SCAPE land and design in the Upper Midwest
A landscape architect and his family deeded 2800 acres to the public
Read his story The top 5 places to visit this year Does sustainability
affect the bottom line?
5 designers weigh in
on the state of landscape architecture
a publication of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects
On the Cover:
The Thorson Prairie Project set aside 2800 acres of northwestern Minnesota prairie for public use. Read about it in topic:nature
SPRING 05 topics
image courtesy Tom Thorson and the Trust for Public Land
Is there quantifiable economic benefit for considering sustainability up front? Sources say yes.
by Tom Thorson
Opening the Door
The paintings of Paul Damon reveal the Midwestern landscape.
The Responsible Professional
LARE, CLARB, AELSLAGID... What does it all mean? by Doris Priesendorf Sullivan, FASLA
American Society of Landscape Architects (MASLA).
The Forest for the Trees
Fellow’s Top 5
places to visit this year
from Barry Warner, FASLA
Gunflint Trail Harriet Island
In Other Words :Book The Dictionary of Today’s Landscape Designers :Newsletter The Hometown Advantage Bulletin :Website Landliving.com :Lecture Series SLUC
Five by Five
__SCAPE is FREE. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to
by Kevin Flynn
__SCAPE is published quarterly by the Minnesota Chapter of the
:business Making Green Pay
In northwestern Minnesota a family legacy becomes public trust.
by Frank Edgerton Martin
5 designers weigh in on the state of landscape architecture today
firstname.lastname@example.org, and type subscribeSCAPE in the subject line. Send general MASLA inquiries to: MASLA International Market Square 275 Market Street, Suite 54
MASLA Executive Committee
Minneapolis, MN 55405 612-339-0797 FAX 612-338-7981
John D. Slack, president Thomas Whitlock, past president
Send general __SCAPE inquiries, le�ers to the editor,
Bruce Chamberlain, president-elect
and advertising requests to:
Sonia Walters, secretary
Adam Regn Arvidson
Renee McGarvey, treasurer
MASLA Director of Communications
Jim Hagstrom, trustee
300 First Avenue North, Suite 210
Travis Tegethoﬀ, director of public relations
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Mike Jischke, director of programs
Richard Wiebe, director of academic aﬀairs
Craig Nelson, co-director of awards and banquet Anne Okerman, co-director of awards and banquet Adam Regn Arvidson, director of communications issue #1
The Forest for the Trees
There is an old fable about a village full of blind people,
covered, ﬂat and supporting nothing but corn, completely urban,
into which wanders an elephant. The Village Council
completely uninhabited, or simply devoid of solid land altogether.
duly dispatches a team of inventory specialists to
Dealing with such diversity requires equal diversity. And, if I may
discover exactly what is making all that racket. The three
be so bold, I might suggest that those who work with the land
member inventory team uses their hands to catalog the
(designers, developers, regulators, cra�speople, artists) are, in fact,
elephant and returns with a report to the Council. The
Fellow’s Top 5 We asked Barry Warner, FASLA, what 5 places you should visit in the coming year. Here’s what he said (in no particular order, of course).
leathery skin able to occasionally li� itself into the air.
You will ﬁnd, therefore, my esteemed elephants, that in this new
The second describes it as a very thin, very agile snake-
magazine, deﬁnitions are le� intentionally vague. Though this is
like being with a large tu� of hair at its head. The third
a publication of a certain professional organization, you will not
agrees it is in fact long and snake-like, but believes it to
ﬁnd landscape architects appearing here with any degree of exclu-
be perfectly smooth, solid, and pointed at its head. This,
sivity – neither in subject ma�er nor authorship. This is similarly
of course, throws the Council into panic. It seems there
reﬂected in the name. WhatSCAPE? That’s for you to decide and
must be not one, but three diﬀerent monsters wreaking
havoc in the village. Someone recently shared with me that the word “scape” is related The moral, of course, is that the three specialists have
to archaic words meaning “collection” or “cluster.” J.B. Jackson
merely described diﬀerent portions of the elephant
wrote about this (and it seems only appropriate to invoke him at
without seeing the whole. The same hazard exists when
the inception of a new journal on design and land). Apparently, the
dealing with land. Here in the Upper Midwest, our terres-
word “landscape” used to connote an economic and social collec-
trial home might be variously described as rocky and pine
tion of lands, perhaps diﬀerent in character but all contributing to the common whole. An elephant, again. So then, the purpose here, you could say, is to broaden the circle of land workers, by oﬀering all of you something to think about, and, hopefully, discuss amongst and between yourselves. And see what happens… Back in the village, those inventory specialists, by pu�ing their heads together, might have been able to describe the entire elephant.
MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, TOP LEFT AND CENTER RIGHT; NORTON & PEEL, MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, TOP RIGHT; ADAM REGN ARVIDSON, BOTTOM LEFT AND BOTTOM RIGHT.
ﬁrst specialist describes the monster as a thick tree with
“Travel a transect through northwoods history and some of Minnesota’s ﬁnest scenic beauty on the way up to the Boundary Waters.”
Nicollet Mall “Take
“Take a moment on a breezy June day to lay back in the bluestem and envision Minnesota’s piece of the prairie.”
Minneapolis’ most vibrant street -- but take a step back in time to understand the story behind the serpentine alignment.
Halprin is credited
with the mall design, but Ted Aschman ﬁrst sketched the alignment on a napkin at a meeting with the Dayton Brothers.”
Blue Mounds State Park A secluded North Shore beach
Thanks for reading,
Adam Regn Arvidson
“Immerse yourself in MN’s most signiﬁcant natural resource.”
ALD, Inc. Architectural Lighting Designs, Inc. 2920 Anthony Lane St. Anthony, MN 55418 Phone: 612-252-4100 Fax: 612-252-4141 E-mail –email@example.com
Arteka is once again Arteka, locally owned and operated.
“Step down and touch the Mississippi River on an exciting urban waterfront.”
8810 13 Avenue East, Shakopee, Minnesota 55379 tel: 952.934.2000 �� fax: 952.934.2247 th
Barry Warner, FASLA, AICP, leads the Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning Group at SRF Consulting Group, where he is a Senior Vice President. Barry has dedicated his career to planning and designing meaningful projects in urban environments. He was named a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1999 based upon service to the profession. He served two terms as Minnesota chapter president and two terms as trustee. He also co-chaired the national meetings in Portland (1998) and Salt Lake City (2004).
In 2001, the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape
were the ﬁrst to use this place, for councils and sacred
of its 100th anniversary in 2000.
Architects published Valued Places: landscape architecture in
ceremonies. Later, the ﬁrst explorers doubtlessly used
trian promenade and a naturalized river edge replace
Minnesota. This glove-box sized guidebook proﬁles 52 sites in the
the forested island to rest on their way up or down the
the former roadway; a Great Lawn sits in the center of
Land of Lakes, each of which has beneﬁtted from design, care, or
great American river. The fur trade brought a permanent
the park where once there were parking lots; new docks
stewardship by landscape professionals. Here are a few samples...
outpost across the river, and as Saint Paul grew, the island
and ticket buildings welcome visitors and riverboats; and
a pedestrian gateway through the ﬂood control levee
The Gunﬂint Trail
On a low island in the Mississippi River ﬂoodplain,
Rebirth of the Park
people have gathered for centuries. American Indians
Harriet Island was given a signiﬁcant faceli� in honor Today, a wide pedes-
1800s by prospectors looking for gold and silver as well as loggers following tales of the huge white and red pines
Today, Harriet Island is no longer an island. The channel
covering the region. For many years, prospectors cut trails
between it and the mainland was ﬁlled in the 1950s for
The Gunﬂint Trail, a 63 mile paved road, winds up
through the bush to locations where they hoped to ﬁnd
ﬂood control purposes.
through the Sawtooth Mountains from Grand Marais,
their fortune. The Paulsen mine was the most notable of
continues. Excursion boats dock at its piers, houseboats
Minnesota on the north shore of Lake Superior to its end
these projects. Iron ore of a reasonable grade was found
spend summers in its harbor, concerts and events take
at Saganaga Lake. In the last hundred years, the Trail has
in the area near Round Lake. Fortunately, ore of a much
place in its pavilion, children spend a�ernoons in its play
changed from a Native American trail, used primarily
be�er grade was found in the Tower-Soudan area west of
area, and families stoll along its promenade. This recre-
when lake travel was impossible, to the modern road it
Ely, Minnesota, or there might have been a pit mine here
ational legacy dates from a younger Saint Paul, and from
is today. It was ﬁrst upgraded to ox-cart status in the late
the generosity of its citizens.
