landscape architecture HOME
Subscribe | Magazine Index | Advertise | Subscribe | Search | Contact Us | FAQs
Land Matters
Product Profiles
American Society of Landscape Architects


A Second Opinion
For the Mayo estate in Minnesota, applying creative thinking to a standard plan of cul-de-sacs.
By Frank Edgerton Martin

In spite of being reviled by New Urbanists and others, the cul-de-sac has shown remarkable persistence in cookie-cutter subdivision planning. Recently, an unconventional spin on the cul-de-sac has come out of an unlikely quarter—Rochester, Minnesota, a bastion of Midwestern normalcy. The beauty of the Rochester plan is that it responds to the natural landscape.

Image Courtesy Coen + Partners

The heirs to Mayowood, Dr. Charles Mayo's 3,000-acre essay in landscape design and scientific agriculture near the Mayo Clinic, have generally held on to their properties. In the late 1990s, however, six family members who own remnants of Mayowood's outlying fields and woods hired a local engineering firm to plot a housing development, Mayo Woodlands, on some of the estate's wooded bluff lands. Meanwhile, they engaged landscape architects Coen + Partners of Minneapolis to create a reuse strategy for Mayowood's historic stone barns and a development plan for the surrounding pasturelands.

The engineers turned out a functional, fairly typical scheme for Mayo Woodlands, consisting of large building sites and 24-foot-wide curving roads, many ending in cul-de-sacs. The plan was publicly approved. But after seeing Coen + Partners' ideas for pasture planning, the Mayos asked Shane Coen, ASLA, for a second opinion: They wanted him to review the Mayo Woodlands plat. And when they heard his ideas, they offered Coen the seemingly impossible charge of modifying the plan without changing the setbacks, delineations for 120 house lots, or the roads and right-of-ways. Though skeptical, Coen ultimately took the job. "If we came up with something great," he says in explanation, "we would have a model for retrofitting other existing subdivisions to be more sustainable and regionally sensitive."

…To read the entire article, subscribe to LAM!

What's New | LAND | Annual Meeting
Product Profiles & Directory
ASLA Online



636 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001-3736 Telephone: 202-898-2444 • Fax: 202-898-1185
©2002 American Society of Landscape Architects. All Rights Reserved.