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Lewis Remembered, Williams Promoted

Philip H. Lewis Jr., FASLAPhilip H. Lewis Jr., FASLA

Appreciation: A Big Thinker Passes into the Night

Circle City, created by the glaciers. Environmental corridors. Regional design. Mapping environmental resources. These were the ideas of Philip H. Lewis Jr., FASLA. Our community lost a visionary leader on the evening of July 2, 2017.

Many of us understood Phil’s passion. He knew landscape architects could think beyond neighborhoods and communities toward a more regional design, but we had to understand the resources we were trying to protect. The Environmental Awareness Center that he created had to relocate several times because his hundreds of maps, huge topographic models, and boundless passion outgrew the space.

As Phil’s intern in 1983, I begrudgingly colored land use maps of Florida. Pixels as small as my sharpened Prismacolor pencil! As a computer fanatic, I knew we could do this easier and faster. Phil would not have it. As a landscape architect, one needs to learn through connecting pencil to paper.

Could these huge colored patterns help shape development while protecting natural resources? Professor Lewis, taught (and lived) regional design here at the University of Wisconsin from 1965 until retirement in 1995. He never actually retired; never stopped living and expounding on the need to think big. “Think about it… lets open the eyes of millions of people who live in this vast metropolitan region. They could come together and learn about those mighty glaciers. They could learn about new ideas for housing, new concepts for neighborhoods and their landscapes in which they live.

Phil Lewis Jr., FASLA, was a man ahead of his time, always thinking big. Rest well my friend. You changed many lives and we will all continue to “think big.”

Gary A. Brown, PLA, FASLA
Director, Campus Planning & Landscape Architecture
University of Wisconsin-Madison


Quinn Evans Architects, an award-winning architectural and planning practice, has promoted Brenda Williams, ASLA, to director of preservation planning. A principal and landscape architect, Williams has more than 25 years of experience in the preservation and rehabilitation of historic sites.

Williams joined Quinn Evans Architects in 1998 and has overseen many of the firm’s planning initiatives for historically significant sites and landmarks. Her work focuses on preserving historic character, connecting people to cultural landscapes in meaningful ways, and incorporating long-term sustainability. Major projects under her direction have included the development of a cultural landscape report and design for the rehabilitation of the circa-1829 Peirce Mill site in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park; development of a cultural landscape master plan for the Blood Run National Historic Landmark in Lyon County, Iowa—a project that included recommendations for the preservation of several American Indian sacred sites as well as interpretive protocols for visitors; and several projects focusing on the preservation and interpretation of historic industrial landscapes and structures at Keweenaw National Historic Park in Calumet, Michigan.

She has completed numerous projects for the National Park Service, addressing cultural landscapes within parks such as Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan, Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia, Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, and Sitka National Historical Park in Alaska.

Currently, Williams is directing the preparation of an environmental assessment for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum revitalization in Washington, D.C. She is also directing cultural landscape reports for the Split Rock Lighthouse Historic Site, a Minnesota Historical Society property located on the North Shore of Lake Superior; a portion of Sand Island located within Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin; and the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce, Ohio.

Williams recently completed a cultural landscape report for Historic Fort Snelling, located at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers in Minneapolis, and is now part of the design team for the revitalization of the 21-acre site’s visitor center, a project led by Leo A. Daly and including TEN x TEN. She is also part of the landscape design team led by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and including Site Design Group that was recently selected to develop a historically sensitive site design for the visitor center at Pullman National Monument, one of the nation’s newest units of the National Park Service.

Williams holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (1995) and a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Kentucky (1988). She is currently president of the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation, a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Historic Preservation Professional Practice Network leadership group, and serves on the Preservation Committee of Taliesin Preservation in Wisconsin.

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