World Landscape Architecture - landscape architecture webzine 2014-09-17T14:57:11Z WordPress Damian Holmes <![CDATA[Call for Submissions | The International Garden Festival 2015]]> 2014-09-16T12:05:48Z 2014-09-17T14:57:11Z ]]> Pink Punch Louise Tanguay

2014 International Garden Festival | Pink Punch | Nicholas Croft & Michaela MacLeod | Image: Louise Tanguay

The International Garden Festival,  presented at the Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens in the Gaspésie region of Québec, is preparing  its 16th edition and is issuing an international call for proposals to select designers who will create the new temporary gardens that will be presented from June 27 to September 27, 2015.

“Buzz” is the operative word guiding the 2015 Festival. The installations selected by the jury will have  a special energy and connection to the natural world. The temporary gardens will have a central  concept that will be clearly articulated and a degree of interactivity that encourages visitors to enter  with enthusiasm and leave with a wish to dialogue and discuss. They will be bold or earthy, complex  or very simple. The goal is to intrigue visitors with the unusual or to impress by new ways of  presenting what is common. Incorporating vegetables and/or aromatic, medicinal or edible plants, the  new gardens will be full of colour and intensity.

This call for proposals is open to all landscape architects, architects, designers and artists from Canada and abroad. For complete information on this call for proposals, those interested should consult the web site:

The deadline for the submission of entries is MONDAY NOVEMBER 17, 2014 at 5 pm EST.

Damian Holmes <![CDATA[5 design teams unveil designs for Presidio Parklands]]> 2014-09-16T12:41:02Z 2014-09-15T14:11:30Z ]]> Z-JCFO-FRONT

IMAGE CREDIT | TEAM James Corner Field Operations

Five international landscape architecture and design teams recently presented their concepts for 13 new acres of Presidio parklands. The new parklands will be created by the replacement of the elevated highway (Doyle Drive) that has cut through the Presidio for seven decades, with a below-grade roadway covered by tunnels. The Presidio Trust, in partnership with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and National Park Service, asked the five teams to develop creative concepts to inspire ideas about what could happen at the site.



The five teams: CMG Landscape Architecture, James Corner Field Operations, OLIN, SNØHETTA, and West 8 Team, presented their concepts at a public meeting . The teams were selected from 25 respondents to a request for qualifications in March, 2014. They were provided with a stipend and tasked with developing conceptual design and programming for the new landscape.


U | Team OLIN
OLIN, Olson Kundig, Biohabitats, Local Projects, Natural Learning Initiave and Hertiage Landscapes

“The U is a socio-ecotone, a site which weaves the inherent characteristics of two adjacent places. The project site sits on the edge of two very different landscapes. Historically, ecologically, and socially, the Gateway site must link together these adjacencies as well as form an identity of its own. Utilizing the form of the U, we are able to literally embrace components of each adjacent site, focus views to landscapes well beyond the project site, and frame a new set of exciting programs within.”







PRESIDIO POINT | Team James Corner Field Operations
James Corner Field Operations, Rockweel Group, Grergoire Associates, Page & Turnbull, Perry & Associates, Richard Turner, HR&A Advisors, and MKA Engineers.

“This new locus, or center-point, is afforded by extending the plateau of the Presidio out over tunnels, projecting a raised platform and terrace for absorbing the full panoramic spectrum while fully connecting the uplands to the lowlands and the Bay. From this point radiates a host of journeys and pathways to some of the Park’s most spectacular destinations. The point becomes a nexus, a gathering place, a meeting place, a central hub.”