The timber industry has been a large presence in the area
as well. Roads were the key to ge�ing the huge logs out of
The “island’s” use, however,
In 1900, Dr. Justus Ohage donated the island to the people
the bush and to Lake Superior where they were ra�ed to
of Saint Paul. Harriet Island, named for pioneer school
Duluth/Superior to be milled into the lumber to help build
teacher Harriet Bishop, initially included an outdoor
the burgeoning towns of the Upper Midwest. Logging still
gymnasium, a refreshment pavilion, a swimming beach,
goes on throughout the Superior National Forest with the
and Saint Paul’s ﬁrst zoo. By 1915, 15,000 people came
exception of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Most of
to the beach each year. This began to wane, however,
the timber cut today is poplar used for paper production. Trail residents went to town only rarely in the winter months. The road was of corduroy construction with small logs laid across the road bed and covered with gravel. In summer it was a rough ride and o�en a muddy
provides connection to the surrounding neighborhoods.
one, too. As demand for wilderness recreation grew in
With the newly reconstructed Wabasha Street Bridge
the 1940s and 1950s, the Trail gradually grew too. The last Gunﬂint Trail is a well-maintained artery into the heart of
The border lakes from Saganaga to Gunﬂint, Rose, Mountain, and the Pigeon River were the primary route of the voyageurs for many years. Many of the campsites in the area have been used for generations and the portage trails were originally created by Native American travellers over the years. Today, the United States Forest Service maintains portages and campsites. by Judie Johnson, Gunﬂint Trail Association
SCAPE spring 05
MONROE P. KILLY, MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, LEFT; ADAM REGN ARVIDSON, RIGHT
providing easy pedestrian connection to downtown Saint
section was paved to Lake Saganaga in 1976 and today the
Paul, the park is once again heavily used by residents and workers from across the river. In keeping with the spirit of generosity that accompanied the park’s creation, the citizens and businesses of Saint as pollution of the river increased. The park remained
Paul donated heavily to the park’s rebirth. Bricks, artist-
underappreciated for decades, despite its proximity to
created stones and medallions, and commemorative
downtown, likely due to limited pedestrian connections
plaques line the promenade in their honor. Harriet Island
across the Mississippi River and, later, the ﬂood control
is once again a gathering place on the Mississippi.
by Adam Regn Arvidson
Ludvig’s son, Forrest, my father, told me that my grand-
father was proud of his neatly run operations. Sand and gravel taking was concentrated in speciﬁc areas of his property, areas screened by stands of existing trees so as not to be viewed by passing motorists. The farmland was located in areas accessible by the rural township roads. But, most remarkably, the meadowland was le� untouched
Ludvig A. Thorson, right, circa 1900, who immigrated from Norway as a child in the 1880s with his family, established a rural general store and gravel company in northwestern Minnesota.
but for harvesting of the meadowgrass -- valued hay that was shipped south by rail during the drought years of the 1930’s. The meadowland and its marshes, streams, and ponds, teemed with wildlife. It was abundant with wildﬂowers and ﬂowing grasses. Grandfather Ludvig took great pride in driving my father, as a child, around
the property, pointing out birds, deer, fox and other wildlife.
In northwestern Minnesota, a family legacy becomes public trust. by Tom Thorson
he land was located on the ridge. We called it the meadowland
grasses meadowgrass. Burnham Creek pond was referred to as the dam and
The Thorson Family, including brothers David and Tom, above right standing in front of their grandfather’s circa 1900 rural ofﬁce building, worked to secure over 2800 acres for public use. The Thorson Prairie includes examples of dry prairie ridges and broad wet prairies and marshes, above left and center.
was our rural swimming hole. Long
Prairie conservation eﬀort, becoming the largest project supported by the state Wildlife Corridors project.” TPL and its public partners had acquired the ﬁnal parcel of my family’s property. Our meadowland was now
abandoned farmsteads were still named for their original
in the public domain and a valued piece of Minnesota’s
owners -- such as the Fontaine place. The old village site
0.5 percent remaining native tall grass prairie.
that my grandfather Ludvig Thorson tried to develop as
a thriving town was called Melvin, not its long forgo�en name of Holmes Station. The sand and gravel quarry was simply called the Melvin Pit, while the li�le lake viewed
randfather Ludvig was an ambitious man, a trait that his grandmother, who immigrated with the large Thorson family to Minnesota in the 1880’s,
from the second-story screened porch of my grandpar-
recognized in the young man. Perhaps Ludvig, most of all,
ents’ abandoned Melvin home was called the Melvin
could help establish the family in the new country. When
Slough. These were the place names and geographic refer-
he was twenty-one, Ludvig’s grandmother gave him ﬁve
ences of the rural community recognized by generations
hundred dollars to build and stock a general store in rural
of my family, and, in fact, most families in Onstad and
Polk County, Minnesota. This was a very generous sum
of money in 1898, money that no doubt took my great-
My father, too, took great pride in the land which he (along with my two aunts) inherited. Forrest
great grandmother Thorson years to accumulate. It was with this ﬁve hundred dollars that Ludvig Thorson went
over half a century, stands decaying along Highway 102
on establish the general store in Melvin, Minnesota. As
in Polk County, Minnesota, its woodframed two- story
the local storekeeper and postmaster, young Ludvig
false-front proudly facing the bright prairie southern sun.
soon was able to start acquiring property along the ridge
It is surrounded by public land.
running north and south of the store and town site. In all, he acquired over 3000 acres. Although some of the land
A Trust for Public Land (TPL), press release on February
was farmed, much of it was too wet for crops. Some of it,
26, 2003, announced “the protection of 904 acres of tallgrass
however, contained valuable sand and gravel resources,
prairie and wetland in Polk County, Minnesota, to become
just what was needed for railroad track ballast and road
a new National Waterfowl Production Area. This past
construction in the developing rural community. With
year more than 2,800 acres of prairie, wetland and critical
that land, Ludvig started a sand and gravel company
wildlife habitat have been set aside as part of the Thorson
which he managed until his death in 1951.
SCAPE spring 05
managed the property in the same way my grandfather did, and, as COURTESY TOM THORSON AND TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND, ALL
Today, my grandfather’s 1898 general store, closed for
his father had done with him, entertained me and my brothers and The Thorson Prairie was secured by TPL and transferred to three separate entities, each with different management goals but each ensuring that the land remains in public trust. The colored parcels on the map, above, show the extent of the Thorson property purchased by TPL. The yellow parcels have been transferred to the Nature Conservancy, the orange to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the green to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
cousins with long drives through the property to observe the wildlife and wildﬂowers. “I don’t know who will ever want this”, my father told me many years ago, “but it sure is great for the wildlife.” It seemed true. How could this land ever be considered valuable given the magniﬁcent farmland of the great Red River Valley stretching out to the west below our ridge?
�er managing the family property for 50 years, my father died in 2001. Both my aunts had preceded him in death. The land now belonged
to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Ludvig Thorson -- all of them with established careers and no desire to manage the land in what was, for many of them, remote northwestern Minnesota. There were ten of us. Potentially ten diﬀerent approaches. But we did quickly se�le on one initial desire for the family property. We felt the land should be kept intact and, if possible, managed for wildlife and public access -- not parceled oﬀ as farmland or for other uses. The Minnesota oﬃce of TPL was contacted by the family and discussions began between the non proﬁt and the family. TPL also contacted and held discussions with interested “anchor” partners -- The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MnDNR), and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The deal was structured with the purchase of the land by TPL who, in turn, transferred 1080 acres to TNC for a seed bank for the nearby Glacial Ridge Prairie. At 23,000
Plants and Animals of the Thorson Prairie Plant Communities • dry prairie ridges • calcareous fens • riparian hillsides • broad wet prairies • shallow marshes virgin tallgrass prairie (the most-endangered natural • community in Minnesota) Rare Plants • sterile sedge (state threatened) • small white lady-slipper (a perennial orchid) • beak rush Nuttall’s ground rose. • Animals long-beaked marbled godwit (a shorebird that uses • this preserve as its summer breeding ground) • greater prairie chicken • white-tailed deer • moose.
acres, Glacial Ridge is the largest prairie/wetland restora-
he Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,
farmland will be restored to prairie.
by incorporating the land into their Chicog
boxelder trees are being removed. Seeds harvested from
Wildlife Management Area (WMA), is restoring
native prairie plants on the property will be used to
and managing the property to enhance its native prairie
restore prairie here and on the great Glacial Ridge Prairie
characteristics. Volunteer trees have been removed and
restoration project nearby.
old gravel extraction potholes ﬁlled. The northern half of li�le Lake Chicog (a.k.a. Melvin Slough), once within the
My father’s question “who will ever want this” has been
family property, is now a part of the WMA. The Chicog
answered. The meadowland is protected. A project brief
WMA is interconnected to adjacent WMAs and agency
by the Trust for Public Land declares that this “diverse
managed/protected areas via the TPL Thorson Prairie
mix of wetlands, native prairie and wooded open space...
