else would you describe both ends of the spectrum of this year’s professional awards jury experience? Proud and envious of the best work our discipline has to offer. Honored to serve with a roomful of great thinkers and designers as they collectively sorted their way through nearly 500 awards entries.And continuously impressed with the organizational excellence and directorial prowess of the ASLA staff.

A few initial impressions: This was the year that the aftermath of Katrina was manifested in remarkable contributions from the field of landscape architecture. A PBS television documentary garnered our highest praise in the Communications category. Two modest and grand Analysis and Planning proposals (the Viet Village Urban Farm and the New Orleans Riverfront: Reinventing the Crescent) were also recognized with awards. We certainly got the impression that landscape architects were central to responding professionally to one of this country’s greatest recent environmental and social crises.

Another first impression: International works and internationally based landscape architecture practices were well represented in the awards submissions. About two dozen countries had a presence in the various awards categories, in many cases featuring the work of landscape architects based in those countries. Haiti, Rwanda, Switzerland, Canada, Morocco, Lebanon, China, India, Russia, South Korea, Australia, Kenya, New Zealand, France, Ireland, England, Jordan, Singapore, Japan, Spain, Mexico, and United Arab Emirates were all represented—an impressive global cross section, though we were a little chagrined that much of Western and Central Europe seemed underrepresented, especially when you consider the high quality of contemporary practice in the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Scandinavia. Entries from Central and South America appeared to be missing in action as well, a surprising disappointment in light of recent and rather comprehensive coverage in Landscape Architecture. Nevertheless we were delighted to present an award to the remarkable restoration and redesign of Mexico City’s Fountain Promenade at Chapultepec Park.

The international work was encouraging in its diversity of not only project type and scope, but its sense of local or national distinctiveness. That is, a tendency seems to be emerging to not just borrow ideas from the leading-edge designers and universities, but to truly present design and planning work that emerges from and reflects the particular geographies of their place.

A little about the awards selection process: It is incredibly disciplined and democratic. Nine voices—some louder, some gentler—all have equal weight in the voting. Despite what always seems like an overwhelming number of entries, the jury is still able to give every project a fair review. And, as the process of narrowing the field involves multiple steps, projects that stand out (for a number of reasons—a singular powerful image, a challenging premise or idea, a truly innovative point of view or sensibility, a remarkable sense of restraint) get increasing levels of scrutiny as they make their way forward. Initially jury members—nationally and internationally recognized practitioners, educators, writers, and planners—attempt to work quietly and efficiently on their own to decide which submissions merit further review and which ones do not. The large stack of entries finally diminishes so that by the second and third rounds we have a more discrete set of projects to discuss and evaluate in greater depth. This manages to be both exhilarating and draining. Very fine works of design, planning, and communications emerge. Debate gets a little heated. We make final tallies. We revisit our choices to be sure of our selections. We debate things a bit more, expressing satisfaction with our final choices and rankings, mixed with emotional appeals to perhaps reconsider a project that had somehow slipped from our collective esteem.

In the final hours we reflect on the entries, the submission criteria, and the jury process. We agree that ASLA, once again, has done an excellent and thorough job of running this complex awards operation. They have made what could have been a confusing and cumbersome ordeal into a three-day session of reflection, thoughtful discourse, and celebration.

To summarize those three days in just a few paragraphs cannot do justice to the efforts of everyone involved. We know from our own experience how much work goes into each firm’s or individual’s awards submission. We know too often the dismay that is felt when you open those letters of rejection. But we also know the exhilaration of receiving those rare acknowledgments of a successful entry.

So what really determines an award winner? This might be answered more directly by addressing how NOT to win an award: (1) photographing the work poorly, unprofessionally, and noncomprehensively; (2) failing to recognize that often just a few powerful, stunning images can be enough to catch the attention of the jury; (3) failing to recognize that there has to be some substance, some depth of thought behind the project; (4) thinking that a well-executed, even beautifully detailed project that doesn’t really advance the profession should somehow still receive an award; (5) not comprehending or being aware that there are already works out there (research, planning, design, communications) that have addressed the issues or qualities of the project in more depth or with greater innovativeness; (6) not showing restraint; (7) writing too much and writing poorly; (8) overreliance on jargon; (9) overwhelming the project with trendy design moves; (10) drawing or rendering poorly or unimaginatively; (11) appearing to disregard sustainability; (12) embracing sustainability, but forgetting that a place must also lift your spirits and might be designed to be simultaneously sustainable and beautiful.