IMAGE CREDIT | Team James Corner Field Operations


IMAGE CREDIT | Team James Corner Field Operations

arcs & strands | Team SNØHETTA
SNØHETTA, Hood Design Studio, MIG, Center For Eco-literacy and Magnusson Klemencic Associates
“Grounded in the cultural and environmental context of the Presidio, the design framework for the Presidio Gateway is defined as an interplay of “Arcs” and “Strands”. Our proposal explores the tensions between these dynamic natural and cultural systems, and creates opportunities for the impact of these forces to become legible over time, creating new experiences for visitors and inhabitants alike.”





cmg landscape architecture, the exploratorium: studio for public spaces, Susan Schwartzenberg, ehdd mJm management, contemporanea, steelblue, kristina hill, and Rob Mcginnis/OCULUS
“Our design achieves this by integrating the contiguous landscape types and creating habitats for native plants, wildlife, and people. Finally, we provide opportunities to frame, enhance, and highlight the views and natural phenomena in a variety of experiences and destina-tions, from the grand to the intimate. We call our project the Obser-vation Post, which like the Main Post, is a collection of buildings and landscapes. Our project also replaces the existing Observation Post building with a new structure that better serves the goal of observing.”





PRESIDIO | Team West 8
West 8 New York,  Bionic, Sitelab urban studio, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, Jensen Architects, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Architectural Resources Group,  Nelson Nygaard, Wendy MacNaughton, Volume Inc., ESA, ETM Associates LLC, and AECOM.

“We believe that apt gestures, such as our proposed Eclipse, remind us that a melding of modern forms in a picturesque settings, can transform the familiar while stirring and enriching our souls. They grow out of an understanding of a cultural landscape’s dynamic evolution, while balancing design, programmatic and stewardship objectives. This is our philosophical approach for The Gateway, and it is also how we measure success.”


Team West 8


Team West 8



Damian Holmes <![CDATA[KERB 22 Launches]]> 2014-09-14T07:20:50Z 2014-09-14T23:55:45Z ]]>

Kerb 22: Remoteness Launch from Melbourne Books on Vimeo.

The 22nd edition of KERB – Journal of Landscape Architecture launched at the RMIT University Design Hub in Melbourne, Australia. The journal is unique in being compiled and edited each year by a small group of students, who select a range of articles pertinent to the dedicated theme of each edition. The theme for KERB 22 is remoteness.

Kerb 22 interrogates the notion of remoteness from four viewpoints, identifying opportunities of engagement within spaces balancing on the edge of tangibility, or deeply virtually sited. This issue of Kerb aims to establish connectivity between the entities that lie within a greater territory, calling for the interrogation of space. Whether through the distribution of physical settlements or through the definition of virtual boundaries, mediating the divide places remoteness within a near-instantaneous reach; enabling us to grasp and employ the remote as a tool for spatial negotiation.

Contributors for KERB 22 include Benjamin H. Bratton, Mond Qu, Tiago Torres-Campos, Ryan Dewey, Alex Breedon, Gross.Max, Frances Edith Cooper, José Alfredo Ramirez/Clara Olóriz, Pierre Bélanger, Rene Van Meeuwen, Michael Light, Casey Lance Brown/Rob Holmes, James Ramsey, Ja Kyung Kim, William Clancey, Mario Accordino/Jarrad Newman, Lateral Office, Natalya Egon/Noel Turgeon, Niki Kakali/Anastasia Kotenko, Ian Strange, Jock Gilbert and Shaun Gladwell

Purchase your copy at Melbourne Books. The Print Edition is AUD$24.95 (plus Postage) or $14.95 for Digital

Damian Holmes <![CDATA[This Week in Landscape | 14 September 2014]]> 2014-09-14T07:04:41Z 2014-09-14T07:04:41Z ]]> These Synthetic Landscapes Respond To Nature In Real Time To Protect Us-And The Planet | Adele Peters | Fast Co.
A landscape architect [Bradley Cantrell] imagines a world where levees react automatically to floods and tiny robots keep water clean from pollution.

LA River proposed as the city’s next great public space | Allison Engel | USC News
Bridges, overpasses and underused lots are seen as potential sites for permanent arts installations

Urban Plunge – open swimming in the heart of the city | Jane Withers | Ecologist
“With the growing trend for natural swimming in cities new opportunities are opening for architects and designers to create dramatic, inspiring, enjoyable new public spaces in urban waterways….”

