5 Great Projects Changing the Way We Look at Landscape Architecture


A designer’s work influences other designers — and this is as true in the landscape architecture community as it is anywhere else. Because noticing creative projects is a key part of finding fresh inspiration, it’s helpful to observe some of the most influential landscape designs in the recent market and see what other designers are seeing. Checking out innovative designs provides new ideas and inspires new ways of creating outdoor spaces. With that in mind, here are a few of the most interesting and inspiring landscape designs currently out there, along with thoughts on why they’re important to landscaping architecture and design. 1. Lincoln Park SoundScape in New World Symphony Campus, Miami Beach, Fla. by West 8


“Soundscape Lincoln Park” by grahamc99 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

With its trapezoidal pergolas and lacey palms, Lincoln Park Soundscape sets a new precedent for parks in the South Florida area. Despite being small in size (slightly larger than 1 hectare), this site still manages to have a green, park-like feel, while also boasting some one-of-a-kind features like pergolas with shapes inspired by the cumulous clouds common in the region, hand-fabricated and painted aluminum structures to provide shade as well as flower support, and a projection wall at the adjacent Symphony Hall building for featuring the work of video projection artists from New World Symphony. “Open to the public in January 2011, Miami Beach SoundScape Park is a unified expression of recreation, pleasure and culture,” says West 8, the urban design and landscape architecture firm behind the project. “Combined with the momentum of the symphony hall’s uses and outstanding architecture, the New World Symphony campus has become a world-class destination that marries music, design and experience.” 2. Crown Sky Garden, Chicago, Ill. by Mikyoung Kim Design
Colors used to great effect at the Crown Sky Garden; credit:  credit: Mikyoung Kim Design

Colors used to great effect at the Crown Sky Garden; credit: credit: Mikyoung Kim Design

Set within the Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the Crown Sky Garden is a 5,000-square-foot area on the building’s 11th floor, called “a sanctuary for patients, families, doctors and administrators” by World Landscape Architect. It features a restorative healing garden with light, water and vibrant colors. What’s more, the 12th floor has protected treehouse space in order to give kids with health conditions that prevent them from being in the main garden a space to enjoy. The garden won an American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) honor award in 2013. 3. Shangri La Botanical Gardens, Orange, Texas by Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects

“Demonstration Ponds Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center” by Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center

Called “a hub of environmental awareness and education about regional landscapes and animal habitats” by ASLA, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center is the first LEED Platinum-NC project in Texas, and when it first opened in 2008 it was one of only 50 Platinum projects in the world. Set on 252 acres in southeast Texas, Shangri La Botanical Garden has a design that makes wildlife processes visible in the natural context of landscape, botanical gardens with more than 300 plant species, a hands-on Nature Discovery Center and a reputation for being one of the most Earth-friendly projects in the world. 4. Lakewood Garden Mausoleum at Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minn. by Joan Soranno, FAIA and John Cook, FAIA of HGA Architects and Engineers “Lakewood Cemetery’s historical importance and impeccably manicured grounds make it a treasured landmark and community asset in the City’s Uptown neighborhood,” says Arch Daily. A private, non-sectarian cemetery set on 250 rolling acres, Lakewood Cemetery is a revered place of rest for many of Minnesota’s most esteemed former citizens, with names like Humphrey, Wellstone and Pillsbury. So when the architects at HGA were tasked with creating a large, 24,500-square-foot building that would add to the setting without ruining its beauty, they knew to choose a location that would consolidate traffic and infrastructure, preserving as much of the surrounding landscape as possible. Their resulting creation was also winner of the ASLA Award of Excellence in 2013.

Photo credit: Lakewood Cemetery Association

5. Sherbourne Common, Toronto, Ontario by Phillips Farevaag Smalleberg Canada’s first park to integrate a UV purification facility that treats neighborhood stormwater into its design, Sherbourne Common features a number of sustainable practices: a high percentage of locally available materials, native or regionally adapted trees and water-efficient plant materials to reduce the need for irrigation. It is also one of the first parks in the country to pursue LEED Gold certification. The park received an honor award from ASLA and was also named one of the best new parks in the world by The Atlantic website The Atlantic Cities. “Sherbourne Common is both major civic amenity and poetic stormwater treatment infrastructure, and a key component of the renaissance of Toronto’s waterfront,” says ASLA.

“Sherbourne Commons” by Joseph Morris is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The five projects listed above illustrate some of the coolest, most creative projects in the industry now — but this list is by no means exhaustive. As a field that’s both practical and artistic, landscape architecture is always birthing new concepts and ways of implementing green space. What will the future hold for the industry? What new styles and concepts will emerge? Only time will tell. But by keeping up with new projects and structures, landscape architects can continue to inspire one another onto greater and greater levels of brilliance. Related Articles:

About the author: Jeff Caldwell is the Brand Manager of Superior Shelter in Carrollton, GA. Accepting custom shelter projects from landscape architects and designers globally, Litchfield Landscape Elements designs outdoor shelters, such as pergolas, steel shelters and gazebos, specific to your outdoor architectural project. Return to Homepage

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