Take a closer look at this year’s award recipients. We believe they represent the best current thinking in the profession. They are national and international, urban and rural, large and small, ambitious and modest. Sustainability is at the heart of much of what we recognized, perhaps defined in different ways. Landscapes that help teach us something we did not know are also central to the awards. This may be in the form of planning or communication documents (here I’m reminded of the So What? video tracking paper use and recycling from one firm over time, or the Bird-Safe Building Guidelines booklet). In the General Design category this educational emphasis rose to inspirational levels of expression in such projects as the Lurie Garden in Chicago and the James Clarkson Environmental Discovery Center in Michigan.

Finally, a few notes about restraint. We expressed special appreciation for the nuanced designs of such projects as Lost Dog Wash Trailhead in Arizona; the new security measures designed for the Washington Monument grounds; Porchscapes: An Affordable LEED Neighborhood Development in Arkansas; the painterly naturalized Ketchum garden in Idaho (particularly poignant in relation to the more conventional suburban yards of the surrounding neighborhood); the clever simplicity of the Unfolding Terrace roof garden in Manhattan; the uncompromising honesty, fit, and modesty in the Beach House on Long Island; and the exquisite conciseness and elegant modernity of the Passage to the Lake in Maine.

Perhaps the ultimate testament to brilliant economy in design comes in this year’s selection for the Landmark Award: the Tanner Fountain at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is truly an iconic work: a place fashioned from minimal materials that encourages multiple interpretations, expressions, and uses. Water and rock. Landscape architecture doesn’t get much more essential than that.

—Warren T. Byrd Jr., FASLA
Chair
2008 ASLA Professional Awards Jury

 

The 2008 professional awards jury included Warren T. Byrd, FASLA, of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects in Charlottesville, Virginia, chair; Mary Ellen Cowan, ASLA, of MESA in Dallas; Robert A. Ivy, editor in chief of Architectural Record, New York; Niall Kirkwood, ASLA, of Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Steve Martino, FASLA, of Steve Martino/Cactus City Design in Phoenix; Elizabeth Miller, ASLA, of National Capital Planning Commission, Washington, D.C.; Dennis Pieprz, Affiliate ASLA, of Sasaki Associates in Watertown, Massachusetts; W. Gary Smith, ASLA, of W. Gary Smith in Austin, Texas, and Toronto, Canada; and Kongjian Yu, International ASLA, of Peking University Graduate School of Landscape Architecture and Turenscape in Beijing, China. Bill Marken, Honorary ASLA, editor emeritus of Garden Design magazine in Los Altos, California, joined the panel for the residential category and the panel to select the Landmark Award.

Analysis and Planning, Award of Excellence

Viet Village Urban Farm, New Orleans
Mossop + Michaels, New Orleans

This project represents an effort to reestablish the tradition of local farming in a Vietnamese-American community located in an area hard hit in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. Recognizing home-based gardens started by early Vietnamese immigrants to grow their native fruits and vegetables, the design team assisted with planning the environmental infrastructural systems needed to support an organic urban farming operation. The team also included a market area to serve as a resource and economic catalyst for the community, in addition to funding and labor solutions. Stormwater runoff challenges due to a high water table and frequent flooding during storms were met with a series of subwatersheds designed with the ability to be expanded as the site grows—just part of the innovative approach taken here. Jurors commented: “What a terrific urban farm—we’ll be seeing many more projects like this in the future. The landscape architect has evoked the strong tradition of gardening within the Vietnamese community.”

General Design, Award of Excellence

The Lurie Garden
Millennium Park, Chicago
Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd, Seattle 

This three-acre, public rooftop garden was built over the lid of an underground parking garage in downtown Chicago’s Millennium Park. The garden expresses Chicago’s distinct, urban landscape history as a bold, contemporary landmark that also offers quiet respite for people and urban wildlife. It distinguishes itself from other Millennium Park attractions by using plants and natural materials to create a memorable cultural experience. In a city that continues to rise skyward from its marshy origins, the design celebrates the built-up, engineered landscape of the garden site. The designers also had to take into account the large crowds that pass through the garden. The project is built over structure and, due to load restrictions, the landforms were built up using lightweight Geofoam under the soil. “The landscape architect has created an oasis in the center of the city,” jurors said. “This is not a typical botanical garden; it has raised the bar and is far and away the most outstanding example of work submitted to the awards program this year.”

