American Landscape Awards 2004
Kudos to Books about Landscapes
Another private garden in the awards line-up was actually designed many decades ago. It was the creation of Anne Spencer, a poet of the Harlem Renaissance. Half My World, a book about the garden written by Reuben M. Rainey, ASLA, and Rebecca T. Frischkorn, received a Communications Award of Honor.
This book explores the relationship between Spencer's poetry and her creative garden design, which served as her inspiration and sanctuary. The awards jury described the book as a "great contribution in social-cultural garden scholarship. . . The mix of poetry, personal history, and gardening is irresistible. This book represents an important contribution to the profession and African American studies in general."
Another Communications Award of Honor went to a book featuring a far different perspective on the African American experience. Gardens and Historic Plans of the Antebellum South, by James R. Cothran, FASLA, of Atlanta, Georgia, is a survey of historic landscapes with pre-Civil War (1820 to 1860) cultural and horticultural information.
Public Landscapes for Art and Education
An article in ArchitectureWeek featured the building of the Nasher Sculpture Center in downtown Dallas, Texas. Now the surrounding sculpture garden, designed by Peter Walker & Partners, has received an ASLA Design Award of Honor.
This outdoor gallery holds 20 to 30 works, some permanent and some in changing displays. Their weight and the disruptions caused when sculptures are moved required the development of a special soil that drains well without catch basins, is strong enough to support heavy loads, and yet can foster the growth of both resilient turf and large trees.
Stone plinths at Nasher distribute flexible systems of lighting, sound, security, and irrigation while providing casual seating and additional sites for smaller pieces of sculpture. The jury commented: "[The] geometry serves as a perfect extension from the indoor space visually and functionally."
One of the ASLA analysis and planning awards went to an architecture firm, William McDonough + Partners. Their study, "Eco-Effective Design Strategies," for the University of California at Davis demonstrated how buildings, their interiors, and their landscaping can contribute to an environmentally responsible campus master plan.
Planning at Urban and Regional Scales
A Canadian recipient of an analysis and planning award was the Downtown Ottawa (Ontario) Urban Design Strategy 2020. Conducted by Urban Strategies Inc., this comprehensive study recommends design guidelines at a variety of scales for precincts, plazas, waterways, and streets. The plan is intended to help guide and implement future development projects and the city's public realm investments, with the aim of improving the urban experience.
A European analysis and planning project honored by the ASLA awards is "Green through Red," in Buiten Vennep, The Netherlands, produced by Lodewijk Baljon Landscape Architects,
In response to a high demand for green housing, these designers turned their attention to the Haarlemmermeer Polder, reclaimed agricultural land near Amsterdam that is under heavy urban pressure and suffers from poor water management. The plan combines low-density housing with water management and new functions, setting an innovative direction for the province's new regional plan.
Two analysis and planning projects in the United States also received ASLA Honor Awards. The Anacostia River Parks Target Area Plan & Riverwalk Design Guidelines, by Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC, proposes turning the underused Washington, D.C. river into a vibrant waterfront for the nation's capital.
The Anacostia plan provides places for people to meet, relax, encounter nature and experience the heritage of waterfront neighborhoods. A major consideration is making the river useful and appealing to neighbors of social and economic diversity.
Similarly, the Middle Rio Grande Bosque Restoration Project in Albuquerque, New Mexico, developed by Sites Southwest LLC, integrates ecosystem restoration, recreation planning, cultural and environmental landscape interpretation, environmental justice, and community outreach. The aim is to integrate a wildlife refuge and a regional open space within a major metropolitan area.
The awards jury said of the Rio Grande plan: "This project could not only help to restore ravaged nature, but the human community that's now learning its responsibility to it." Such responsibility and stewardship seems to characterize these and all the other projects in this year's ASLA honor roll.
Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects representing more than 14,200 members. The ASLA Awards Program is administered by the nonprofit ASLA Library and Education Advocacy Fund, dedicated to expanding the body of knowledge of the landscape architecture profession, to promoting the value of landscape architecture, and to increasing public understanding of environmental and land use issues and principles.
Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...
Rosedown Plantation in Louisiana is one example in the ASLA-award-winning book, Gardens and Historic Plans of the Antebellum South.
Photo: James R. Cothran, FASLA
The Nasher Sculpture Center, designed by Peter Walker & Partners.
Photo: Tim Hursley
"Eco-Effective Design Strategies" is a campus master plan study prepared for the University of California at Davis by William McDonough + Partners.
Image: William McDonough + Partners
Sketches for the Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy 2020.
Image: Urban Strategies Inc.
"Green through Red," long-term planning in the Netherlands.
Image: Lodewijk Baljon Landscape Architects
The Anacostia River Parks Target Area Plan & Riverwalk Design Guidelines.
Image: Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC
The Middle Rio Grande Bosque Restoration Project in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Image: Sites Southwest LLC
Click on thumbnail images
to view full-size pictures.