This diverse mix of wetlands, native prairie and wooded open space... has become a rare oasis in a landscape surrounded by farmland. project. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is managing
has become a rare oasis in a landscape surrounded by
their property purchase as a new National Waterfowl
farmland.” Now the land, enjoyed for its natural beauty
Production Area. Burnham Creek, dammed for a pond
by my family and locals for over a century, is secure for
in the early 1900’s (my family’s old swimming hole), may
once again ﬂow freely through the property, increasing the wetland below the ridge for waterfowl production. The Nature Conservancy is erasing traces of my parent’s old farm place at the northern end of the land. This
tion project in U.S. history. Another 850 acres was bought
Tom Thorson, ASLA, is an associate with SRF Consulting Group, Inc., a Minneapolis engineering, planning, and landscape architecture ﬁrm. A conﬁrmed urbanist and landscape architect with 30 years experience in transportation and urban design, he nevertheless greatly values his rural roots, and the privilege of growing up with Minnesota’s great native prairie landscape.
passes through 6 states in at least as many climatic zones, so the prairie changes dramatically as the Passage travels south. What links these diverse regions is the historical legacy of colorful wildﬂowers and grasses that once covered more than one million square miles of North America.
by the MnDNR utilizing the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources’ Wildlife Corridors program. This land was brought into MnDNR’s existing Chicog Wildlife Management Area. The remaining 904 acres was acquired by USFWS as a Wildlife Protection Area. Funding for this was accomplished through the federal Duck Stamp program. This rather complex project was completed by the family, TPL and its “anchor” partners by the end of 2002. The Thorson Prairie project (as it came to be known) was listed ﬁrst among nine TPL conservation achievements that year. The 2800 acres Ludvig Thorson purchased along ancient Glacial Lake Agassiz beach ridge on the eastern edge of the Red River Valley included high quality natural landscapes, such as Burnham Creek and pond, left and opposite. L.A. Thorson’s land has now been secured for public use by the Trust for Public Land and the Thorson family. Above, David Thorson discusses the property with TPL staff members.
Care to comment on this topic? __SCAPE welcomes letters to the editor. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCAPE spring 05
The Prairie Passage The Thorson Prairie sits adjacent to the Prairie Passage Route, a Federal Highway Administration project designed to protect and plant native grasses along roadside rights-of-way, and to promote the awareness of prairie related natural and cultural resources. The Prairie Passage winds its way from the Canadian border in far northwestern Minnesota to Laredo, Texas, on the Rio Grande. On this nearly 2000 mile journey, the grassy route
In Minnesota, the Prairie Passage is signed with the image of the prairie coneﬂower, a common tallgrass prairie plant. The route parallels the western border of the state before heading eastward at Luverne, following I-90 to Albert Lea, and leaving the state for Iowa. Some notable sites in Minnesota include Buffalo River State Park, the Headwaters of the Red River of the North, Upper Sioux Agency State Park, Pipestone National Monument, and Blue Mounds State Park. For more information, contact Minnesota’s Prairie Passage Coordinator at 651-284-3765, or Explore Minnesota Tourism at 651-296-5029.
Is there quantiﬁable economic beneﬁt to considering sustainability up front? Sources say yes. by Kevin Flynn
Reduced Capital Costs Reduced Operating Costs Reduced Liability Risk Health and Productivity Streamlined Approvals Valuation Premiums and Absorption Rates
Face it. It’s no fun being sued. It’s stressful, and costs you time and money. By taking a responsible a�itude toward the environment and occupants, green developments are sometimes able to reduce the risks of litigation, liability, and even such disasters as ﬁres and ﬂoods. By designing healthy places to live, work, and visit, we greatly reduce the probability of “sick building
Well-executed green development projects perform
that it is diﬃcult to make money if a project is going to
extremely well ﬁnancially. In fact, even though it may
concern itself with environmental and social issues. Many
seem like a fringe movement in use by old hippies turned
of us fear that following a green agenda will delay project
developers (you know, the people who supported Dennis
schedules and raise costs. This perception is true. It is true
Kucinich in the last election), the ﬁnancial motivators for
when we continue to design in the same way we always
green development are bringing a signiﬁcant number of
have, placing environmental concerns at the bo�om of the
developers into the fold at an ever increasing pace. It is
list – as an add-on ﬁlter to design rather than an integral
possible—indeed it is the norm—to do well ﬁnancially by
part of it. It is true when we continue to ﬁnd ways of
doing the right thing environmentally.
saying “no” to ideas that would beneﬁt our environment of ﬁnding ways to say “yes.” It is true when design is isolated and
You don’t have to hug trees, wear hemp clothing...
Perhaps it is not a surprise that if you spend less money on one thing you have more money to save or use elsewhere. Undertaking a development in an environ-
Costs of infrastructure, such as storm sewers, can be lowered by relying on the land’s natural features;
Mechanical systems can be downsized or even eliminated through smart energy design; and
Approvals can be expedited if opposition to a project is reduced. Faster approvals reduce carrying costs.
by-component basis rather than as an integrated, whole
Ethics magazine, reports in a recent article that “Social
Reducing infrastructure costs by consolidating the
systems approach to design.
and environmental responsibility goes hand-in- hand
development footprint, narrowing roadways, reducing
with superior ﬁnancial performance.” She cites two
or eliminating pavement and storm sewer systems
recent meta-studies, which evaluated research by various
in favor of native swales and plantings can lead to
simply call for a return to fundamental ideas widely
theorists using various lenses; and studied diﬀerent indus-
enormous reductions in infrastructure investment.
practiced up until ﬁ�y or sixty years ago. They also ask
tries, diﬀerent time periods, and diﬀerent deﬁnitions of
The money saved can be invested in other areas of the
us to think about our buildings, our developments and
social responsibility. These studies prove a statistically
building or development. Reduced capital costs mean
our communities as interdependent systems that require
signiﬁcant association between corporate social perfor-
that a project’s investors enjoy a higher rate of return on
holistic thinking and approaches to design.
mance and ﬁnancial performance, for two reasons:
investment thanks to lower equity requirements.
“Ecosystems provide the natural functions upon which people and economies depend. Their carrying capacity must be considered, preserved, and restored.”
1) Corporate social responsibility is an indicator of good
2) Financially successful ﬁrms have more resources for
ou can do well ﬁnancially by ﬁrst doing well socially
and environmentally. You don’t have to hug trees, wear hemp clothing, love the spo�ed owl or the
do this. If your only motivation is to save and perhaps even make money, that’s good enough. Welcome to the choir.
Care to comment on this topic? __SCAPE welcomes letters to the editor. Send them to email@example.com.
REDUCED OPERATING COSTS
engages and retains quality employees, builds reputa-
baby whale, take a vow of poverty, or recite a special creed to
Studies show that if a workplace is healthier and more comfortable, then so are the people that inhabit them. People tend to stay at their jobs longer, take fewer sick days, do be�er work, and be generally more productive. Studies done by the Rocky Mountain Institute cite gains of 6% to 16% a�ributed to energy eﬃcient sustainable design. Since companies spend an average of 70 times as much money (per square foot per year) on employee salaries as they do on energy, an increase of just one percent in productivity can result in savings that exceed the company’s entire energy bill. That’s great for building and business owners, because those savings can go right into the bank to be used elsewhere. To a developer, these savings can mean higher lease rates and greater return on investment if the tenants understand the beneﬁts.
management that is anticipatory, innovative, a�racts, tions, and enhances relations with bankers and investors.
a number of important ways:
Marjorie Kelly, a local economist and editor of Business
--report of former Minnesota Governor Arnie Carlson’s Roundtable on Sustainable Development
mentally responsible manner can reduce capital costs in
performed on a discipline-by-discipline or component-
Most of the ideas you will read here are not new. They
to human health, according to the U.S. Environmental
Sustainably designed projects can have far lower operating costs than conventional projects as a result of their greater emphasis on resource eﬃciency. Savings are usually easiest to quantify with energy, but can also be realized through reduced water demand, lower maintenance requirements, and a reduction in waste generation. For most businesses, savings in operating costs ﬂow directly to the bo�om line, increasing net operating income. This in turn can lead to higher return on investment and building valuation. Operating savings that are
Gaining early respect and support from a community can greatly speed up approvals for a project. By incorporating green development strategies into the project and meeting directly with groups that might otherwise oppose a development, one can usually gain considerable support for the project -- avoiding months, if not years, of delays. Streamlining approvals and avoiding legal delays, in fact, is becoming one of the most important drivers for green development, and this saves money in the process by reducing carrying costs.
passed on to the tenant can result in favorable leasing arrangements and higher occupancy or absorption rates.
SCAPE spring 05
(and our pocketbooks) instead
REDUCED CAPITAL COSTS
syndrome” - one of the top ﬁve environmental threats There is widespread perception in the design industry
HEALTH AND PRODUCTIVITY
Making Green Pay
• • • • • •
REDUCED LIABILITY RISK
Economic beneﬁts of green design:
Front Loaded Design
In many markets, buyers will pay substantial premiums
Marketing beneﬁts of green design:
to be part of a development with identiﬁed green features. Developer Harold Kalke a�ributed the outstanding absorption rates of 2211 West Fourth in Vancouver,
Product Differentiation Free Press
BC, in part to its green features. Prior to completion,
By conducting the fundamental planning work up-front with all players at the table, a whole-systems approach can be put to work for developers. In standard developments, resource efﬁciency and environmental impacts are considered as afterthoughts (if at all), despite the potential for substantial cost savings. It is cheaper to address these issues up front.
Developers often think front-loaded planning and design will cost more and delay project schedules. Greater up-front investments of time and money typically are required, but those costs are often recovered—with interest—by avoiding such downstream costs as expensive redesigns, drawn-out approvals, litigation, and stalled construction. As the saying goes: “If you can’t afford to do it right the ﬁrst time, how can you afford to do it twice?”