General Design Category

General Design, Honor Award

Boston Children’s Museum, Boston
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc.
Cambridge, Massachusetts    

This project successfully expresses the client’s mission of interactive learning. In an established urban neighborhood on the verge of dramatic growth, the plaza’s bold design serves to reinforce the area’s vibrant, pioneering identity while creating a popular, useful civic space oriented toward children. Perceptions of difference, distance, size, and scale are playfully manipulated in different ways within the new plaza. The site is located alongside a body of water that is being transformed from a polluted industrial channel into a thriving recreational waterway. The designers also faced poor subsurface conditions throughout the site that had resulted in uneven settling, which created the need for visitors to negotiate an inconvenient system of steps and ramps to gain access to the museum. “It is playful and daring without being silly and avoids the clichés of working within children’s landscapes,” jurors said of the project.

General Design, Honor Award

Walden Studios, Alexander Valley, California
Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture, San Francisco

Walden Studios is designed as a mixed-use facility including artist studios and commercial space that integrates a working vineyard and its agricultural buildings into the site. Set in a broad valley in northern California, in the floodplain of the Russian River, a requirement that a renovated building on the site be raised for flood protection became the design inspiration: a series of “piers” extending out into a sea of vineyards. The piers demarcate terraces that serve as outdoor rooms for receptions and openings. Each space is flexible in function but distinguished by the landscape architect with carefully designed features. An allée of fruitless mulberries recessed two steps below the main building is accessed by a sculptural steel ramp that defines a main axis running from the interior. Shaping large spaces from these few materials has resulted in a landscape that is both harmonious and celebratory of its surroundings. “This landscape architect has great confidence and knows exactly when to stop,” jurors said. “The craftsmanship is amazingly crisp.”

General Design, Honor Award

Lost Dog Wash Trailhead, Scottsdale, Arizona
Floor Associates Inc., Phoenix

This project demonstrates a sustainable desert design that includes strategies for planning, preservation, and construction. The plan balances the needs of various users and conservation methodologies that protect the fragile desert ecology, including minimization of site disturbance, use of on-site materials, solar power, composting toilets, and rainwater and graywater harvesting. The seven-acre site is the third facility of nine planned public entry points designed by the collaborative design team—the landscape architect, the architect, and the preserve staff—for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The areas are envisioned as demonstration projects intended to explore new technologies and to develop new methodologies that encourage sustainable design practices. As part of this specific site analysis process, the landscape architect conducted extensive field surveys to determine what specific plant species were indigenous to what areas of the site. More than 1,000 specimens were salvaged and reintroduced to the site as part of a revegetation effort. Jurors called it “one of the best examples of environmental stewardship we’ve seen this year.”

General Design, Honor Award

Fountain Promenade at Chapultepec Park
Mexico City
Grupo de DiseñoUrbano SC, Mexico

This project came about because of public concern for Chapultepec Park—perhaps the oldest park in the Americas, since there is evidence of Nezahualcoyotl’s interventions as designer of emperor Montezuma’s pleasure gardens from the 1460s. The landscape architect was selected to conduct master planning and develop specific projects to attract families and other park visitors to underused areas. The strategy involved interventions such as a fountain promenade connecting the museums of anthropology and art. The cascading water from the fountain travels in a channel past existing trees. The design included a simple system of paths along with planning for tree restoration, pruning, and cleaning. Use of the park has dramatically increased, and the fountain promenade has become a favorite feature of visitors. Jurors commented: “The landscape architect added sustainable practices within the park in terms of maintenance and for park visitors as well. It is so evocative of the city’s context and really captured the sense of place.” (See “Para Renovar el Bosque,” LAM, April 2007.)

General Design, Honor Award

Lagoon Park: Living at the Edge of Wilderness, Santa Barbara, California
Van Atta Associates Inc., Santa Barbara, California

Formerly the site of a gravel parking lot, this park on the UC Santa Barbara campus created new wetland habitat and serves as an inviting place for university students as well as a system that filters and cleans runoff. Commissioned primarily to fulfill wetland preservation requirements on a minimal budget, the landscape architects envisioned the site as a place where students would be immersed in nature and encouraged to appreciate the subtle beauty of wetlands while overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Lagoon Park is now six acres of restored native California grassland along with vernal pools, meadows, and marshes. The site features diverse coastal sage scrub and coastal bluff vegetation. Research for advanced degrees has been based around the monitoring of the project, including the effect of wetlands on nutrient levels in water runoff and native grassland planting techniques. Students have adopted portions of the park to create new habitats. “Proof that you don’t have to have a huge budget to do fabulous things,” jurors said.