Turkey’s natural, cultural heritage jeopardized by construction boom | SALİM AVCI | Sunday’s Zarman
“Experts have pointed out that if the forest north of İstanbul is destroyed, the city will no longer be able to breathe, and it will lose its water sources”

Sunk: City cuts swimming pool barge from waterfront design plan
“The city has decided to nix a floating barge with a swimming pool from plans for a vast new public space along Seattle’s downtown waterfront.”

Landscape architecture students get an Oneida Rail Trail wish-list | Bill Lucia |
“….about 20 landscape architecture students from SUNY ESF in Syracuse worked with groups of interested city residents to compile a “wish list” of what they would like to see in future developments of Rail Trail sections.”

Maintaining playgrounds: CDA seeks private sector’s assistance | Obaid Abbasi | The Express Tribune
ISLAMABAD: The capital’s civic managers in a bid to shore up budget for playgrounds maintenance have come up with an idea of allowing private companies to use certain spaces of playgrounds for advertisement.

Landscapes and plants in drought: Finding the best options for your garden | LA Times
“These plants are bulletproof for most gardens,” Manzo says. “Grevilleas are easy to grow, they have a long bloom time and the hummingbirds love them.”

Modern gardening is about sensibilities | Valerie Easton | Seattle Times
“Being respectful of Earth’s resources and your own time and energies is modern. Gardens are becoming more utilitarian as people grow their own food, create spaces for sanctuary and healing, and perhaps downsize their gardening ambitions along with their homes.”

Damian Holmes <![CDATA[Olympicopolis | Design Competition for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Cultural District | UPDATE]]> 2014-09-12T13:56:05Z 2014-09-11T00:45:30Z ]]> Olypicos

The ‘Olympicopolis’ Design Competition is now open with the organisers seeking “a multi-disciplinary design team of the highest quality, which can realise the project’s objectives and relate to the client and the partner ensemble.”. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Culture and Education Quarter is a multi-faceted design challenge, drawing on skills in masterplanning, architecture and public realm design, along with planning, engineering and cost consultancy.

Expressions of Interest by 2 pm UK time October 17, 2014. This is a two-stage, international design competition. Initially Expressions of Interest are sought. Following the first stage, five teams will be shortlisted for the second stage.

Get more information at ‘Olympicopolis’ Competition website

21 JULY 2014

The Mayor Boris Johnsonannounced new measures to accelerate the economic, social and cultural potential of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford and East London.  Plans for a world class education and cultural quarter on the Park are to be brought to life through an international design competition to find a team to design ‘Olympicopolis’.

This new quarter on Stratford waterfront at the gateway to the site will bring together outstanding organisations to showcase exceptional art, dance, history, craft, science, technology and cutting edge design. Internationally renowned institutions, The Victoria and Albert Museum and Sadler’s Wells are planning to occupy the new development with University College London planning a move to a neighbouring site south of Anish Kapoor’s Orbit sculpture.

The international, open, two-stage design competition for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s cultural and education hub will launch in September 2014. Get more information at ‘Olympicopolis’ Competition website.

Damian Holmes <![CDATA[HAO / Holm Architecture Office and AI have been chosen as a shared winner of the Eco City Binhai Master Plan]]> 2014-09-09T12:09:20Z 2014-09-10T01:08:17Z ]]> Rendering_5_HAO
HAO / Holm Architecture Office and AI have been chosen as a shared winner of the Eco City Binhai Master Plan, situated outside Tianjin in Northern China and covering an area of 49,2 acres / 200,000 M2. The plan includes a new Central Business District (CBD) and five new cultural buildings. The project has been chosen as a finalist for this years WAF in Singapore.


The Binhai Eco City Master Plan is the result of a unique collaboration between the Chinese and Singaporean governments. The project was conceived as a case study for a completely green development, emphasizing the use of renewable energy and the direct integration of natural surroundings into the built environment.