For example, designing narrower streets might reduce
Failure to focus on end uses usually results in projects
stormwater run-oﬀ and enable simple inﬁltration swales
that don’t live up to their potential. Part of the problem is
and on-site detention basins to handle stormwater. As
that the various stakeholders in a project have diﬀering,
a result, you get rid of your conventional storm sewer
sometimes conﬂicting, goals.
system, and put the savings into public parks, walkways,
his oﬃce space were leased, with contracts signed for
It’s good to be diﬀerent (at least that’s what I told
85 percent of his residential space. Kalke’s 12.3 percent
myself all through High School). According to a 2002
return on investment was one-third-again higher than
survey for the Cahners Residential Group, 8 of 10 new
that of conventional retail/oﬃce projects in his market.
homebuyers interviewed said that new homes did not meet their expectations for environmental sustainability.
The Village Homes project in Davis, California, saved
96% said they would pay more for green features.
money and added amenities that have made the subdivision extremely popular since its construction in the late
So, there’s an unaddressed market segment out there
1970s. In fact, properties at Village Homes command a
which has money and is willing to spend it on green
substantially higher price -- $10-25 more per square foot
-- than those of surrounding subdivisions, and homes
100 percent of Kalke’s retail space and 85 percent of
sell faster when (and if) they come onto the market.
gardens, and other project amenities. The narrower streets also leave more room for trees, which keep ambient air tioning. You take advantage of passive heating, cooling,
The owner or operator wants to sell or lease the space right away;
and ventilation and down size your highly eﬃcient HVAC system. Monthly energy bills plummet. Pedestrian
Investors want to get their money out of the project as soon as possible;
temperatures down and reduce the need for air condi-
paths and traﬃc-calming street designs help foster a
The designer may be focused on staﬃng the project or winning an award; and
The contractor may be most concerned with project schedules.
strong sense of community with low crime rates and In markets that can’t aﬀord price premiums, green
A growing number of green developers have derived
developments may enjoy faster lease-ups or sales rates
enormous marketing beneﬁts from their a�ention to
due to diﬀerentiation from the competition. Production
environmental and community issues.
home builder McStain Enterprises developed Greenlee Park, 170 units of aﬀordable green homes in Lafaye�e,
Nearly every “green” project out there ﬁnds its way into
VALUATION PREMIUMS AND ABSORPTION RATES
higher property values. You install healthy, ecologically
To add to the diﬃculty, the various players in develop-
friendly, and easily maintained materials in the building
ment o�en speak diﬀerent languages: developers speak
and people feel be�er about where they live.
dollars per square foot; investors, return on investment; electrical engineers, wa�s per square foot; construction
Soon, word gets around, others want to live there and begin
workers, sign-oﬀ; and so on. Focusing on sustainability and end-use helps to maintain a common perspective
Colorado. Ideas were tested and reﬁned on a demon-
magazines, newspapers, and conference case studies
to pay a premium to do so. Having started to conserve land
stration home until the development team was able
free of charge. People are interested in this and want to
by minimizing streets and parking, you multiplied oppor-
and forges a common language in spite of these varied
to get the total cost for the green features (including
know how it can be achieved. Press helps get people in
tunities for social contact; beautiﬁed the neighborhood;
replacement of the furnace with a heat recovery
the door – so in many ways it makes more sense to spend
made it safer, healthier, and more aﬀordable for everyone
system) down to 1.5 percent of a home’s total cost. The
money pushing sustainability rather than on four-color
;and you saved money. And now people want to pay
development was 75% pre-sold prior to the opening.
ads competing with everybody else in the marketplace.
you more. So you make money. Seems like a good thing. That is the key to whole systems thinking – it only works
as a system. Single strategies (or strategies as add-on
ﬁnancially by ﬁrst doing good socially. Eﬀective whole-
features) don’t work. Period. Our solutions and projects
systems thinking is required to ensure that integrated
need to be integrated, interdisciplinary and holistic. If not,
solutions are found. By front-loading the planning and
they will fail.
design process, the beneﬁts of whole-systems thinking can
be realized. Throughout this process, end-use/least-cost
Green developers have found over and over that the media likes what they are doing and will promote it. Positive press coverage is the best kind of promotion available. Why not let someone else pay your marketing costs?
kay, sign me up. Now what? The ﬁrst thing to do is spend more time in design. I’m not talking about more time making cute computer renderings and
sketches – though I love those as much as the next fellow. Rather, we need to design more intelligently and more eﬀectively – and think in terms of connections between all other disciplines. This becomes whole-systems thinking. Whole-systems thinking is a process through which the interconnections between systems are actively considered, and solutions are sought that address multiple problems at the same time. These are o�en referred to as “solution multipliers” -- single answers that solve a number of problems.
one of these things work alone to create successful real estate products. Instead, they are mutually reinforcing. A strong vision is a critical
foundation and the initial step. It is possible to do well
he mistakes are o�en made in the ﬁrst week or two
considerations ensure that optimal, cost-eﬀective solutions
of design – and sometimes even earlier than that.
are generated. And, ﬁnally, eﬀective teamwork throughout
Up-front building and design costs represent only
the planning and design process draws the best from
a fraction of the building’s life-cycle costs. When just one
all players and helps get them invested in the outcome.
percent of a project’s up-front costs are spent, up to 70 percent of its life-cycle costs may already be commi�ed; when seven percent of project costs are spent, up to 85 percent of life-cycle costs have been commi�ed.”
spending an extra per cent or two on design that allows
Kevin Flynn, AIA, LEED AP, is the founding principal of EcoDEEP, an architecture, research, and planning ﬁrm with an acute focus on sustainable, high performance solutions. EcoDEEP’s work promises that good design and environmental be�erment are inherently interdependent and that all design must be simple, economically viable, and socially equitable.
you to save 30 or 50% of the ongoing operational costs is a pre�y good investment.
SCAPE spring 05
Night 2005 28 x 42 oil on canvas Perhaps his most narrative and mythic work, Night links the intimacy of a small cemetery with the sweep of a great river. Overlooked by an angel, the gravestones seem to pay silent testament to the great river beneath them.
slides of Scandinavian and American Impressionists,
typiﬁed by Harald Sohlberg (1869-1935). “These artists
especially the work of George Inness, to explain how
show a connection between the intimate and the inﬁnite,”
landscape quality and order are not just “designed,” they
he says. “I used to say to students that you can do the same
can also be “discovered” by artists and others who take
thing with physical form in your landscape designs.”
the time to look. This is the organic basis of architecture and gardens, and there is much to learn from the history
“My work is becoming more suggestive rather than
of landscape art.
descriptive.” In Damon’s current show, the last nine years of his work will be shown, culminating in “Night,” the dream-like nocturnal view over a cemetery looking into
“My work is becoming more suggestive rather than descriptive.” In his dra�ing courses, where the focus was more on
the sweep of a river valley. The full moon casts a light
technique rather than design, Damon showed students
blue tint on the snow among the grave stones as the
works by such late 19th century painters as the California
river, in a darker grey blue, ﬂows back into the horizon.
impressionist Edgar Payne, Thomas Eakins, and Thomas
Like the sublime Luminist and impressionist paintings
Cole to show the use of atmospheric perspective and the
Damon once used to demonstrate spatial connections for
depiction of three-dimensional space through comple-
students, there is a continuum in this very recent work
mentary visual cues for scale.
between the intimacy of the foreground gravesites and
the inﬁnity of the horizon and the heavens beyond. More
�er teaching for eight years at the University,
than most of Damon’s oeuvre to date, “Night” borrows
Damon took on landscape painting full-time
both its title and compositional mood from the Swedish
in 1996. In his recent paintings from the last
painter Harold Sohlberg.
year -- now on display at a Minneapolis exhibit (see The Intersection of Landscape Architecture and Landscape Art) -Damon draws on the sublimity of Scandinavian painters The Creekbed 2005 22 x 34 oil on canvas This painting is a fusion of two creek beds, at Afton State Park in the verdant St. Croix Valley south of St. Paul and a drier bed in the North Dakota Badlands. “ I wanted to illustrate a water carved landscape, a seam in an otherwise ﬂat plane. Damon used the October palette of the deciduous Afton landscape to express the universal landscape typology of the ravine.
Opening the Door
The paintings of Paul Damon reveal the Midwestern landscape. by Frank Edgerton Martin Paul Damon grew up in the small town of Beaver Dam,
beyond their contemporary suburbia. More than site
Wisconsin, studied biology at Northland College in
plans, sketches, or verbal arguments, it was paintings that
Ashland, Wisconsin, on Lake Superior’s South Shore and,
were really “worth a thousand words” in ge�ing through
eventually, enrolled in the graduate program in landscape
to students. “When I was pu�ing together a lecture,”
architecture at the University of Minnesota. He received
Damon recalls, “I felt that there were some things that
an MLA in 1993 with a historical study on the renowned
were best explained by paintings.” When you’re teaching
Prairie School Architect, Walter Burley Griﬃn. He did not
about landscape aesthetics “paintings encapsulate ideas
start painting landscapes until 1996.
about how physical form can be meaningful.”