General Design, Honor Award

Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.
Olin Partnership, Philadelphia

The revitalized Washington Monument articulates the 72-acre site’s character and identity within the context of the National Mall while demonstrating the art and craft of landscape architecture in a highly prominent place. The landscape architect won the competition for the commission with an elegant security solution and in the process successfully proposed much-needed landscape improvements to revive the monument grounds. The design is bold and clear: a minimalist solution that turned a project originally funded to prevent terrorism into a handsome civic amenity. Low, 30-inch granite finished walls are configured in a graceful pattern. They safeguard against automobiles and trucks entering the site and also provide a resting place without distraction from the view. Also, regrading and the realignment of pathways preserved the majority of the plantings, including an ancient mulberry tree. The landscape architect proves that the union of sound security and artful design can be functional and graceful. “Resolution of the geometry is simple and sophisticated,” jurors said.

General Design, Honor Award

James Clarkson Environmental Discovery Center, White Lake Township, Michigan
MSI Design, Columbus, Ohio           

The landscape architect for this project would oversee the project’s design and—along with a multidisciplinary team of designers, scientists, engineers, educators, and architects—help determine how to educate users on the importance of biodiversity, native habitats, and environmental protection. Restored ecosystems and their associated wildlife inhabitants are within an arm’s length throughout the 70-acre site, optimizing interaction with the natural world while preserving and protecting its sensitive ecological areas and endangered species. Interpretation of the area’s hydrology is articulated through the rehabilitation and creation of wetland, prairie, and forest ecosystems. The interaction of the site and the Environmental Education Center is the key to the ecological and educational success of the project. The landscape architect located the building as a continuation of a ridgeline, which made the building an extension of the site. “The plant list is particularly impressive, and using plant communities is something to which the profession needs to pay more attention,” jurors said.

General Design, Honor Award

Gannett/USA Today Headquarters
McLean, Virginia
Michael Vergason Landscape Architects Ltd.
Alexandria, Virginia

In a rapidly developing business and retail area in Virginia, this media company headquarters is now an ecologically diverse refuge. The landscape architect developed a site strategy that seamlessly weaves the indoor and outdoor spaces into a campus of extensive roof gardens, terraces, riparian plantings, and preserved woodlands. The undeveloped site was composed of three distinct land features: lowland, meadow, and hilltop. Located at the base of a 270-acre watershed, the lowland contained a degraded regional stormwater management pond. The central commons now forms the armature of the open space, allowing the wooded hilltop to be preserved as a visual and recreational amenity. Above the commons, two acres of green roofs and garden terraces over structure reduce rainwater runoff and add insulation and sound attenuation to the broad floor plates of the newsrooms below. The project demonstrates the value of thoughtful landscape stewardship and meaningful outdoor places in a corporate setting. Jurors heralded the work as “a new approach to corporate typology that feels more natural and organic.” (See “News from a Suburban Watershed,” LAM, May 2006.)

Residential Design Category

Cosponsored by Garden Design magazine
Residential Design, Award of Excellence
Ketchum Residence, Ketchum, Idaho
Lutsko Associates, San Francisco

Though located in a beautiful natural setting, this undeveloped Ketchum, Idaho, residential site was typical. In most developed lots throughout the surrounding area, the mountains and the native ecosystems are appreciated only as a long-distance view that contrasts with the other homes and gardens in the foreground. The design vision for this residence was to reach out to the adjacent ecology and invite it into the residential landscape while providing formalized spaces for entertaining. The landscape architect used a native plant palette to continue the native grassland sweep from the adjacent mountainside down to the rear of the building and around to the front of the residence and the street. Grading was designed to mimic the preconstruction landforms while emphasizing the sweep of planting around the building. Through a sensitive interweaving of the domestic and the greater wild landscape, the property line was blurred and visually connected to the adjacent ridgeline miles away. “A refreshing example of how landscape architecture can transform a home in a conventional neighborhood,” jurors said.