The project consists of a new Central Business District (CBD) as well as five new cultural buildings with programs ranging from exhibition spaces to libraries and dedicated educational space to sports facilities. Where the CBD will provide valuable new office space and create a bustling new city center, the cultural buildings will become the educational heart of the plan.


Both the CBD and the central cultural buildings are all designed to minimize energy use, and all incorporate ideas of passive building design, utilizing solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling to achieve near zero impact structures.





The entire master plan sits on a raised plateau, allocating traffic and service to a lower level, establishing the new Eco City Master Plan as a green pedestrian oasis within the larger development of the new Binhai area. The overall plan integrates and merges the cultural belt towards the water with the new CBD, drawing green areas towards the plan’s center.



“ The proposed ‘finger plan’ mimics an open, outstretched, hand, creating an environment that directly integrates nature and living. This design allows the green areas to slide in-between each finger, inviting direct interaction throughout the day and night and creates five islands that house the cultural buildings. The direct access to the green surroundings makes the Eco City Master Plan distinctive and affords its future inhabitants a vibrant and healthy place to live, work and play.” – Jens Holm, Founder, HAO






Eco City Binhai Master Plan

Program: Museum, Exhibition, Sports Center, Hotel, Library & Financial District.

Type: Invited Competition, Shared .1st Prize. WAF Finalist 2014.

Size: 49,2 Acres / 200,000 M2.

Client: SINO Singapore.

Location: Binhai, Tianjin, China.

Status: Ongoing.

Collaborator: AI, Kragh & Berglund (Landscape), Buro Happold.

Damian Holmes <![CDATA[Brookfield Place­ | Perth, Australia | HASSELL]]> 2014-09-06T15:17:12Z 2014-09-08T00:55:45Z ]]> 2_Brookfield-Place_DouglasMarkBlack

Image Credit | Douglas Mark Black

Brookfield Place is a landmark destination in the Australian city of Perth, attracting thousands of people who go there to work, eat, drink and relax. The site covers an entire city block. Unused for 30 years, it was a scar on the central business district. Today, it is a vibrant, mixed-use precinct that houses the world’s largest resources company and some of Perth’s best restaurants and leisure activities.


Image Credit | Peter Bennetts

The centrepiece of the project is a 46-level commercial office tower that has redefined the city’s skyline, though its careful integration with six refurbished heritage buildings and the surrounding open spaces has ensured that the street level experience is distinctly human. The tower meets the ground in a manner that respects the existing city form, creating a rich new layer of public urban space that acknowledge Perth’s heritage as well as responding to the needs of a dynamic, contemporary city.

Image Credit | Peter Bennetts

Image Credit | Peter Bennetts

Commenting on Brookfield Place’s contribution to the city, Perth City Lord Mayor, Lisa Scaffidi, said: “From any vantage point, Brookfield Place stands out very loudly and proudly and I love the fact that it has such bold architecture, and yet, at the ground plane you’ve got this beautiful intricate, interconnection into the existing heritage fabric along St Georges Terrace.”
The success of Brookfield Place is based on an inter-disciplinary design collaboration, which brought together architects, workplace designers, landscape architects, urban designers and heritage specialists. The HASSELL design team worked together with the client and project partners to create an integrated precinct that builds on the evolution of high-performance commercial architecture, and extends that generosity to the public realm.

Image Credit | Peter Bennetts

Image Credit | Peter Bennetts

The well-crafted public realm plays an integral role in the precinct’s successful activation. The precinct has been overlaid by a ‘street and lane’ pattern derived from the surrounding city form. The spatial planning combines clear open sightlines with intimate ‘discovered’ spaces. A key move in the heritage refurbishment and integration involved exposing the basement zones of the historic buildings, by scraping away the ground immediately to the south. This created a collection of open-air, lower-street settings that are protected from the elements and perfectly suited to alfresco dining. Pre-cast bridges and stairs span this lower level, forming connections through the precinct and down into the atmospheric new restaurants and bars, that hum with activity.