Serving as a lecturer and studio and dra�ing teacher at
For example, he says, “with the Symbolists, such as
the University of Minnesota’s College of Architecture and
Edvard Munch and his contemporaries, there is a great
Landscape Architecture in the mid-1990s, Damon o�en
deal of emphasis on the horizon. Yet the viewer can’t just
found himself in the position of needing to explain site
walk into the painting because there is o�en a tree-ﬁlled
design strategies to students who had barely ever ventured
foreground.” For ﬁrst and second year students, he showed
SCAPE spring 05
Completed a year earlier in 2004, “The Power Plant”
Care to comment on this topic? __SCAPE welcomes letters to the editor. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
captures the dynamic sweep of the Mississippi in Minneapolis as it rushes past University of Minnesota Steam Plant. The chimneys of the plant create a static imprint against the changing pinks and lavenders of the dawn sky. In the foreground, the river swirls with patches of ice and inky blue water.
Arrival of the Ferry 2005 22 x 32 oil on canvas Standing on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan, Damon waited for the Manitowoc – Ludington ferry. “I was very taken by the ferry and its dark smoke plume coming in from the distance and the brick storage sheds in the foreground.” The high vantage point is a Scandinavian compositional technique that, in Damon’s words, “makes it very difﬁcult to walk into the painting.”
hile he was a student studying Walter Burley Griﬃn, Damon was
much of the printmaking and decorative arts of the Cra�sman movement. Yet, for this ecologically-trained designer, it was the paintings of that same era that revealed a new kind of language for talking about space, color, permanence and change. “It was like a magical door that opened up for me,” he says. George Inness, the Ashcan school, Martin Johnson Heade, and the Luminist School all expressed to Damon the American landscape
The Intersection of Landscape Architecture and Landscape Art Paul Damon’s work will join that by another artist with a background in landscape architecture in an exhibition entitled Reading the Landscape. According to Regina Flanaghan, a Saint Paul-based photographer and Damon’s co-exhibitor, the two artists appearing together serves to increase the dialog between art forms, techniques, and perspectives on the landscape. Flanaghan was initially selected to appear alone in the show, and to display her ongoing personal chronicle of the Helen Allison Savanna, a Nature Conservancy property on the Anoka Sandplain north of the Twin Cities. Her series, entitled Where We Find Ourselves, strives to see the landscape both aesthetically and ecologically. “To have an authentic relationship with the landscape,” she says, “I must know it on an ecological level.” But she tries to be honest to both perspectives, working to communicate ecological information in an evocative manner. Flanaghan’s works appear in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, Wisconsin, and the Minnesota Historical Society, among others. In order to, in Flanaghan’s words, “make the show more interesting,” she asked Damon to join her, because their similar backgrounds in landscape architecture and differing
in a way that no other medium could.
Reading the Landscape
Regina Flanagan artistic styles might serve to engage the audience even more profoundly. The exhibition runs from Sunday, April 10, through Sunday, May 15 at the First Unitarian Society, 900 Mount Curve Boulevard, in Minneapolis. It will be open for viewing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday through Friday. A reception for the artists, free and open to the public, will be held on Friday, April 29 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. as part of the Minneapolis Gallery Crawl scheduled for that night. Call (651) 645-7709 for information.
“Trained in classical painting yet inﬂuenced by Impressionism from Europe, these American
The Power Plant 2004 24 x 36 oil on canvas In this painting of the East bank of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Damon Paul Damon was inﬂuenced by a 19th century painting by William Tryon of the New York Skyline at dawn as seen across the Hudson. He says of this earlier work, “the color in the water and in the sky was just fabulous. The sky was richRegina in pastel Flanagan and the water was deep and mysterious….”
painters had a foot in both worlds,” Damon argues. “Their work has technical precision and
yet merges into abstraction.” As his own work grows more suggestive, Damon is following a similar arc in painting ordinary midwestern industrial sites, fallow ﬁelds, and ravines. He is a ﬁrm believer in landscape typologies, in the idea that there are universal archetypes in the land such as valleys and groves that transcend climate, culture and ecosystems. As his work becomes
foundational sites are likely to reappear. He is The Thin Veil of Reality 2004 22 x 34 oil on canvas At William O’Brien State Park, Damon captures the effervescent spring light of this birch tree grove. His inspiration was the painting “Trout Pond” by George Inness, another intimate landscape suffused with the yellow and green mysteries of spring. “It always brings to mind for me a quote from Gaston Bachelard: ‘The forest is closed to vision but open to action….’”
Paul Damon is represented by The Vern Carver and Beard Art Gallery 800 LaSalle Avenue, Skyway Level, LaSalle Plaza Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402 Tel. (612) 339-3449 www.pauldamonlandscapes.com
also likely to experiment more on objects such as groves of trees or buildings rather than the space around them. One hopes that he will return to teaching, perhaps to classes of visual arts and design students. If anything, Damon’s career continues to show how they are very much related. Frank Edgerton Martin is a Minnesota native who grew up near Minnehaha Creek. He holds an MS in Cultural Landscape Preservation and Landscape History from the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For several years, he worked with photographer Chris Faust to document suburban growth around the Midwest. He is employed at HAY DOBBS, a Minneapolis-Based architecture and planning ﬁrm, where he specializes in higher education and urban design. He is also serves as a contributing editor for Landscape Architecture Magazine.
SCAPE spring 05
ELSGEO – engineering, land surveying, and geoscience.
he process of licensure can be described in terms of “three E’s:” education, examination, and experi-
The Responsible Professional
these requirements to demonstrate minimum competency to practice landscape architecture in Minnesota. When an unlicensed individual either practices a protected profession or uses a protected title illegally, or when a licensed professional commits an infraction against the rules or statutes governing professional practice, the fourth “E” comes into play: Enforcement. The Minnesota Board has the power to levee civil penalties up to $10,000 per violation. From 2002 to 2004 the Board collected $47,000 on enforcement issues related to the six professions it regulates. The civil penalties collected by the Board go directly into the State’s General Fund. The Complaint Commi�ee (one of the standing Board commi�ees) typically meets monthly to review disciplinary ma�ers that arise. When an investigation shows The Board’s website (see Resources) oﬀers information about all aspects of the Board and licensure. It contains a
roster of all professionals currently licensed by the state
icensure is about responsibility.
and a roster of Board members. It provides links to the
licensed landscape architect means taking respon-
laws and rules that govern design professionals. And it
sibility for one’s work as a professional. It also
contains information for applicants, an archive of the
means taking responsibility for the quality of the profes-
“The Communicator” (the Board’s occasional newsle�er),
sion and how it is practiced.
and links to related agencies including other state licen-
Licensure is controlled by states. Each state determines how landscape architecture licensure will be handled in its jurisdiction. The professional must be licensed according to the laws of every state in which she practices or uses a protected title. Currently, 38 states regulate both the use of the title and the practice of the profession. Though many federal agencies prefer that their landscape architects be licensed, licensure is not always required to provide service for federal agencies. Minnesota
Board commi�ees address speciﬁc licensure issues. Board oﬃcers comprise the Executive Commi�ee. The Credentialing Commi�ee reviews the education, experience, and examination credentials of applicants and the continuing education compliance of licensees. The Rules Commi�ee oversees existing and proposed changes to
practice” state: every one who a landscape architect must be licensed by the Minnesota Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design (AELSLAGID), referred to more simply as the Board. The Board meets usually monthly. All meetings are open to the public.
that a violation of the law within the Board’s jurisdiction is likely to have occurred, the Complaint Commi�ee will make a recommendation to the Board. If the Board determines, based on that recommendation, that a violation has in fact occurred, it will issue an Order, which articulates
graduation from a landscape architecture curriculum of a university or college accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) is required for licensure in Minnesota.
Examination: the applicant for licensure must pass the LARE. Experience: completion of a minimum of three years of qualifying experience under the supervision of licensed landscape architects is required, if the applicant has graduated from a ﬁve-year baccalaureate curriculum in landscape architecture accredited by LAAB. Four years of qualifying experience is required if the applicant has graduated from an institution with a four-year LAAB-accredited baccalaureate curriculum in landscape architecture. NOTE: For professionals licensed in other jurisdictions and seeking registration in Minnesota, licensure may be granted through comity: See Resources for more information.
the facts, violation, and terms of the discipline imposed. Orders become public information and summaries of them appear in the Board’s newsle�er, “The Communicator.”
