Page N4.2 . 21 September 2005                     
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    American Landscape Awards 2005

    continued

    The 80-foot- (24-meter-) wide by 740-foot- (225-meter-) long pool establishes the central axis for the space. Formal pedestrian promenades along either side are gracefully paralleled by double rows of live oak trees. The landscape architects were able to choreograph the donation and the transplanting of 44 mature trees from other sites around the city where these trees would have been lost to development.

    Preserving the existing trees that graced this site was paramount. All excavations within the drip lines of the trees were done entirely by hand to minimize damage to the sensitive roots. To protect the tree roots during the installation of underground piping, the contractors wrapped each individual root with moisture preserving insulation and watered them regularly. Equipment traffic around tree roots was severely limited throughout construction.

    Strolling in Seattle

    The second Award of Excellence in the general design category went to the Kreielsheimer Promenade at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, in Seattle, designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd.

    This promenade is a dramatic meeting place for opera patrons and other visitors to McCaw Hall, home to the Seattle Opera and other performing arts. It is also a bright and welcoming public passage for the city into the heart of the Seattle Center Campus. The design of the promenade demonstrates a multidisciplinary collaboration among design professionals in architecture, landscape, lighting, and theater.

    Even though it's not apparent to the pedestrian, much of the subtly undulating 19,000-square-foot (1,765-square-meter) promenade is a rooftop plaza, built over mechanical rooms below. Views of the promenade's green stone, sparkling sheets of water, and cool-hued plantings support the architecture and diffused light that define this grand entry to McCaw Hall.

    The subtly warped planes of paving appear to be an extension of the hall's interior lobby floor. An undulating series of stone benches create meeting spots and refuges in a variety of configurations. These elements combine to mark the building entry and to frame a dramatic perspective toward the green space at the south end.

    A glowing "ceiling" is formed by translucent metal scrims floating overhead. The quality of light within the promenade varies with the constantly changing Pacific Northwest sky.

    At Home in Massachusetts

    In the residential design category, the Award of Excellence was cosponsored by Garden Design magazine and went to Stone Meadow, near Chilmark, on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

    The design by Stephen Stimson Associates is on a six-acre (2.4-hectare) site that faces open meadows, with rough stone walls bounding and dividing the site into three unequal parcels. The site slopes gently from a wooded northern edge to open meadow, providing a single-family house and guesthouse wide views southwest to the Atlantic Ocean.

    The landscape architect incorporated the existing hedgerows, meadow, and wetland into the site design, which is reflected in the materials and geometry of the entry gate fabricated by local craftsmen from granite, oak, and fir, with bronze hardware.

    Fieldstone walls create a boundary between meadow and lawn. Most of the stones for these walls were salvaged from the existing site. The stones of an old granite foundation were salvaged to construct the pool coping and retaining wall.

    Several large deciduous trees were planted near the kitchen and family rooms for shade. The ocean view remains unobstructed, underlined by long edges of stone wall, flush with the lawn. Paths are mown through meadows, providing access to the beach through the undulating topography. About this project the jury stated: "[its] simplicity makes the emotional connection between the landscape and the visitor."

    On the Mend in Charleston

    The ASLA Award of Excellence in the analysis and planning category went to a study titled The New American City: The Noisette Community of North Charleston, conducted by BNIM Architects and Burt Hill Inc.

    This Noisette Community Master Plan began in response to a 1993 Defense Department decision to close the Charleston Naval Base. Rather than bemoan the perceived loss to the local economy, the City of Charleston decided instead to adopt a vision for a vibrant, healthy city, embracing its heritage and celebrating its role as a community, ecosystem, and marketplace.

    The Master Plan is based on principles for ensuring a future of prosperity, opportunity, social harmony, educational excellence, and ecological restoration. It is the product of a five-year collaborative discovery process by citizens, civic leaders, ecologists, educators, artists, and design and planning professionals.

    By analyzing historical development patterns, the planning team learned how the land was transformed into an urban community from an undisturbed ecosystem, often with unintended consequences. Now, the tidal marsh, as one example, is being restored to its ecological diversity and role as a storm buffer.

    The study also proposes ways to regenerate mixed land-use patterns, increase urban density, enhance the sense of neighborhood identity, develop sustainable infrastructure, and make neighborhoods pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly. Together, these elements form the integrated planning basis for establishing the Noisette Community of North Charleston as a leading example of sustainable urban redevelopment in the United States.

    Collectively, these projects and the other award recipients demonstrate a commitment of municipalities, professionals, and individuals to a more sensitive stewardship of urban and rural landscapes.

    The ASLA jury includes Gary R. Hilderbrand, FASLA, Beth Dunlop, Edward A. Feiner, Terence Harkness, FASLA, Suzanne Turner, FASLA, Mia Lehrer, ASLA, Todd Johnson, ASLA, Bill Marken, Barbara E. Wilks, ASLA, and Karen Jessup. Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects representing the disciplines of land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation, and rehabilitation.

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    AW

    ArchWeek Image

    The Heart of the Park at Hermann Park in Houston, designed by SWA Group and Olin Partnership, Ltd., was one of two ASLA Award of Excellence recipients.
    Photo: Tom Fox/ SWA Group

    ArchWeek Image

    The Kreielsheimer Promenade at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, in Seattle, designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd., received an ASLA Award of Excellence.
    Photo: Gareth Loveridge/ Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd.

    ArchWeek Image

    Promenade site plan.
    Image: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd.

    ArchWeek Image

    A view toward the South Terrace lawn is revealed as visitors move through the promenade.
    Photo: Gareth Loveridge/ Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd.

    ArchWeek Image

    In the residential design category, the Award of Excellence, cosponsored by Garden Design magazine, went to Stone Meadow, designed by Stephen Stimson Associates.
    Photo: Charles Mayer Photography

    ArchWeek Image

    Stone walls demarcate lawns and meadows.
    Photo: Charles Mayer Photography

    ArchWeek Image

    Garden path at Stone Meadow.
    Photo: Charles Mayer Photography

    ArchWeek Image

    "The New American City: The Noisette Community of North Charleston," a study, conducted by BNIM Architects and Burt Hill Inc., received the ASLA Award of Excellence in the analysis and planning category.
    Image: BNIM Architects and Burt Hill Inc.

     

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