Image Credit | Douglas Mark Black

HASSELL Associate, Aysen Jenkins recently explained the practice’s landscape response, saying: “Good landscape design for a tower development like this, is really about scale and texture, and adding those dynamic qualities to a space … It creates a human scale. It makes people want to stay a little while, rather than just move through. They want to sit down and enjoy the spaces.

Image Credit | Douglas Mark Black

Image Credit | Douglas Mark Black

High quality and robust, yet elegantly lightweight materials characterise Brookfield Place’s open and adaptable spaces, allowing a range of different uses into the future without significant changes to the original built fabric.

Image Credit | Douglas Mark Black

Image Credit | Douglas Mark Black

At the podium level, discrete entry plazas are surrounded by mature trees, a combination of integrated and changeable landscape elements, and passive seating spaces; all enhanced at night by specialist lighting.

Image Credit | Douglas Mark Black

Image Credit | Douglas Mark Black

Abstract effects in the paving and tactile casts in the seating bring a narrative layer to the public realm, sharing stories of site’s former uses and the city’s history and making. The text and quotes featured in the seating come from the first edition of the West Australian newspaper that was once printed on site.

Image Credit | Douglas Mark Black

Image Credit | Douglas Mark Black


Image Credit | Douglas Mark Black

Brookfield Place has received several industry awards since completion for outstanding architecture, urban design and heritage adaptation. Most recently the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (WA) presented the design team with the 2014 Excellence Award for Design in Landscape Architecture, commenting: “At the footprint of one of Perth’s tallest buildings the user feels neither dwarfed nor insignificant. The tower meets the ground in a manner that creates a rich new layer of urban spaces which have been a major contributing factor in the success of the precinct’s commercial, retail, food and beverage tenancies.”


Image Credit | Peter Bennetts

Brookfield Place has dramatically changed the way Perth uses its prime business district. It brings Western Australians’ love of outdoor leisure into the city centre for the enjoyment of all – from the start of each working day, well into the night.


Image Credit | Peter Bennetts


Brookfield Place­ | Perth, Australia | HASSELL

Landscape Architecture, Urban Design: HASSELL

Architecture: HASSELL and Fitzpatrick + Partners

Interior Design: HASSELL

Heritage Architecture: Palassis Architects

Client: Brookfield Multiplex

Photography: Douglas Mark Black; Peter Bennetts




Damian Holmes <![CDATA[This Week in Landscape | 7 September 2014]]> 2014-09-07T05:28:44Z 2014-09-07T05:28:44Z ]]> Inquiry announced into flood mitigation and resilience | Landscape Institute
“The All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment has announced its 3rd Inquiry. It will look at the problems caused to the UK by flooding and examine the potential for greater mitigation of these problems and significantly improving flood resilience including the potential for adaptation to changing environmental pressures.”

Rock star | Charmaine Chan | South China Morning Post
Zen priest Shunmyo Masuno designs sublime gardens around the world and the man of many hats has brought his concept of minimalist beauty to Sheung Wan.

From bald prairie to urban forest, Calgary’s treescape has come a long way | Richard White | Calgary Herald
“Today, Calgary boasts 445,000 trees in our groomed parks and boulevards, worth an estimated $400 million. The value of individual trees ranges from $300 to $33,000.”

Garden cities are back in vogue, and that’s good for debate about where to build homes | Anthony Alexander | The Conversation
“Today, a renaissance of the Edwardian garden city idea seeks to challenge the piecemeal in-fill of urban centres and former industrial sites, or the slow creep of suburbia via urban extensions.”

Design profile: Q&A with Marcel Wilson of Bionic Landscape Architecture | Jordan Guinn |
“Marcel Wilson, the principal of San Francisco-based Bionic Landscape Architecture, sees every project as a possibility for invention.”

9/11 names to remember are fading away | David Abel | Boston Globe
“A decade after officials inaugurated it in a quiet corner of the Boston Public Garden, the muted memorial to the 206 people with ties to Massachusetts who died in the terrorist attacks appears to be deteriorating.”