For an annual fee, a practitioner can elect to have CLARB maintain a Council Record of her registration documents
The professional must be licensed according to the laws of every state in which she practices or uses a protected title.
practices landscape architecture or refers to himself as
ence. The professional must fulﬁll all three of
LARE, CLARB, AELSLAGID... What Does It All Mean? by Doris Preisendorf Sullivan, FASLA
The Three E’s of Licensure
the statues and rules that govern the profession. The Complaint Commi�ee addresses the enforcement of licensure statutes and rules within the Board’s jurisdiction. Two commi�ees concentrate on issues speciﬁc to the professions regulated by the Board: ALACID – architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design; and
SCAPE spring 05
he Council of Landscape Architecture Registration
and employment history. CLARB has also developed the Center for Collaboration in Education and Design (C2Ed)
Boards (CLARB) is a collection of state licensure/
which oﬀers continuing education opportunities for
registration boards in the U.S. and Canada. This
organization’s meetings provide a forum for the discus-
sion of board goals and licensure issues across the conti-
CLARB is responsible for over-seeing the development,
administration, and grading of the Landscape Architecture
education requirements vary from state to state. Some
Registration Examination (LARE). Information gathered
state licensure boards insist on pre-approving all CE
by CLARB in periodic task analyses of the profession is
activities. However, the Minnesota Board represents six
incorporated into the Landscape Architecture Body of
professions some of which are comprised of multiple
Knowledge (LABOK) study. The task analysis and the
disciplines. Therefore, the Minnesota Board has decided
LABOK study then become the basis for developing
to leave the choice of appropriate educational activities
LARE examination problems. The Minnesota Board, in
to the discretion of its licensees, relying on their profes-
addition, has turned over examination administration
sionalism to guide them in their choices.
nent. As a member board, Minnesota sends delegates to CLARB meetings.
esponsible professionals must stay abreast of changes in her/his profession. Most states, including Minnesota, now require ‘Continuing
Education’ (CE) for the renewal of licensure. Continuing
duties to CLARB.
Several types of activities qualify for CE credit in addition
Licensure Nationwide The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) actively advocates for licensure in all states. The “Government” tab on the ASLA website (www.asla.org) shows current licensure status for each state as well as a listing of state licensing boards and contact information. All states have title and practice laws, except the following: States with title law only, which means any person may perform landscape architecture services, but only licenced landscape architects may CALL themselves landscape architects: • Illinois • Maine • Massachusetts • Michigan • New Jersey Virginia • Washington • West Virginia • • Wisconsin States with no licensure requirements for landscape architects: • Colorado • New Hampshire Vermont • Resources •
The Board meeting schedule and other general info is posted on the Board’s website: www.state.mn.us/ebranch/aelslagid/
For complete explanations of requirements (the 3 E’s), including the deﬁnition of qualifying experience and exceptions to the LAAB-accredited education requirement, see: www.state.mn.us/ebranch/aelslagid/ rules.html#1800.1500
For continuing education information, visit the Board website and click “Continuing Education.”
Further information about CLARB and the services it offers can be found at: www.clarb.org
to formal classroom work. The AELSLAGID web site lists 10 types of programs and activities acceptable for CE credit, including such activities as study tours, publishing papers, or obtaining a patent. This site also oﬀers a printable form (the Continuing Education Assessment Form), which can help determine which programs and activities will satisfy the requirements. During the periods of license renewal, some professionals are chosen randomly for review. The professional(s) on the Board representing the reviewee’s discipline reviews the selected ﬁles. The licensee may be required to submit documentation such as notes, handouts, and other materials saved from courses, or materials such as an outline prepared for a presentation made by the licensee. It is required, therefore, to save documentation in the
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event that the practitioner is called upon to verify the relevance of CE credits claimed for registration renewal.
icensed professionals should understand that State Boards serve the people. The reason states regulate the design professions is to protect the public’s
health, safety, and welfare. To ensure such regulation can accomplish its goals, professionals should themselves protect the value of licensure by understanding and respecting the rules and statutes that govern their profes-
sion, by conscientiously choosing continuing education activities, and by helping to ensure that anyone practicing as a professional is licensed as a professional.
Doris Preisendorf Sullivan, FASLA, is a landscape architect for the St. Paul District of the US Army Corps of Engineers. She serves on the Minnesota Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design and is Chair of the Board’s Complaint Commi�ee.
to advertise in
__SCAPE contact Adam Arvidson, editor at
MNLA’s landscape and irrigation professionals salute the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects! WE’RE PROUD TO WORK WITH YOU TO CREATE AND CARE FOR MINNESOTA’S OUTDOOR LIVING ENVIRONMENT. To learn more about the MNLA see our website at www.mnla.biz Dont miss the region’s largest event for green industry professionals.
MINNESOTA GREEN EXPO at the Minneapolis. Convention Center January 4-6, 2006
Maximize your earning and learning potential by taking part in the seminars and visiting the huge trade show. ALL THE DETAILS ARE AT www.minnesotagreenexpo.com
Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association
CREATING & CARING FOR YOUR ENVIRONMENT
email@example.com 612-312-2126 ������������������������������������������������������������ ��������������������������������
���������������������������� ���������������������������������������� for a calendar of events, chapter newsle�er, board members, award winning projects, membership information, and more, visit the oﬃcial website:
SCAPE spring 05
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Five Designers, Five Questions
Twenty-Five Uncommon Answers
Those who shape the land come in a wide variety of types: diﬀerent philosophies, diﬀerent
For this ﬁrst quarterly
conversation, we picked just ﬁve -- hand selected to represent a general cross section.
photography by Kerri Jamison
They all got the same questions, and had about a month to mull them over. Here are their answers....
Kevin BIEHN 22
SCAPE spring 05
What is a landscape architect?
A landscape architect solves outdoor
Landscape architects are potential
We are a profession -- so each of us
spatial problems as humankind
masters of time and earthly space.
should profess something.
struggles to live upon the earth.
They project the transformation of
What I used to think: A person that
Confusing and comprehensive by
designs space with plants and earth
deﬁnition, a landscape architect is a
complex problem solver, who works
land to continue and enhance life.
Most LA’s profess a belief in ecology.
What LA’s have told me: LA’s should
across many disciplines to improve
A landscape architect tries to create
In this process we compose spaces
I ﬁnd ecological theory—at least
the environment in which we live,
harmony between humans and the
by using live media and other
how it is typically expressed by
What I think: LA’s care about how the
work, and recreate. From residen-
rest of our world.
volatile substances in compositions
world is experienced, and consider
tial yard to oﬃce park to an entire
knowledge of natural systems, a
on an only slightly more stable
leading directly to regulation of
sense of responsibility towards our
medium (earth). More prosaically, a
human thought and creativity. I did
outside of a building. It becomes a
design pleasing landscapes, which
earth, and a sense of humor.
landscape architect is a professional
not become a landscape architect to
question of territory; each profes-
are beautiful and functional.
who helps clients understand, shape,
tell others what to do. I became a
sion endeavors to carve out more
and visualize change in the land, and
landscape architect to give people
who represents that change in forms
the liberty to express their creativity,
professions. I personally believe that
that lead to policy, construction, and
particularly their ability to fashion
design talent should not be limited,
other actions. What distinguishes
their own environment.
and that serious professionals should
a landscape architect from other
continue their education to develop
designers is the breadth, and whole-
technical expertise in design areas
ness of vision -- and the capacity to
which interest them.
get that vision implemented.
Why does everyone think landscape architects just plant shrubs in summer and plow snow in winter?
Landscape architects have failed to
Partly it’s our recent history in
Hopefully not everyone thinks this
The word “landscape” is too closely
If our families don’t really under-
create a legal niche for providing
Minnesota that some of us did do
way. In fact, I think this impression
associated with landscaping. The
stand what it is we do, it is no wonder
those things. And maybe still do.
is diminishing as more is wri�en
word “architect” becomes a quali-
that the public assumes landscape
doctors, and engineers have done
Partly it is also that we have not
about landscape architects and their
ﬁer. I have recently heard that
architects are governed by the sharp-
a great job of promoting their own
publicized our best work. And we
contributions in the popular press.
someone was the “architect” of a
ness of a colored pencil or a lawn
cause by making it illegal for non-
receive li�le credit from the rest of
In Minnesota, we are fortunate to
ﬁnancial plan. Thomas Jeﬀerson was
mower blade. Our title (two words
professionals to practice. The public
the press for our collaborative work.
have several local and national corre-
the “architect” of our constitution.
which are associated with separate
accepts the idea that professional
(Did anyone notice that all of the
spondents to leading magazines
training is necessary to protect public
AIA Honor Award winning teams
and journals that are constantly
Architecture is an old profession,
us out in a hole of confusion. If we
safety and health. The profession of
this year included LAs?)
presenting the work of landscape
which used to encompass all aspects
expect our family, colleagues, and
architects as contributing signiﬁ-
of building. Our culture has not
the public to understand the value
landscape architecture has failed to
related professions) certainly starts
dominate in the landscape arenas
Related to all of this is the ‘landscape
cantly to the health and welfare of
been taught to distinguish between
of the profession’s contributions, we
that relate to public health, safety,
architecture is not rocket science’
our communities with designs that
need to communicate the WHY in
syndrome, i.e., the general public’s
express the pure joy of being alive.
addition to the WHAT we do. That
sense (and sometimes, our own)
being said, my mother still wonders
that landscape design is something
how I stay busy during the winter.
everyone can do. We need to project the values of professional projects again and again.
SCAPE spring 05
What do landscape architects need to learn?
To listen to the earth. To add soul to
Virtually everything that relates
How to use a pencil would be nice.
Each profession needs to learn to
Progress and innovation can only
to earth and its inhabitants. This
Too much is done on a computer.
happen when we challenge ourselves
simple fact makes landscape archi-
Computers are a tool. We need to
utilizing their talents to create a team
tecture a really hard discipline to
understand be�er when it is appro-
which can create a be�er project than
teach and learn, and a tough profes-
priate to use a 2B or 3H pencil or
any one of them can conceive of on
sion to master.
