North Carolina Museum of Art breaks ground on a Museum Park

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The North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) in Raleigh broke ground recently on a Museum Park expansion project designed by Civitas. The NCMA’s 164-acre Museum Park is one of the largest art parks in the country, and the groundbreaking marks the start of a long-term phased expansion plan that will strengthen the relationship between interior and exterior spaces while fostering environmental sustainability. “Our design for the park expansion is intended to engage people in art beyond the galleries, promoting active connections with art and nature,” says Civitas. Founding Principal Mark Johnson.

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Profile | Mark Johnson, President, Civitas

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Mark Johnson is President and the leading designer who has spearheaded Civitas’ most challenging projects. He began his career at Utah State University where he received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. He worked at Maas and Grassi, an Ogden Utah design firm, and landed his first dream job with Jones & Jones of Seattle. There he worked on several zoo exhibits, urban plazas and streets, parks and several major river plans. He left Seattle to earn an MLA in Urban Design at Harvard, where he found important mentors in Peter Walker, Moshe Safdie, and Jose Luis Sert. These great designers and thinkers fuelled Mark’s passion to make a real difference in how cities work for both people and the environment.

Since co-founding Civitas in 1984 Mark has led major public space projects, urban design plans and strategies, and has become widely known for his impact on several cities, on education, and on the role that landscape architects can play in leading complex projects to successful results. Mark is a regular lecturer at AIA, ASLA, APA, ULI events and also RESITE 2014 in Prague where WLA Editor Damian Holmes first met Mark Johnson(MJ). Mark has courteously agreed to answer our three Landscape Architect Profile questions to give our readers an insight into his prestigious career.

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Civitas creates revitalised waterfront in San Diego

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San Diego’s new North Embarcadero waterfront park forms part of a revitalized gateway to the city’s downtown center and establishes an energized destination within a rapidly developing area of the city. The 1000-foot-long linear park adjacent to San Diego Bay is the first phase of a $200 million, 10-phase project which had remained in a conceptual stage for more than 20 years. Denver-based urban design studio Civitas as part of the team of consultants has worked with clients Civic San Diego (formerly known as Centre City Development Corporation), Port of San Diego, and the City of San Diego for the past seven years to bring this first phase of the project to completion. The design team evolved an existing master plan to develop a people-friendly, urban park area and promenade alongside a working waterfront that is home to cruise ships, fishing operations and museums.

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Civitas creates landscape immersed in history at Lane Field Park

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Baseball veterans, including a participant from the final game played, were on hand to throw out a ceremonial first pitch for the recent grand opening of San Diego’s Lane Field Park, created by Civitas. The park was placed on the former site of Lane Field baseball stadium, home to the then-Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres from 1936-1957 – history that played an integral role in the design. At the same time, this new park is visually tied to the Port of San Diego’s massive North Embarcadero Visionary Plan, which includes the Civitas-designed grand esplanade that opened in November 2014 just across Harbor Drive.

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ONE City Plaza | Greenville, South Carolina | Civitas

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Image Credit | Fish Eye Studios

“It’s gem-like in a gem-like city,” says Mark Johnson, founding principal of Civitas about the new ONE City Plaza in Greenville, South Carolina. The project’s simple elements – including urban sofas, trees, water and shade structure – combine for maximum impact in creating an outdoor experience that attracts pedestrians for shopping, dining or just strolling in the city’s central downtown district.

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VIDEOS | Design Adds Value to the Commons

Design Adds Value to the Commons – Michael Speaks, Dean, University of Kentucky College of Design from UK/CoD on Vimeo.

Design Adds Value to the Commons was a design symposium hosted by The University of Kentucky College of Design in conjunction with Lexington’s Downtown Development Authority’s Town Branch Commons Design Competition. Design Adds Value to the Commons was five landscape architects discussing the importance of good design for downtown development and including presentations by
Mark Johnson of Civitas, Shane Coen of Coen+Partners, Petra Blaisse of Inside Outside, Julien de Smedt & Diana Balmori of JDS Architects/Balmori Associates and Kate Orff of Scape

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Waller Creek Design Competition Shortlist announced

Existing View North of Waller Creek from 6th Street

The Waller Creek Conservancy in Austin, Texas has announced that nine teams from 31 submissions have been selected  to continue onto the next stage of the ‘Design Waller Creek’ design competition.

“Through the competition process, we enlisted the leaders in urban landscape, innovation, sustainable design, theory and practice,” Donald J. Stastny FAIA FAICP FCIP, competition manager of “Design Waller Creek: A Competition,” said.  “The submittals help to define the design challenge and inform the jury and Conservancy about an appropriate mix of design professionals to undertake this complex task. We find within the teams a very strong promise of collaboration and experience in ‘integrated’ design—how different disciplines come together to share talents and skill sets to create environments that are not only functional and sustainable, but contribute to raising the human experience.”
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