Damian Holmes <![CDATA[WLA Magazine | Call for Submissions | WLA 16]]> 2014-09-04T13:29:09Z 2014-09-04T13:29:09Z ]]> WLA16-CALL

We have just published WLA 15 – LARGE – the latest edition of WLA magazine and now we are putting out the Call for Submissions for WLA 16; An unthemed edition publishing a variety of conceptual and built projects from 2013-2014.

How to submit your project?

1. Select your 5 to 10 best images with a minimum 1200 pixels wide at 150dpi in jpg format. – images of competition boards, watermarked images, etc will not be accepted.
2. Write 300-1000 words English original descriptive text about the project in word format or emails (no pdfs allowed).
3. List the project name, location, design firm, consultants(architects, artists, engineers, constractors, etc) and the credits for images and text.
4. Include a note stating that you or the company ”own the copyright to the project, images and text and give World Landscape Architecture the right to publish the work digitally and/or in hard copy format.”
5. Email the files and text to with the subject “WLA16– Project Title– Designer” (replace Project Title with your project’s title and Designer with your design firm name)
make sure the file also is named “WLA16– Project Title – Designer

Please send any files larger that 10Mb via or – NOTE: We will not download or accept any file or submission over 100Mb.

By sending or sharing files with World Landscape Architecture you confirm you own the copyright to the project, images and text and give World Landscape Architecture the right to publish the work digitally and/or in hard copy format.


1. Who can submit a project?
Design Companies, Students, Designers, Academics, Government Departments or Authorities.

2. What projects can be submitted?
Conceptual or built projects can be gardens, residential , commercial, urban design, master plans, competition entries, student studio designs, art, pop-up, installations and all other types and scale of project. If you are unsure you can send us 2-3 images and a short description and we will advise whether we would publish the project.

3. What format should the images be in?
We prefer the images to be in JPG or TIF at a minimum 1200 pixels wide at 150 dpi. We accept images of higher resolution.

4. How will I know if my project has been received and will you contact us if we are selected to be published?
We will notify by email that we have received your submission. We only notify those who are successful.

5. What is the fee for submission?
Publiction of Projects is FREE. We do not charge fees to submit or publish projects

If you have any questions about submitting a project please send emails to


All the material you submit should be copyright of the representative company or person. Please DO NOT submit any text or images if you do not have the rights for publication.

When you submit the material you agree to licence World Landscape Architecture the rights to publish the materials on

DEADLINE | September 30th, 2014 11:59PM Honolulu Time

Please get submissions in as early as possible. Multiple entries are acceptable however only one project will be selected.

Damian Holmes <![CDATA[INTERVIEW | David Rubin on `The Commonground`]]> 2014-09-03T14:01:25Z 2014-09-03T13:56:59Z ]]> Image Credit | ©Land Collective

Image Credit | ©Land Collective

Recently, Eskenazi Health opened The Commonground, an outdoor public plaza design led by LAND COLLECTIVE Principal David Rubin. The plaza is just over an acre large and located adjacent to a historic Olmsted Brothers’ landscape which is part of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. As part of the design guidelines which Rubin developed for the entirety of the Hospital Campus, a new Wellness Trail helps connect the new hospital to its community and the City’s cultural amenities and developing Cultural Trail. The new campus, including the plaza and facility expansion by HOK, is now on track to become the first LEED® Silver certified hospital campus in the country. World Landscape Architecture recently had the opportunity to interview David Rubin about “The Commonground”….



David Rubin |Image Credit | © Land Collective

WLA | The Commonground is a new public plaza opened recently at Eskenazi Health campus in Indianapolis. Can you tell us more about the space and your involvement with the project?