AutoCAD. One tool does not ﬁt all.
their own. I have worked under
and our clients.
the leadership of landscape archiAlso we should learn to be bilingual
tects, and I have managed leading
in a world that demands evangelism
landscape architects. Leadership is
and technical competence. We need
determined by contract and respect.
to be able to excite audiences while delivering products that actually work.
What is your favorite plant? Why?
Bur oak. They are gnarly, oﬀer a
Probably the hackberries in my
I really like Cyanobacteria because
I like the live oaks in California.
I am engrossed with the unique sense
huge sheltering canopy, and sustain
they have such potential.
Magnolias in bloom blow my mind.
of enclosure and habitat provided
squirrels—the comedians of nature.
neotropicals from Latin America
If you climb an avocado tree, the
by the native forest understory.
come to feed themselves on their
limbs are springy, as though they
This group contains a multitude of
way north every spring. They are not
will break oﬀ, but they appear thick,
distinctive species, but my favorite
only singularly beautiful to watch in
like an oak. Strawberries make
within this category is the American
their bright yellow quickness, but
edible ground cover, and nothing
hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana). My
they remind me of our connection
smells like a gardenia. Irises ﬁlter
a�achment to this particular plant
the rest of the hemisphere. This is,
and clean water. Bamboo can make
stems from a childhood fondness of
literally, ﬂyover land, but it has a
ﬂooring that is harder than maple,
the plant’s distinguished “muscle-
really important airport with global
and it re-grows because it is a grass.
Even pond scum…what a brilliant
impressed with this under-utilized
color of green!
species’ remarkable ability to thrive
Today, I am
in more hostile environments. Why pick?
SCAPE spring 05
In what ways should landscape architects change?
We should unite against rapacious
No more cheap decoration. Read
Margaret Mead once said that one
Landscape architects need to educate
I am overjoyed with the current
development, and work towards
more. Pay a�ention to the changes
of the ways to acquire wisdom
their allied professions what they
that are going on in politics, in the
was to have a religious conversion
care about, what their education
biosphere, on the land. Make your
and then to get over it. I became a
covers, and how they can help in the
work as valuable as it can be, and
landscape architect because I was
solution of a design problem. Even
design (take your pick).
charge appropriately. Some of us
deeply concerned about ecological
the College of Architecture and
however, concerned with the liberal
have transcended décor to become
degradation. But I got over it. Now,
use of such a�achments to projects,
brilliant artists. Some have become
I design roads for a living.
doesn’t tell the architecture students
which are none of the above or a
important ﬁgures in applied ecolog-
what landscape architecture is. At
watered-down version of the theme.
ical science and engineering. Some
the University of Wisconsin School
We are doing a disservice to the
of Architecture and Urban Planning,
profession and se�ing the ﬁeld back
for sustainability, history, beauty,
the urban planners studied the
by a�aching these labels to projects
hydrology, and memory; and many
sculpting of urban space, which
which are not achieving the titled
have built and published in a whole
seems to me to overlap with the
range of venues. So now, conver-
CALA deﬁnition of landscape archi-
gence has to occur in these enlarged
tecture. The world needs to know
practices such that we pay closer
what you do.
“ecological” I am,
a�ention to the sustainability of the fundamental media of change.
Care to add to the conversation? Maybe you have different answers? __SCAPE welcomes letters to the editor. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A�er graduating from the University of Minnesota, Marjorie worked for the City of Saint Paul, directing a research/design project on Defensible Space at a public housing project—her home for two years. In 1981 Marjorie le� Saint Paul to teach graphics and design for the landscape architecture program at her alma mater, and accompanied students to China for their spring trip. Marjorie became partners with Roger Martin in 1983, as Principal in the ﬁrm Martin & Pitz Associates, Inc. Their practice deals primarily with public gathering spaces. Favorite projects include Lower Phalen Creek Community Vision, Children’s Memorial at Resurrection Cemetery, Minnetonka Community Center, Upper Iowa University, and the Sensory Garden and the Shade Tree Exhibits at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Marjorie’s foray into the art world yielded two projects last year: Tree Man!—a willow tree house at the Arboretum; and Merwyn—a concrete fantasy creature emerging out of the Seward neighborhood. Look for The Ravenous Bird this year at the Arboretum, and Turning Leaf at the Minneapolis North Regional Library.
Lance Neckar is Associate Dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (CALA) at the University of Minnesota and a Center for Transportation Studies Faculty Scholar. He is a registered landscape architect engaged in private practice in the ﬁrm of Landscape Research. His applied research projects include a major study of green infrastructure for the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources, and the 2003 urban design and environment section of the Transportation and Regional Growth Study of the Twin Cities (sponsored by the University’s Center for Transportation Studies and the Metropolitan Council). Lance is also author or co-author of several books and articles including an introductory essay (with Professor Daniel Nadenicek) to the re-publication of Landscape Architecture As Applied to the Wants of the West by H. W. S. Cleveland, and the forthcoming essay, ‘Berlin: Topology of Contemplation’ in Contemporary Contemplative Landscapes, edited by Professor Rebecca Krinke.
SCAPE spring 05
Craig Churchward, ASLA, is Director of Context Sensitive Solutions and Transportation Enhancements at HNTB Minneapolis. He has been practicing landscape architecture since 1979 when he received his BLA from the University of Minnesota. Everyone else in his studio received their degrees in 1978. Craig is the man behind the shovel in the full-scale diorama of LA students that greet visitors to the new CALA building. He taught Design Studio and Theory for nineteen years as a University of Minnesota adjunct faculty member. He’s currently teaching 1200 civil engineers in Michigan (forty at a time) how to design roads without screwing up communities or the environment.
Janis LaDouceur is an owner of Barbour/Ladouceur Design Group, which has been designing public projects for 12 years. She wanted her life’s work to have meaning. She wanted to make the world a be�er place. She needed to create, and she picked Architecture as her art. Janis’ philosophy: As people are born, live their lives and die, it is their stories that carry on. Each person is a culmination of the joy, struggle, sacriﬁce, and honor of all the people who have lived before. Lives can be traced by the homes people live in and the monuments people build. Janis wants to tell these stories, to design tomorrow’s archeology. Janis is proud of her work on the Richard I. Bong WWII Heritage Center, Poplar, WI; the North West Company Fur Post Interpretive Center, Pine City, MN; the Science House and Big Back Yard at the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN; and light rail transit stations at Franklin Avenue and the Government Center. Of her unbuilt works, she is proud of Ba�le Point Historic Site - Ojibwe Heritage Center, Leech Lake, MN; “Ghost Dance” Dakota Heritage Center, Badlands, SD; the Edna G. Tugboat Museum, Two Harbors, MN; and “The Nicollet,” a ﬁ�y story mixed-use tower on Nicollet Mall.
Kevin Biehn has more than seven years of experience in environmental consulting. His work to protect water quality, promote ﬂora and fauna biodiversity, and advance low-impact development is his passion. This experience includes work with numerous public agencies and private clients throughout the Upper Midwest. Kevin’s notable current projects include the Rice Creek Meander Restoration (restoration of over 1-mile of this formerly ditched creek in Shoreview, MN); the Li�le Falls Business Park (a 40 acre “lowimpact” business park in Li�le Falls, MN, which maintains predevelopment hydrology); and the Hennepin Paper Company Park (the preservation of an historic mill and remediation and restoration of contaminated site in Li�le Falls, MN). Kevin is ge�ing married in August of 2005. He is also working on house-breaking and training a 10-week old Wirehaird Pointing Griﬀon puppy named Pippa. He recently completed a month long fellowship with the Kinship Conservation Institute in Bozeman, MT; and helped organize the Ducks, Wetlands, and Clean Water Rally at the Minnesota State Capital Mall on April 2nd (www.wetlandsrally.org).
Dictionary, however, focuses on the work of artists,
The Hometown Advantage Bulletin
merely landscape architects as we might deﬁne them. The
by Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA
design philosophies of these individuals, though, actually reinforce the cross-professional shared connection to the
headlines include “Wal-Mart Money Trumps Land Use
Items of interest in the broader printSCAPE... BOOK
Dictionary of Today’s Landscape Designers
by Pierluigi Nicolin and Francesco Rapishti
Milano, Italy: Skira Editore (www.skira.net), 2003; 347 pages, $29.95 U.S. distributor: Rizzoli by Random House review by John D. Slack, ASLA Vito Acconci, Yves Brunier, Charles Correa...: Names of prominent designers that have had a signiﬁcant eﬀect on landscape architecture -- a profession that has been described as a balance between architecture, gardener,
If you’ve ever thought no one else out there knows what
Process in Bennington, Vermont,” “Philadelphia Weighs
you’re going through. That no one else knows the diﬃ-
Predatory Superstore Law,” “Madison Limits Footprint of
I found myself unable to put this book down once I
cult road you’ve trudged. That no one else has fought as
Big Box Stores,” and “Keeping Louisville Weird.”
recognized the connection to the land that all design
hard as you to keep big box retail out of your city, you’re
The imagery of the representative
in luck. You’re not alone. “We wanted to share what was
The most notable aspect of “The Bulletin” is the access
projects is spectacular, and (if you are like me) you will
going on around the country,” says Stacy Mitchell of the
it gives to highly-detailed studies of the impacts of chain
spend twice as much time “reading” the design as you
Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), “we wanted to
retail on communities. This information gives factual
do reading about each professional. Some of the design
see some cross-fertilization of ideas.” Mitchell is a senior
back-up to all you crusaders out there looking to keep (ﬁll
professionals that I most enjoyed studying were Tadao
researcher with ILSR, and she edits “The Hometown
in the blank) out of your hometowns. It’s nice to know
Ando, Adriaan Geuze and Richard Long -- just to name
Advantage Bulletin,” a monthly newsle�er that puts news
you’re not alone, isn’t it?
a few. I ﬁnd myself referring to this guide book almost
from the anti-corporate retail front at your ﬁngertips.
weekly, not necessarily to look at a speciﬁc designer or
To subscribe to “The Hometown Advantage Bulletin,”
project, but more as an inspirational tool to help inﬂuence
ILSR is a 30 year old national nonproﬁt organization
send a blank e-mail to home_town_advantage-subscribe@
my design decisions.
working to advance, in Mitchell’s words, “sustainable
topica.email-publisher.com. Or visit ILSR’s website at
community-centered models of economic development.”