Residential Design, Honor Award

Bassil Mountain Escape, Faqra, Lebanon
Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture
Broumana, Lebanon

The challenge for this project, located in a mountain setting at a vacation home, was to provide spaces to accommodate various functions and moods in an extremely narrow site. The garden was conceived almost in its entirety on a construction setback around the house. A series of manipulations in the limited space blurs all boundaries between the site and the horizon, yielding a powerful sense of place and infinite space. The program includes a swimming pool, a large entertainment terrace with a long linear bench, and a sitting area and fireplace, as well as a cooking area. Details include floating stepping-stones that lead guests down to a bar area that features solid stone and red cedar wood. From this lower level, the negative-edge swimming pool again blurs the boundaries while framing the magnificent panorama from both the indoor lounge area and the outdoor entertainment terrace and sitting area. Jurors called it “innovative and poetic.”

Residential Design, Honor Award

New Poetic Mountain Habitat—the Fragrant Hill 81 Yard, Beijing
Tsinghua University, China

The landscape architect for this project successfully faced the daunting challenge of reinterpreting the idealistic Chinese lifestyle. The program is a community landscape design for a real estate project of 40 town houses located on a 2.7-hectare site on the fifth ring of Beijing, the metropolis’s suburban edge. To achieve the innate continuity of Chinese culture, conventional forms are reinterpreted in a modern way using new materials rather than simply replicating history. By adopting dark gray rubble walls that respond sensitively to the slope, the design echoed the distinct rustic quality of Beijing villages. The local materials and native plants used in the design celebrate the locality and preserve precious features. “The landscape architect set a new standard for this type of project,” jurors said. “Multifamily housing is increasingly important if we are going to live sustainably, and landscape architecture is a key component to the happiness and well-being of residents.”

Residential Design, Honor Award

Unfolding Terrace, Brooklyn, New York
Terrain-NYC Inc., New York

This terrace is an urban roofscape that celebrates the spectacle of New York. The decked surface folds across the roof, creating constructed volumes of space. With a site-specific commissioned poetry wall, the Brooklyn roofscape points to a new idea of nature in the city mediated by culture and artistic interpretation. The poetry wall, constructed out of billboard sign materials, connects the space to the surrounding roofscape including nearby billboards, shifting the scales of experiences of the city from the larger urban landscape to the intimate roof space and back out again into urban experience. The roofscape features a palette of native plantings. Groves of native river birch enhance the abstracted pattern on the poetry wall. In a shaded area a fernery adds diversity. An irrigation system tailored for low-water-use plants was included in the design. “Beautifully detailed,” jurors said.

Residential Design, Honor Award

Malibu Beach House, Malibu, California
Pamela Burton & Company, Santa Monica, California

The purpose of the landscape design was to create an exuberant yet sustainable garden to complement a newly constructed modern home and to tie together three oceanfront lots opposite a strip mall on Carbon Beach in Malibu. To integrate the lots in an environmentally sensitive manner for a client who had little interest in sustainability, the landscape architect wooed the client away from using green turf and successfully promoted the use of dry beach sand planted with ornamental grasses as ground cover. The garden captures views of the adjacent hills and uses drought- and salt-tolerant plants that provide color, texture, and movement. A hillside arroyo across the highway is directed toward the property, bringing intense rainwater. The reconstructed arroyo is a feature of the design, physically and metaphorically connecting it with the adjacent native landscape. Over time the owner became convinced of the value of planting in a sustainable manner. “The landscape architect has a masterful hand with plants and added a lot of sustainable features,” jurors said.

Residential Design, Honor Award

Coastal Island Retreat
Spring Island, South Carolina
Oehme, van Sweden & Associates Inc., Washington, D.C.

This single-family home on 65 acres highlights sustainability, ecological restoration, and preservation. The design inspiration is taken directly from the existing landscape; the native beauty of the semitropical lowland coastal planes guided the landscape architect. While notable for its ecological sensitivity, this project just as importantly advances an aesthetic that embraces the island landscape rather than battles against it. The landscape architect edited and restored the broader landscape, which is recovering from agricultural use, revealing the essential beauty of the site. Elevated above grade to accommodate the shifting tidal floodplain, the Japanese-style residence lacked connection with the ground. The landscape architect designed certified reharvested hardwood terraces to bridge this gap. From the house, the terraces give way to nature: To the east, a massive planting of Spartina patens creates the illusion that the marshland has grown up to meet the residence. To the west, the evening sun dramatically illuminates fields of native grasses. “The vernacular plant palette demonstrates the landscape architect’s true gift for interweaving with nature,” jurors commented.