David | A little more than five years ago, Matt Gutwein, President and CEO of Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County, cold-called me at my former studio to gauge my interest in the design of a new public space in Indianapolis at Eskenazi Health Hospital (then Wishard Hospital). What was extraordinary about this call was Matt’s enthusiasm for the services which the hospital offered the community of Indianapolis and Marion County: the highest possible health service for all of the area’s citizens, whether people of means or those who are economically challenged. He described a service that reached the full spectrum of our society – an extraordinary vision for civic health and well-being.

What Matt may not have initially realized as he made his impassioned telephone pitch was that he was speaking to someone whose philosophy of design made him a kindred spirit. What Eskenazi Health does through health services, LAND COLLECTIVE’s practice does through design: our mission is to bring the full spectrum of our society into a dialogue through empathy-driven design. Whether you are someone who is privileged or underserved, you have a place in landscape. And as a result of our collaboration, whether you are seeking the services of Eskenazi Hospital or not, there is an opportunity for everyone to participate on The Commonground.

My role on the project was establishing the overall project vision for the commons and the campus. As design lead, I informed all site-related elements, working with local landscape architects Ratio and Context; executive landscape architects Olin; trellis architects Diller, Scofidio + Renfro; fountain designers Fluidity Design Consultants; and design architects HOK (who designed the new Hospital buildings). I began the design of The Commonground while equity Partner at Olin, and continued to act as design lead after I won the 2011-2012 Rome Prize and founded my own studio, LAND COLLECTIVE.

At the project’s inception, I also worked with Eskenazi Health to establish hospital campus guidelines for current and future growth, including the creation of a Wellness Trail which links downtown Indianapolis’ Cultural Trail with the White River Greenway through the northwest quadrant of the City in which Eskenazi Health Hospital resides.


Image Credit | ©Land Collective

WLA | The Commonground is a flexible space with various programs. What brought about the idea of a flexible space in a hospital environment?

David | The Commonground is a “give-back” to the City of Indianapolis and the citizens of Marion County in thanks for their support in an 85% approval vote to establish a new County Hospital. The space was and is intended to offer opportunities for engagement and program in the context of a high level of design acumen – a draw for anyone in the Indianapolis area, whether seeking Eskenazi’s services or not. To that end, it was designed to foster connections across economic strata, to be a place for social gathering, and healthful living: yoga classes, physical therapy, contemplation, etc. It also provides space for teaching opportunities, as well as social events like movie nights, farmers’ markets, and other gatherings. It was my goal as lead designer to imbue the space with a high level of social purpose, wellness and design. The healing process doesn’t stand solely with the doctors and nurses of the hospital. A significant part of healing is insuring that those entering Eskenazi, whether patients or their family members, feel well in the context of a good public space – that design excellence can serve to reassure and calm people in a time of stress, that an environment of art and design can make one feel better, feel positive, feel strong.

The design of The Commonground was informed by five themes: Healing Waters, Nourishing Education, Informative Artwork, Powerful Words, and Cultivating Identity. These principles allowed a framework for discovery and programming throughout the year; contemplative spaces focused on the sounds and micro-climate of water; nutritionally-rich slow-food in a farmers’ market and a local-fare café; a site informed by renowned local and national artists; and regionally identifiable landscape attributes. In all aspects, the environment of The Commonground was designed to foster healing. In a space created for every citizen, the design team concentrated on opportunities for gathering and dialogue – all for the elevation of culture and for the strengthening of spirit.

Image Credit | ©Land Collective

Image Credit | ©Land Collective

The result is more powerful than could have been envisioned. In the concluding days of construction and in the first few days of the life of the plaza, even with a few rough edges, I have seen people coming to The Commonground, whether seeking Eskenazi services or not, finding all that was intended, and more. I have seen a child afflicted with cancer pulled in a red wagon by his parents to the base of the Falls Fountain to feel the change in climate and hear the lapping water. I have seen a local daycare facility bring their young charges to run and play on the expanse of lawn. On more than one occasion, I have met doctors, nurses and administrators taking their lunch break in the dappled light of the Kentucky Coffee Trees, or a patient connected to an IV drip, removing their socks and stepping into the Healing Waters fountain to feel the cool water on their feet. In recognition of the achievements of this new public hospital, The Wall Street Journal recently cited Eskenazi Health Hospital as one of three nationally-ranked care centers that are healing in the context of art and design.


Image Credit | ©Land Collective

WLA | Did the adjacent Olmsted Brothers landscape influence your design?

David | The adjacent Olmsted Brothers’ landscape informed our design, and we informed it, as the historic landscape itself went through significant rejuvenation during the course of the design for The Commonground. We worked with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) who was refurbishing the site to encourage connectivity from one space to the other. We also knew the renovation of the Olmsted Brothers’ historic Ball Garden and Convalescent Park would be a complement to the contemporary nature of The Commonground. As both landscapes mature, it will be interesting to watch how the two spaces are utilized over the coming years.

Image Credit | © Fluidity Design

Image Credit | © Fluidity Design Consultants

Image Credit | © Fluidity Design Consultants

Image Credit | © Fluidity Design Consultants

WLA | You worked with many allied professionals including HOK, DS+R, Ratio, Context, Fluidity, and others. How important was it to work with other professionals?

David | At LAND COLLECTIVE, we believe the “collective” consciousness of multiple disciplines positively informs the creation of extraordinary public spaces. What makes landscape so intriguing is the breadth of the discipline. We combine social sciences with ecological sciences and art to render the best possible outcomes. While acting as design lead, it was a rich and rewarding experience to engage other disciplines and ideas in the creation of a new space.

Image Credit | © Land Collective

Image Credit | © Land Collective


Sky Garden | Image Credit | © Land Collective

WLA | The Sky Farm (harvestable garden) on the roof of the outpatient care center is an interesting concept. Can you tell us more about how this came about and how it is used by the hospital?

David | Although the nickname Sky Farm originated with me, the genesis of the idea and the design itself originated with Erik Reid Fulford of NINebark, Inc. His vision for a nutritionally-rich hospital campus was far more advanced than my own conceptions at the time. And I credit him with educating me to think even more broadly about the definition of a healthful campus. The Sky Farm is his vision of a productive landscape that informs nutritional health and physical wellness. The Sky Farmer and her team generate an abundant yield that serves, among other venues, the hospital commissary. In the coming days and months, patients and hospital employees will have access to plots for their own physical and spiritual benefit.

The Sky Farm sits on the roof of the Clinic Building with a panoramic view back to Indianapolis’ downtown. The hospital wings that flank the clinic building upon which the Sky Farm sits extend out like arms embracing the City of Indianapolis. Situated on top of the central Clinic Building, the productive and health-oriented landscape of the Sky Farm addresses the populous of the City that made the hospital possible in the first place. The Sky Farm sits as a fitting tribute to those who helped make it all possible.

Image Credit | © Land Collective

Image Credit | © Land Collective

WLA | What did you learn from undertaking this project?

David | This project is very meaningful to our studio, as it transitioned from my body of work at Olin to the establishment of LAND COLLECTIVE and our ethos of empathy-driven design. The principles and approach which informed the design of The Commonground were always solidly based in social gathering and creating an inclusive place for all. It was during my studies in Rome when my work focused on community and productive landscapes that I came to fully realize that my personal empathic nature and my design approach—empathy-driven design—was completely evident in the design of The Commonground. The plaza is a realization which reflects so many things that I care about as a design leader.

This project is also dear to our studio, as it shows what is rendered possible when you have total alignment of values between a client and a designer. This level of connection made it easy to inform an approach which made the goals of Eskenazi Health visible in the community.

Image Credit | © Fluidity Design Consultants

Image Credit | © Fluidity Design Consultants

Image Credit | © Land Collective

Image Credit | © Land Collective


The design team included: trellis architects Diller, Scofidio + Renfro; executive landscape architects Olin; local landscape architects RATIO and Context; fountain designers Fluidity Design Consultants; lighting designers Tillett Lighting; and building architects HOK.

Images | Land Collective & Fluidity Design Consultants noted