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shift land mark

CSU landscape architecture magazine / winter 2015


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Associate Professor Joe McGrane, working the night shift to create the magazine caricature 1. taylor tidwell '15 2. jessica doig '15 3. matthew weiderspon '15 4. carl vogt '17 5. allie bunker '16 6. mitch nelson ‘15 7. kayleigh robinson ‘15 8. scott carman, instructor 9. jane choi, assistant professor 10. matt bombard ‘15


EDITOR’S MESSAGE The only constant is that everything changes. Cities, people, politics and the natural world are all in constant flux. Architecturally, these changes present opportunities for rethinking what has come before, sometimes in response to the change and sometimes despite it. Landscapes can exhibit qualities of resilience that allow for regeneration following an ecological upheaval or citizens rebuilding after a natural disaster can take the opportunity to rethink how they wish to shape their environment. This issue of land.mark is dedicated to better understanding and appreciating the significant role played by a shift in circumstances - shifting climate, shifting topography, shifting priorities and ultimately, shifting approaches to the design of the built environment. In the following pages, our student editors explore the notion of ‘shift,’ specifically through the eyes of unique individuals whose personal and professional preoccupation has centered on this topic. In the Alumni Q&A, Jessica Doig ‘15 and Mitch Nelson ‘15 interviews Scott Streeb ‘07 and SueAnne Ware ‘89, who have each engaged with this concept in their work and careers in fascinating ways. Taylor Tidwell ‘15 shares the story of his friend and classmate, Ryan Bowman ‘14, who had to overcome staggering personal challenges to thrive in CSU’s LA Program, and Matthew Weiderspon ‘15 presents the work of Fort Collins artist (and CSU Associate Professor) Mary-Ann Kokoska, who brings the visceral energy and force of catastrophic natural events to life through her art. Finally, Carl Vogt ‘16 brings the conversation much closer to the actual flames and flood waters in his conversation with Jeff Rulli, the GIS Manager for Larimer County, who had the unenviable task of coordinating the local and federal responses to the High Park fire. So we invite you to shift gears a bit and join us on our tour of the ever-changing social and natural landscape of Colorado.

- Jane Choi, Managing Editor

THE COVER: A shattered mirror photographed at dusk, reflecting the shift of day and night, representing the cycles of change through time. Designed by Jessica Doig ‘15 BSLA, Mitch Nelson ’15 BSLA and Kayleigh Robinson ’15 BSLA.

land•mark is the annual e-magazine of the Landscape Architecture Program at Colorado State University. The contents herein were produced as a uniquely collaborative endeavor amongst interested students and faculty with a shared commitment to creating a forum where alumni, students and members of the landscape architecture community can have a greater voice and connection to our program. It aims to allow readers to stay apprised of newsworthy activities and events, to serve as a hub for current landscape architecture news, and to provide links to other sites of interest. Each issue of land • mark celebrates a unique moment in time, a slice of the present at CSU, offering a glimpse into the focus and priorities of students, faculty and professionals. Thank you for being a part of our community.


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contents 3 4 14

people

news & events

faculty news

18 32 50

alumni news

feature articles

education abroad

54 64 68

studio works

student awards

musings


2 • people

Advance your design skills! Advance your theoretical skills! Advance your representational skills! Advance your technical skills! ATTENTION, BSLA DEGREE HOLDERS! Please consider our new Master of Landscape Architecture program for your graduate degree. Its principles-, methods- and skills-building studios and opportunity for focus in CSU’s leading environmental disciplines are geared for both promotions and new directions in firms and agencies. Your accredited BSLA will satisfy requirements for advanced standing in the MLA program.

For application details please contact Professor Kelly Curl at 970-491-7283 or kelly.curl@colostate.edu Deadline for application – July 17, 2015 (for fall 2015)


people • 3

people THE LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE PROGRAM Administration

Faculty

Stephen Wallner

Jane Choi

Department Head, Professor stephen.wallner@colostate.edu

Assistant Professor jane.choi@colostate.edu

Kathi Nietfeld

Kelly Curl

Tracy Smith

Brad Goetz

Director of Undergraduate Advising tracy.smith@colostate.edu

Professor bradley.goetz@colostate.edu

Sarah Solano

Patrick Martin

Account Manager sarah.solano@colostate.edu

Associate Professor patrick.martin@colostate.edu

Danielle Abeyta

Joe McGrane

Office Manager, Graduate Coordinator kathi.nietfeld@colostate.edu

Academic Support Coordinator danielle.abeyta@colostate.edu

Assistant Professor, Key Advisor kelly.curl@colostate.edu

Associate Professor j.mcgrane@colostate.edu

Merlyn Paulson Professor merlyn.paulson@colostate.edu

For more information and news from the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, please visit our website at <hortla.agsci.colostate.edu> and ‘Like’ our Facebook page at <www.facebook.com/CSU.land.mark>