Residential Design, Honor Award

Passage to the Lake, Stoneham, Maine
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc., New York

The emotive qualities of this Maine garden are shaped by a belief held by both the client and the landscape architect that the stewardship of a landscape is an art form, one that balances the studied appreciation of its life content and the development of its ritual occupation—in this case, through the crafting of a passage through a small wooded site to a lake. The design extends the idea of introducing discrete architectural elements as a means for fostering an awareness of the subtle changes in the character of the woodland floor. A limited palette is employed for the pathway, consisting of boulders retrieved from the initial site work. Within the practice of landscape architecture, this project demonstrates the difficult-to-achieve balance between the imposition of design and a site’s dynamic capacities for successive growth. “Simply stunning,” the jury commented. “The landscape architect has a real genius for balancing bold materials that relate to the home and providing good contrast with beautiful plants and nature.”

Residential Design, Honor Award

Beach House, Amagansett, New York
Dirtworks PC, New York

With this beach house, landscape designers worked to create a feeling of symbiosis that brings a physical and emotional closeness to the beautiful, fragile, and ever-changing ecosystem of the dune landscape. The project sits on a quarter-acre site close to neighboring houses at the eastern end of Long Island on the Atlantic Ocean. The primary considerations for this site were preventing erosion of beach sands by establishing a dense network of native plants and recharging groundwater by maximizing permeable surface. In establishing outdoor living spaces around this beach house, the landscape architect created a series of cedar pallets arranged to hug the house on all sides and extend like fingers onto the dune facing the ocean. By planting native plants between these fingers each extension becomes an oasis—at once different from and completely integrated into this dune landscape. Everything in the design is either ecofriendly or completely renewable. Jurors commented that “the sustainability of this project is quite impressive, and the landscape architect is to be commended.”

Residential Design, Honor Award

San Juan Island Residence
San Juan Islands, Washington
Paul Broadhurst & Associates, Seattle

The landscape architect carefully weighed the geological, botanical, historical, and even auditory context of this midsized San Juan Island residence with nearby views of a small horseshoe-shaped bay and distant mountains. The resulting design celebrates the strong views from the site while paying equal attention to the intimacy of the woods. As the view remains blocked by dense forest, a visitor must descend through the forest to the house. The walk offers a meandering engagement in all things minute and intimate. A pathway of local “alger green” rock marks the way. With the exception of two enclosed gardens, local and West Coast native plantings were favored. A “light tower” was a collaborative design element, acting as a beacon at night on the path through the trees to the front door. Ascending the tower takes one above the “forest canopy” and provides a view of the bay. “The landscape architect has created a romantic space with color,” jurors said. “The design is not obvious, which is very difficult to achieve.”

Residential Design, Honor Award

Altamira Ranch, Palos Verdes, California
MarmolRadziner & Associates, Los Angeles

This project, occupying 20 acres along the rugged coastline of the Palos Verdes peninsula, looks and feels as though it emerged from the surrounding environment. Through careful planning and the use of local materials, including indigenous stone and native plants, the design of this ranch engages the surroundings and creates a natural home. Previously undeveloped, it held memories of the clients’ childhood camping trips, family picnics, and dramatic sunsets over the ocean. To maintain this sense of place, the landscape architect preserved the “untouched” feel of the land. Using site features and convergence lines, the designers created datum lines to establish the location of the architectural and site walls. Carefully located plant massings run along these lines to frame views and to create distinct destinations within the landscape. Like waves lapping at the shoreline, the plants become shorter and are interrupted by large areas of sand as they approach the house. “The landscape architect designed a highly articulated plan that relates beautifully to the home and residents,” commented jurors.

Analysis and Planning Category

Analysis and Planning, Honor Award
Port Lands Estuary: Reinventing the Don River as an Agent of Urbanism, Toronto
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc., New York

A new relationship between the urban and the natural is heralded by this proposal. Developed by an integrated team of designers, engineers, and ecologists, the plan introduces urban development, native ecologies, and public infrastructure to 280 acres of Toronto’s postindustrial Port Lands that include a river diverted into a canal, rail lines, and an elevated highway that creates a barrier between the Port Lands and the remainder of the city. This planning framework for a vibrant new mixed-use riverfront and lakefront neighborhood uses a landscape-based approach that unifies the goals of ecological restoration and urban design. The client’s major programmatic initiatives have been synthesized into a single framework to make the site more natural through potential new site ecologies based on the size and complexity of the landscape and more urban by developing a green mixed-use district and its integration into an evolving network of infrastructure. “Sweeping and powerful,” jurors said. “Ecological and sustainable strategies drive the program, which is a fresh approach to urban design.” 