– you guessed it – www.ilsr.org
Motoko Ishii, Regina Poly, Peter Latz...: Names of promi-
Translation: reining in corporate retail (I won’t mention
nent designers we should all get to know.
any names – you know who they are). “The Bulletin” is one of ILSR’s many activities, which focus on research and
Dictionary of Today’s Landscape Designers
education. It started gracing inboxes monthly in late 2000,
identiﬁes and explores the
as a series of headlines, synopses, and links. You can click
careers of more than 80
on the link to visit the full article, which will doubtlessly
design professionals who
be packed with the most pertinent information available.
are inherently linked (to
“I have a pre�y high bar,” admits Mitchell, because there
use an applicable pun) by
is so much happening – lots of successes, lots of failures,
nature, to the profession of landscape architecture.
lots of news, and lots of studies. Mitchell culls the herd to
Once you are able to get
her readers. She gets her material from news sources,
around 8 stories each month, in order to not overwhelm from readers, and from ILSR’s own research, and she
past Nicolin and Rapishti’s
does all the writing herself, in a factual (even if expectedly
complex prefaces on the notions
sites, history of design on
“The Bulletin” focuses in on a few key areas of information,
the land, and the inherent
and tries to give some samples of each area in each issue.
relationships between all
Readers will see stories about communities that have
design professionals, you
implemented (or are implementing) new laws or policies,
will be treated to a very stimulating guide book. It is arranged alphabetically by designer, which lends a simple, clean layout to the book, further reinforced by the striking imagery within. As you peruse the book, it becomes an emotional journey. Names and project imagery that are familiar immediately jump oﬀ of the page and instill a sense of connection with these esteemed designers, through the shared understanding of the cra� and methodology of landscape architecture.
John Slack is a registered landscape architect with DSU, Inc. He has over 10 years of experience working with urban redevelopment, streetscapes, public open space design, and site planning. He currently serves as president of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects
independent business alliances and their educational eﬀorts, anti-trust news, new research on the economic beneﬁt of small businesses versus big boxes, and (occasionally) international correspondence. The articles pull no punches, and don’t hesitate to call the alleged oﬀenders by name. The bold text is obviously constructed to draw in the sympathetic reader. In the April issue, for instance,
SCAPE spring 05
SKIRA EDITORE, ALL
well wri�en and visually
Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA, is Director of Communications for the Minnesota Chapter of Landscape Architects. He is editor of MASLA’s publications _SCAPE and InCommon. He is a landscape architect at DSU, Inc., in Minneapolis and writes regularly for Landscape Architecture Magazine
ORION MAGAZINE, ALL.
In Other Words
photographers, architects, and other land-shapers -- not
This irrigation plan isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on if the products I specify don’t measure up. Install confidence. Not frustration. Install Rain Bird.
In Other Words
Care to alert us to a book, newsletter, website, magazine, or lecture series you ﬁnd interesting? __SCAPE welcomes letters to the editor. Send them to email@example.com.
whips Started in the late 1970s by members of the Bloomington law ﬁrm Larkin Hoﬀman, the earliest SLUC programs were intended to bring a balanced view to the world of land use discussions, which were seen as biased against
by Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA
developers and business interests.
As the programs
took shape and membership grew, the organization soon
Here’s a question for you. What do these things have in common: Paolo Soleri’s Arcosanti, Slate.com writer
The best thing Land+Living is for (besides, of course, happy
Andrew Blum’s take on the “lifestyle center,” happiness
hour name dropping) is inspiration. Each proﬁle on the
levels in British architects (very low, incidentally), “Big
main site is accompanied by pictures, a brief description,
Head Coasters” (don’t even ask…), the National Landscape
and links to related articles and designers’ websites (all in
Architecture Month green bracelet, and a Michael Van
separate windows, of course, so you don’t actually have
Valkenburgh / Mel Bochner garden at Carnegie Mellon
to leave the comfortable conﬁnes of Land+Living). The
University? Give up? These are a sampling of items
unusual, wild, weird, and (a�er all) worthwhile is right at
appearing currently on the front page of landliving.com.
your ﬁngertips. Ahh… the power of the internet. The site changes o�en, so check back. But don’t worry. There’s
Founded by architectural and landscape designer James
an archive of old proﬁles, in case you happened to miss
Lippinco� and computer programmer Anthony Barba�o
Kohler’s sleek tankless toilet or the totally surreal website
(both Los Angeles based), landliving.com (they say
link for Philippe Starck’s new Puma shoes.
Land+Living, but don’t type the ‘+’ into your browser) is an internet clearing house for the generally noteworthy in design. And in the pale green net-world of Land+Living,
Good design affects the quality of life both through function and aesthetic pleasure.
assumed its primary mission as more educational than special interest, meeting a pent-up demand for information and discussion on a wide range of related topics. An independent board of directors was established and the seeds were planted for what was to become an excellent professional education on issues aﬀecting land use and development in the Twin Cities.
“In other organizations the planners meet with other planners, lawyers with other lawyers, architects with architects...” Membership is open to anyone interested in the core themes of land use, development, and design, and SLUC a�racts others around the edges as well – academics,
the parameters of design are very broad.
ﬁnanciers, politicians, etc. The programs are held monthly
over lunch a Twin Cities hotel. More information about
scrolling through the ever changing cornucopia of diversity on the main page, you can also reﬁne your perusal by clicking on one of the categories on the right-hand side. Here, you can dive deeper into, say, appliances (where you can read about retro refrigerators or an innovative hexagonal-tile cooking surface), budget (from paper ﬂatware to a lamp made from your own photo slides), events (where an exhibition on contemporary Greek hotels meets Pasadena modernism), and even pets (“bark deco” speaks for itself). The landscape section, incidentally, is particularly interesting right now. So what is the common link in all this? Per the website, Land+Living is “dedicated to modern lifestyle and design.” Lippinco� and Barba�o believe (again per the site) that “the connection people have with the environment in which they live, both indoors and out, is of utmost importance, and that good design aﬀects the quality of life both through function and aesthetic pleasure.” To that end, Land+Living is, essentially, bringing you a wide range of topics for discussion. And discuss them you can
SLUC, becoming a member, the schedule of luncheon
programs, and registering for individual programs can be
found online at www.sensibleland.org.
by Phil Carlson, AICP
At a recent luncheon gathering of the Sensible Land Use Coalition (SLUC), I scanned the hotel ballroom, knowing it would soon ﬁll to capacity with 200 or more people – among them housing developers, bankers, civil engineers, architects, landscape architects, university faculty, industrial park managers, land use a�orneys, planners in growing suburbs, planners in aging suburbs, planners at the Metropolitan Council, and planning consultants like myself. The emcee stepped to the podium to introduce the day’s topic: a discussion of national builders in the region’s home building market. This would be a typical SLUC session – presenting issues, facts, and people I would not otherwise have known about, and allowing me to rub shoulders with a broad range of folks in planning, design, and development.
Recent SLUC programs have looked at innovative designs for stormwater, how to ﬁnance aﬀordable housing, the Metropolitan Council’s regional blueprint, the legalities of land use regulations, traﬃc calming, and a tour of the new
(or at least in print?)
LRT line. Because the programs draw from a cross section of professions involved in these activities (and o�en bring in national experts) SLUC members ﬁnd value month a�er month. As one city planner once told me, “In other organizations the planners meet with other planners, lawyers with other lawyers, architects with architects, and builders with builders – but this is the one place where they all get together to compare notes.” Phil Carlson, AICP, is a Senior Planner with the Minneapolis consulting ﬁrm Dahlgren, Shardlow, and Uban, Inc.; a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Architecture; and a former board member of the Sensible Land Use Coalition
is looking for writers Have a story idea? Read a good book lately? Know of a good website? Have a favorite magazine? Send your article ideas to Adam Regn Arvidson
– also on the website. Click on the heading of any of the proﬁles, and you will be able to read what others think, and add your own two cents to the global exchange.
WANT TO SEE YOUR NAME IN LIGHTS?
SCAPE spring 05
a publication of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects