All images from ASLA
Each year the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) awards prizes to noteworthy landscape architectural projects from around the world. These projects reflect the ASLA’s mission to “lead, educate, and participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments.” They also serve to inspire those in the projects’ communities to become better stewards of their environments.
Below are a few of our favorite projects, for the way they create engaging outdoor spaces around a new architectural project or an old infrastructural one.
CONNECTICUT WATER TREATMENT FACILITY – NEW HAVEN, CT
Above is the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority’s water treatment facility, adjacent to the Eli Whitney Museum and Historic Barn in New Haven, Connecticut. Carefully planned, the ecologically diverse environment is designed to be experienced by the surrounding community.
Deliberately created, the miniature replica of the surrounding regional water shed invites you to trace the water’s path from mountain to reservoir. As you make your way through the landscape, you are invited to experience the interaction between water and land. Once a flat lawn, now undulating swales craft visual interest and create grounding topography. Working collaboratively with the landscape architect, the architect’s design places the majority of the building below grade and includes a 30,000 s.f green roof, the largest in Connecticut. The section of the building above grade is sculptural, mimicking the flow of the landscape, and allowing natural landscape elements to take precedence.
THE HIGH LINE – NEW YORK CITY, NY
Originally designed to carry freight traffic 30 feet above street level , crossing New York City’s historic Meat Packing District, the High Line railway saw its last railcar in 1980. While unsightly and silent over the ensuing 25 years, nature had her own re-use agenda in mind. A thin layer of soil deposited itself and an “opportunistic landscape of early successional species began to grow”. High Line’s new use captured the imagination of enthused New Yorkers.
Friends of the High Line began work on the unprecedented and ambitious mission to transform the elevated rail structure into a magnificently amazing park. The ultimate innovative design creates an urban corridor that is less a pathway and more a rambling, furrowed landscape that invites you to stroll within.
- The first .5 mile of park provides nearly three acres of habitat for animals, insects, and birds
- 210 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees provide seasonal interest, texture, fragrance, height and color variation.
- Green roof systems and technologies enhance water management. Over 80% of the water that falls on High Line stays on High Line and is used for irrigation.
- Energy-efficient LED lighting is installed below eye level to illuminate pathways while creating an environment that allows visitors to appreciate the city beyond and the nighttime sky.
NUEVA SCHOOL – HILLSBOROUGH, CA
Nueva School is situated at the top of a hill with views to a bay beyond. The design of the “new campus” incorporates linear water elements, river stones, changes in grade, subtle treatment of the paving, and green space to draw you through. These same elements connect you to the larger landscape and help to create smaller defined outdoor areas. The water features act as a learning tool and manage storm water. Utilizing the natural topography of the site, the buildings are clustered around an existing ridgeline, a natural amphitheater exists at a lower level, and buildings are oriented to maximize solar access. Collaboration between the architect and landscape architect resulted in green roofs covering the library and student center.
BROCHSTEIN PAVILION AT RICE UNIVERSITY – HOUSTON, TX
Located in Houston, Texas, Rice University’s Brochstein Pavillion arises as an oasis in the middle of what was once an underutilized quadrangle. Thanks to the newest addition to the university, a new social center hub exists for students and visitors.
The unpretentious and nearly transparent 6,000 square foot glass, steel, and aluminum structure exists harmoniously within a complex grid of specimen elm trees, African Iris and long black concrete water trays. Students and visitors have the luxury of enjoying their natural surroundings where ever they are seated, inside or out.
Click here to see an example of a recent landscape collaboration of ours for a historic property.
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”
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