The annual ASLA awards have been announced and there is a slight relief to the ever expanding trophy cases of the Hargreave's and Peter Walker's with some relatively less profiled shops taking honors. One being Turenscape (can someone explain how they qualify for an American award?) who took away three awards in the General Design Category. One exciting aspect that a majority of the winners seemed to share was an emphasis on ecology integration and sustainable practices. I've highlighted a few below that tickled my fancy:
The Qinhuangdao Beach Restoration: An Ecological Surgery Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province, China
I particularly appreciated the heavy emphasis on ecological restoration and impact the design focused on. The project created a regenerative landscape that also serves as a beautiful and usable people space. The project brief from ASLA:
Using various Regenerative Design techniques, a heavily eroded, badly abused and decaying beach has been ecologically recovered and successfully transformed into an aethestically pleasing and well visited place, demonstrating landscape architects can professionally facilitate the initiatives of rebuilding a harmonious relationship between man and nature through ecological design.
Sonoran Landscape Laboratory Tuscon, Arizona USA
In a relatively restricted space Ten Eyck were able to create a functional wildlife habitat, nicely scaled and comfortable space, that gives a sense of being much larger then as truly exists. The project brief from ASLA:
The Sonoran Landscape Laboratory is a high performance landscape functioning as both an outdoor classroom and entry plaza. It exemplifies sustainable strategies of water harvesting, climate regulation, air and water cleansing, recycling, urban wildlife habitat and human well being. The former greyfield is now a thriving habitat that shades the southern exposure of the new building with a vine covered scrim. An 11,600-gallon tank collects water produced by the building to support the native garden.
The Brochstein Pavilion at Rice University Houston, Texas USA
Studio: The Office of James Burnett
OJB is no newbie to the award scene, but we're a fan of their work. The pavilion's simplistic forms, clean lines, and broad planting strokes give an ordered beauty and extremely well defined space that also provide protection from Houston heat. The project brief from ASLA:
Conceived as a landmark destination for Rice University's campus, the Brochstein Pavilion demonstrates the ability of landscape architecture to foster social interaction and improve the human condition. A study in restraint and the purity of form, the Brochstein Pavilion creates a powerful spatial framework that has transformed an unstructured, underutilized quadrangle into the center of student activity on campus.
The Power House Dallas, Texas USA
Studio: Hocker Design Group
Two of our favorite residential projects come from a studio I wasn't familiar with, Hocker Design Group, which received two residential awards. The Power House exemplifies a well thought process of modern material selection and spatial structure. The project brief from ASLA:
This neighborhood electrical substation was built in 1923 by Dallas Power and Light Company in a mixed residential and commercial area of town. This urban garden has sprung to life with in the walls of a former industrial compound. The garden fills spaces that directly relate back to its original industrial predecessor.
The Pool House Dallas, Texas USA
Studio: Hocker Design Group
Another winner from Hocker, the division and spatial sequencing seems well maticulated, and I am particularly fond of the contrasting material selection. The project brief from ASLA:
The Pool House serves as an urban retreat for an artist and car enthusiast who live next door. The project was an intense collaboration of architect, client, and landscape architect. The central spine of the site is a 6' ht. glass slag privacy wall. Seamless transitions between the inside and out were extremely important. A minimal plant palette creates mass plantings used for large textural impact and screening for privacy.
Of course there are several other winning works viewable from the ASLA site. Enjoy, and would like to hear any discussion of criticism on the selected works.