Analysis and Planning, Honor Award

New Terrain for the North Lake Region of Chongming Island, Shanghai, China
SWA Group, Los Angeles

This master plan provides for the redevelopment of 34½ square kilometers in the northern portion of the world’s largest alluvial island. The plan addresses issues of sustainable development and wetland restoration while providing for the educational and recreational needs of the residents of Shanghai, China. It provides several innovations in dealing with ecological and economic sustainability. Analysis uncovered a fundamental conflict between what was best from a regional hydrologic perspective and how farmers were currently using the land. The creation of wetland habitat called for the removal of levees, something that would severely affect traditional farming methods. This required research into the feasibility of using afforestation and carbon offsetting programs to economically compensate farmers for the replacement of traditional rice fields. The framework provides a vision for developers, city officials, designers, and planners to use to create open space and address critical environmental issues that we collectively face at a global scale. Jurors said the landscape architects “deserve recognition for the humanity they bring to this project.”

Analysis and Planning, Honor Award

Orange County Great Park Comprehensive Master Plan “A Vision for the Great Park of the 21st Century,” Irvine, California
Ken Smith Workshop West, Irvine, California

A new park typology is created by this master plan. Pioneering ideas for social and environmental sustainability are investigated and tested while making local citizens key participants. All 1,347 acres of the Great Park knit together the cultures of Southern California while restoring the region’s natural heritage. Located on the grounds of a former Marine base, the park includes a constructed two-and-a-half-mile canyon, a conservatory/botanical garden, and a sports park. Restoring native habitats will include exposing a natural waterway buried in a concrete channel for 60 years; it will return as a functioning Southern California riparian ecosystem. The materials used to create the park will be salvaged, recycled, ecologically engineered, and waste neutral. Redwood planks from existing on-site buildings will be used as bridge planks. The site will also become a showplace of sustainability, demonstrating new ideas with the goal of creating a healthy balance between meeting human needs and promoting environmental health. Jurors noted the “bold” formal strategies used by designers of this “marvelous” project.

Analysis and Planning, Honor Award

Porchscapes: An Affordable LEED Neighborhood Development, Fayetteville, Arkansas
University of Arkansas Community Design Center Fayetteville, Arkansas

The planning and policy objective of this plan was to design a demonstration project following Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development criteria, a pilot certification program of the U.S. Green Building Council. The goal was to provide an affordable 10-acre housing development for Habitat for Humanity with limited construction costs. The challenge for the landscape architect was to create a high-value development for the triple bottom line (social–economic–environmental) on a greenfield site for modest one-story, single-family houses. The landscape architect used hydrological processes to organize various neighborhood subgroupings in the project. Shared streets are designed as parks, combining pedestrian gathering spaces, parking, landscape systems, and stormwater facilities with traffic throughways. The plan also introduces the “shared street” as a green infrastructure to amplify ecological services delivered by site planning. “What began as a strong idea became a visionary statement for a community,” jurors commented. “The landscape architect took a fresh approach to a simple issue and solved it with leading-edge sustainable strategies.”

Analysis and Planning, Honor Award

New Orleans Riverfront: Reinventing the Crescent, New Orleans
Hargreaves Associates
Cambridge, Massachusetts

This historical project reevaluates the languishing New Orleans waterfront and supplements its unique character, unusual street grid, and historic architecture with visionary, yet practical and sustainable, design. The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina only reinforced the need for redevelopment of the city riverfront. The landscape architects for this project acted together with a core design team to reposition the riverfront as a singular, continuous ensemble of international prominence. The thrust of the design concept is that for the cherished historic New Orleans neighborhoods to survive with a reduced population and declining industry, new development and new public landscape will be key components to attract and retain visitors and residents alike. This project questioned the technical restrictions assigned to flood-control structures, rail lines, and wharves, integrating each into a public landscape rich in composition, programming, and character. The project embraces both the uniquely historic and forward-looking creative culture of New Orleans. Jurors remarked on a “particularly strong” project analysis by the landscape architect.

Communications Category

Communications, Honor Award

So What?
Ahbe Landscape Architects, Culver City, California

This seven-minute film documents the planning and implementation of an art installation composed of the shredded paper waste generated by a landscape architectural firm over a 12-week period. By exhibiting this physical manifestation of the concept of sustainability in a highly original and entertaining fashion, the film seeks to educate viewers and spur them to action. The film relies on the premise that the term “sustainability” has been overused to the point of becoming meaningless—and that it is time to reflect on the true meaning of the word. Created in-house by a landscape architect who is an award-winning filmmaker, the film is touring the film festival circuit and will be handed out by representatives of the firm to local schools and universities. Its targeted audience includes persons interested in art and sustainability issues, students seeking inspiration about the breadth and possibilities of the landscape architectural profession, and clients and fellow design professionals. “Creative, innovative, surprising, and unexpected!” jurors said.

Communications, Honor Award

25th Anniversary of Landscape Journal: Design, Planning, and Management of the Land, Madison, Wisconsin
SUNY ESF, Syracuse, New York

Landscape Journal has chronicled the evolution of academic discourse in the field for more than 25 years. Sponsored by the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, this semiannual publication disseminates emerging scholarship relevant to academics and practitioners. On its silver anniversary, Landscape Journal launched new graphic design features and online services that enhance visibility and access to its content, fortify its intellectual value, and broaden the impact of the discipline around the world. Special features include online access to current and back issues, technology reviews, full text and keyword searches, and citation alerts. This publication builds the profession by generating, testing, applying, and critiquing practical and theoretical ideas. Such work helps construct and legitimize the claims of landscape architecture as a specialized body of knowledge, a profession, and an art. “Landscape Journal has great value for expanding the body of knowledge for landscape architecture. In its 25th anniversary, it really rises to the level of landmark status,” jurors said. “A very elegant communications piece.”

Communications, Honor Award

Louisiana Speaks: Our Voice. Our Plan.Our Future.
Center for Planning Excellence
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Created as a public outreach tool, this one-hour documentary pulled together the major 2005 hurricane aftermath recovery issues facing Louisiana and showed how different patterns of land use, transportation, economic policy, housing, and wetland loss would shape the future landscape of the region. The DVD guides sustained recovery and future growth through a comprehensive, 35-parish physical and policy plan supported by a concrete implementation strategy. By being provided information on the benefits and consequences of pursuing different futures, state residents were given the information they needed to choose their preferences for a new vision for Louisiana. The challenge met by creators of the DVD was distilling complex technical subject material into an engaging message with an emotional appeal while still conveying data and facts to give the viewer enough information to make informed decisions about the future growth and development of the region. More than 23,000 web, paper, and phone responses were received, which made it the largest and most inclusive regional planning outreach campaign ever conducted in the United States.

Communications, Honor Award

Bird-Safe Building Guidelines
SCAPE Landscape Architecture PLLC, New York

This 55-page booklet does its part to harmonize nature and the built environment. Its authors examine the causes of building-related bird mortality; convey the ecological, economic, ethical, and legal justifications for bird conservation; advocate a series of preventive and rehabilitative strategies; and describe precedents for regulatory initiatives. They strive to stimulate the development of new glazing technologies while creating a market for all bird-safe building sites and systems. Bird populations, already in decline from loss of habitat and wintering grounds, are seriously threatened by the relatively recent incursion of man-made structures into avian air space. In the United States, an estimated 100 million to one billion birds perish each year from encounters with buildings and adjacent reflected landscapes. The guidelines are intended to both raise general awareness and specifically complement and inform today’s green building initiatives. “The health and well-being of wildlife is an important and often overlooked topic,” jurors said.

The Landmark Award
Cosponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Tanner Fountain, Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Peter Walker, SWA Group, Berkeley, California

The creation of this fountain without a basin, completed in 1984, was an innovation that transformed fountain design. The Tanner Fountain is also credited as the first institutional project of the “Landscape as Art” movement, and it continues to prove that landscape architecture is an art and that the landscape architect is an artist. When Harvard commissioned the fountain, it noted the demise of other fountains that had their basins planted with bulbs. This landscape architect’s method of preventing such an end result was an innovation rivaled only by the fountain’s other design features. Sited in a pedestrian crossroads and surrounded by buildings that include the Science Center, the fountain—suggested by critics as a symbolic representation of the Big Bang—takes the form of a circle delineated by 159 granite boulders. The stones were cleared from regional farms at the turn of the century, recalling the arduous process by which the first settlers in New England cleared the fields. Tanner Fountain sees dense traffic in all seasons. Children play. Students read, flirt, converse, meditate, and brood. “It set a precedent for the profession and has stood the test of time remarkably well, retaining the full power of the original idea,” jurors said. “Transformational.”

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