4 • news & events

news & events PROGRAM

01

Curriculum

Assistant Professor KELLY CURL has created a new elective course for the recently-approved Horticulture Business Online Degree Program. This is the first online LAND course, open to all current students, alumni, and the community through Online Plus. The course is LAND 480A-1, Landscape Theory and Garden Design, and is currently offered in the 2015 spring and summer semesters. By completing this course, which explores landscape theory and design principles for garden design, students will: • Become accomplished in landscape history, theory and basic design strategies and processes; • Develop a strong skill set for garden design at varying scales; • Develop skills in research, critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis; and • Develop advanced representational techniques. <www.online.colostate.edu/courses/LAND/LAND480A1.dot>

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Students in Assistant Professor JANE CHOI’s Irrigation and Water Conservation collaborated with the City of Fort Collins to design the first demonstration living wall in the Choice City. Student ideas were presented to local design professionals and city representatives in the form of a design competition, with the design by JESSICA DOIG ‘15 emerging as the winner. Doig’s design will be built by city staff in the Spring of 2015. <www.fcgov.com/planning/pdf/nature_in_the_city_living-wall.pdf>

Website

Professor KELLY CURL spearheaded a program-wide effort to revamp and update the website for the Landscape Architecture Program. The new site features content for prospective and current students, alumni, faculty, and anyone else who may be interested in the program. The site also now features a new student-run blog called ‘Land Blog,’ which is the best source for up-to-the-moment news about program announcements and upcoming events. <la.agsci.colostate.edu> <scasla-csu.blogspot.com>

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Visiting Instructor SCOTT CARMAN, Principal of Fort Collins-based firm

02 C2 | Studio, taught an advanced graduate-level studio entitled ‘Nature in the City,’ a collaborative effort with the City of Fort Collins that seeks to bring the experience of natural environments to all residents. Students in the course developed a geographic information systems (GIS)-based methodology for identifying and evaluating potential sites for improvement and developed designs that balanced ecological function and social benefit. <www.c2-studio.com>

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news & events • 5

EVENTS Park(ing) Day 03

CSU master of landscape architecture student EVAN MOORE ‘15 participated in Park(ing) Day, a movement which began in San Francisco in 2005 that seeks to bring awareness to the importance of urban open space through the temporary transformation of public parking spaces into miniature ‘parklets’ for the enjoyment of passersby. <parkingday.org>

ASLA End of Summer Social 04

CSU students attended the annual American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Colorado End of Summer Social in September. The event took place at the Denver Botanic Gardens, while the Dale Chihuly art exhibit was on display. Students had the opportunity to network and capture beautiful pictures of Chihuly’s unique glass work. <www.aslacolorado.org>

Firm Visits 05

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In an on-going effort to network and learn from local professionals, SCASLA members visited both WENK ASSOCIATES and DIG STUDIO in Denver. It was an opportunity for students to gain some insight into professional practice and discover the office culture of these two prominent local firms. <www.wenkla.com> <www.digstudioinc.com>

Presentations 06

DENNIS RUBBA ‘86, a principal at STUDIOINSITE of Denver, shared many of his projects with students in November. Rubba focused on his twenty-eight years working on urban spaces, campuses and hybrid landscapes. <www.studio-insite.com> MESA DESIGN GROUP’S, JOE STEFFES gave a presentation on the firm’s prominent projects and employment opportunities in Dallas. <www.mesadesigngroup.com> MICHAEL TUNTE, senior project manager, and JAY COURTNEY ‘11, landscape architect and planner, both of DESIGN WORKSHOP Aspen, gave a talk on urban design and current firm projects to landscape architecture students in September. <www.designworkshop.com>

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6 • news & events

EVENTS L.A. Days 2014

The program’s flagship event of the year, once again showcased the best the profession has to offer. This long-running, student-organized event brought some of today’s most prominent practitioners and academics to CSU’s campus for presentations.

Margie Ruddick, Principal at Margie Ruddick LANDSCAPE. Ruddick is the recipient of the 2013 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in landscape architecture. She discussed her journey as a landscape architect and how she came to find her niche in the profession. Some of the projects she presented included Queens Plaza, The New York Aquarium and Biscayne Bay Garden. <margieruddick.com>

Ken Smith, Principal at Ken Smith

WORKSHOP, discussed his evolution as a designer and sources for inspiration. Smith presented several recent works, including The TFANA Arts Plaza, East River Waterfront Esplanade and the Croton Reservoir Water Treatment Plant. He also took the time to talk about the importance of detailing in many of his projects at a wide range of scales. <www.kensmithworkshop.com>

Chris Guillard, a founding partner of CMG Landscape Architecture, presented recent works and shared his experiences after leaving CSU and how they shaped his view of what it means to work in the professional realm. Much of his work is focused on the value of public open space and urban landscapes. Some of the projects Guillard discussed include the Facebook Campus in Menlo Park and the Panhandle Bandshell in San Francisco. <www.cmgsite.com>


news & events • 7

L.A. Days 2015 (April 13 - 17) The L.A. Days speaker series for spring 2015 will include the following notable designers: Landscape architecture students Emily Kotulak, John Walker Davis and Jessica Doig prepare for an LA Days lecture.

Mikyoung Kim is an award-winning international landscape architect and artist whose work focuses on merging sculptural vision with the urban landscape. Her projects are comprised of designs that meld site, sculpture and sustainable initiatives. She has won multiple national awards from ASLA and the AIA. Kim presented many of her recent works, including the ChonGae Canal Restoration and the Crown Sky Garden in Chicago, Illinois. <www.myk-d.com>

Julia Czerniak, CLEAR; Andrea Cochran, Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture; Ying-Yu Hung, SWA; Claire Fellman, Snohetta; David Walker, PWP. For updates, please see the SCASLA website. <scasla.agsci.colostate.edu> <scasla-csu.blogspot.com>

Mary Margaret Jones, Senior Principal at Hargreaves Associates, has lead design teams for many award-winning projects, such as the 2002 Sydney Olympics Master Plan Design, Crissy Field in San Francisco’s Presidio and Discovery Green in Houston, Texas. She presented many of her more prominent projects, including her work at Denver’s Union Station and the 2012 London Olympics Parklands. <www.hargreaves.com>


8 • news & events

EVENTS Fall Into Landscape Architecture 2014

For the inaugural presentation of this new lecture series, CSU’s Student Chapter of ASLA (SCASLA) hosted two prominent speakers to kick off the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Denver.

SCASLA President Rita Manna MLA ‘15, welcomes speakers and attendees to the inaugural Fall Into LA Lecture Series.

Chip Sullivan, an internationally-

known landscape architect and artist, spoke to attendees about his work as a ‘landscape cartoonist’ and reflected extensively on the importance of drawing and doodling to any design practice. Following the lecture, he led an evening drawing workshop for students in Old Town. <www.gonzogardens.com>


news & events â&#x20AC;˘ 9

Dan Euser, Founder of Dan Euser Watertechture Inc., is the designer of many prominent water features around the globe. In this presentation, he discussed many of his projects, most prominently the design of the waterfalls for the National 9/11 Memorial in New York, including the fascinating story of the engineering feats required to bring this project to fruition. <www.dewinc.biz>


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ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO


news & events • 11

The 2014 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO was held

in Denver in November. Professor Curl’s leadership and coordination resulted in organizing more than seventy CSU landscape architecture student volunteers for the event. This undertaking was a momentous opportunity for the students to attend the educational sessions, visit the EXPO, and network with national and internationally-renowned landscape architects. CSU also had an alumni table at the Edible Landscape Celebration at the Mile High Station in Denver during the conference. <www.aslameeting2014.com>

This page: 01 Elizabeth Boults, Brad Goetz, Chip Sullivan, Charles Colvin (CSU 2003) 02 Troy Sibelius ‘91, Cori Burt, Carl Vogt ‘17, Elizabeth Philbrick ‘17, Roger Sherman ‘89, Walker Christensen ‘97. 03 Nick Rael, Andy Madrick 04 Andy Madrick, Kelly Curl, Peter Walker, Nick Rael 05 Matt Weiderspon, Kyra Czerwinski, May Liu, Anna Dille, Emily Morris

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Opposite: May Liu and Rita Manna testing merchandising at the EXPO.

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Support the L.A. Program! Please consider supporting the Landscape Architecture Program with a tax-deductible financial gift at <advancing.colostate.edu/HLA/GIVE> and note in the ‘Questions and Comments’ section that the gift is for the Landscape Architecture Program.


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Evan Moore ‘15 MLA l, stands with Taylor Tidwell ‘15 BSLA, in one of his three Park(ing) Day parklets. The design pictured is inspired by Talk Like a Pirate Day and the Candy Shop, an establishment behind the parklet, which was represented with a wooden boat and giant candy.


14 • faculty news

faculty news Assistant Professor KELLY CURL was invited to display her photography exhibit of the Anthracite Coal Region at the opening reception of the 2014 CELA Conference held at The Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. Professor Curl received a Merit Award for the nine photographic works selected for display. In addition, Professor Curl also presented her research through a presentation and paper at the 2014 CELA Conference, titled Reclamation of PostMined Landscapes. Her research focuses on the role of landscape architects in the mining process during the remediation, reclamation, reprogramming and redesign of the post-mined landscapes. At the same conference, Professor Curl also served as a panelist for a discussion entitled “Landscape Architectural Documentation: Teaching and Practice Relationships,“ at the invitation of Principal Charles Ware and Associate Paul Squadrito from Design Workshop. Others on the panel included Terry Clements from Virginia Tech and Lori Catalano from UC Denver. The panel closely reviewed key documentation principles and best practices, making the case for improved documentation in the profession while arguing the strengths, weaknesses and implications of the traditional focus in teaching documentation and

Right: Mountainous Culm. Blaschak Coal Corporation, Mahanov City, Pennsylvania. Through the coal mining process of sorting the good coal from the waste, the discarded material was heaped in refuse piles throughout the coal regions of America. The new “wasted” mounds of culm became the new landscape identity, resulting in great land degradation, thousands of acres of abandoned strip mines, and miles of contaminated watersheds.

lastly, the relationships between academia, practice and the execution of well-built work. Looking ahead, Professor Curl recently had her upcoming abstract proposal accepted for the 2015 CELA Conference at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, where she will discuss the environmental objectives, landform determinants, and the integration of landform planning into mineral extraction operations. She was also invited to submit a series of photographic works that will be presented as a special film event at CELA 2015. Her work will be part of the film “Looking Down: Rediscovering Urban Ground” with original authors Phoebe Lickwar, Katya Crawford, Anne Whiston Spirn, and Austin Allen. This past fall, the Office of the Dean and Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture nominated Professor Curl to attend the FastTrack Leadership Intensive Training held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Participants were engaged in 21 hours of Live Classes covering assessment instruments and interactive activities. The Office of the Dean also nominated Professor Curl to be the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture representative on the College of Agricultural Science Dean’s Search Committee. Professor Curl is now teamed with CSU colleagues and Industry leaders who will play a significant role in the selection of the new CAS Dean. <www.kellycurl.com>


faculty news â&#x20AC;˘ 15


16 • faculty news

FACULTY NEWS Associate Professor JOE MCGRANE is just finishing a permanent public art installation along the Poudre River in Ft. Collins. The piece titled “Water Crossings” uses analog drawings to trace the evolving relationship between people and urban storm water. It is a sculptural setting that features a stone plaza, carved stone and stainless steel water table, and five illustrated art panels. The piece was commissioned through the City of Fort Collins Art in Public Places Program. <lamar.colostate.edu/~mcgrane>

Top: 1860: The Overland Trail crosses the creek on its way to Laporte. 1880: The Greeley, Salt Lake and Pacific Railroad lays tracks to the Stout quarries. Bottom: 1956: Horsetooth Reservoir fills Soldier Canyon. 2014: Floodway, habitat and trail improvements reconnect Soldier Creek to the Poudre River.


faculty news • 17

Assistant Professor JANE CHOI was selected as a 2014-15 Teaching Fellow at the Institute for Learning and Teaching at CSU and was a winner of the Provost’s Course Redesign Competition for her proposal to revamp LAND110, Introduction to Landscape Architecture. As part of her ongoing community advocacy work, Professor Choi collaborated with Visiting Instructor Scott Carman in the design of a learning garden at Cottonwood Plains Elementary School in Fort Collins, which primarily serves low-income families. Choi and Carman supervised the construction crew, consisting entirely of school and community volunteers. As a founder and steering committee member of the Urban Lab, Choi worked with City staff to facilitate a student design competition for the first Living Wall in the city, designed to serve as a demonstration and research site in support of future green infrastructure. In addition, she and Instructor Carman helped organize a community Open House event in December to solicit ideas and input regarding an upcoming design competition for Mason Street in Old Town. <urbanlab.colostate.edu> <www.c2-studio.com>

Top: Cottonwood Plains Elementary School families and community volunteers pull together to build a learning garden. Bottom: Urban Lab’s second annual Open House event in Old Town Square.


18 • alumni news

q&a Alumni News and Interviews by Jessica Doig ‘15 BSLA and Mitch Nelson ‘15 BSLA Our alumni have traveled all across the world and are continuously pushing the boundaries of the profession. Meet two of our notable alumni and see where their journeys as designers have taken them since leaving the program at CSU.


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SueAnne Wareâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s SIEVX Memorial in Canberra, Australia. Photo of the poles put in place in memor y of the lost refugees.


20 • alumni news

q&a SUEANNE WARE, a 1989 graduate of CSU’s undergraduate landscape architecture program, earned her MLA at the University of California at Berkeley and a PhD at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia in 2005. SueAnne has held teaching and administrative positions at several universities, including her current position at RMIT as Deputy Dean of Research and Innovation. SueAnne is also a design activist and has created many works that inspire people to see the world differently. She strives to design landscapes that create friction and facilitate social change.

SueAnne Ware is a Landscape Architect and design activist who found her start here at CSU and now calls Melbourne, Australia home. So how did she find her way across the pond and discover this unique realm of design activism? Following her graduation from CSU, SueAnne enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley to earn her Master of Landscape Architecture degree. During this time, she had the opportunity to work with Walter Hood, who told her she should consider the idea of teaching. Following her studies at Berkeley, Ware took Hood’s advice and moved to North Carolina to work as an assistant professor at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Soon after arriving, she was tasked with the challenge of creating a memorial for a school shooting massacre. The University had experienced an event very similar to the Kent State Massacre in 1969, but no memorial for the slain students had ever been built at the predominantly black university. Ware was a part of creating a memorial space; public gardens were planted in memory of the riots. North Carolina was a challenging environment for Ware, but it proved to be a critical stepping stone for her next endeavor. The thought of traveling overseas was not something Ware had previously given much thought. She was presented with the opportunity to travel to Australia to teach at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University and ended up never coming back. Ware later earned her PhD at RMIT, where she is currently the Deputy Dean of Research and Innovation. The Australian landscape struck a chord with her and she describes it as the type of place that grows on you and that deeply resonates with her. Her work at RMIT also gave her the opportunity to broaden her design thinking and find the types of challenges she had been seeking. Ware’s design interests are focused on the public realm and social issues. Given that the vast majority of landscape architecture work is in public spaces, she thought we as designers should be better at it. “Don’t stop being a designer because you’re engaged as a community activist, don’t give up design, we are trained as designers, so why wouldn’t we use that talent?” With many of her community-based projects, Ware was unhappy with trying to appease the masses and instead began to focus on provoking the masses, saying “...sometimes there needs to be friction. It’s okay that friction is present in these places.” People like Beth Diamond and Bill Mitchell became sources of inspiration for her. Their work talked about the need to contest the status quo and make thorny societal issues more visible. With this understanding, Ware began to see that sometimes a park is not always the answer. Since working in Australia, Ware has found many projects where a design can create social or psychological friction. Her project entitled ‘Anti-Memorial’ is a design for victims of heroin overdose. The project focused on illuminating the range of socio-economic classes that these victims stem from and agitates for the provision of safe injecting facilities for users. What struck Ware most was that these deaths were so unnecessary and that many of the overdoses were unintended due to a lack of regulation of the drug. The project challenged the notion of what a memorial is and who is worthy of being memorialized. It put a very human face on an epidemic that is more often than not represented merely in terms of statistics. The memorial aimed to make people reflect on what a great difference small actions can make, such as the availability of a clean needle saving someone’s life. Another one of Ware’s larger projects is the SIEVX Memorial in Canberra, Australia, which took up the task of illuminating an unseen tragedy and bringing heightened awareness of an important issue to the Australian public. The project name stands for Suspect Illegal Entry Vehicle number 10. This is one of SueAnne’s favorite projects, in part because such a large number of people were involved with the installation of the piece and the resulting activist movement. The project focused on the issue of the Australian immigration system, highlighting the many cruel and unjust aspects of the law. In 2001,


alumni news â&#x20AC;˘ 21

Left: Perspective rendering of a rest area in Wareâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Road Trauma Memorial project. Directly Below: Plan view of Road Trauma Memorial in rural Churchill in the LaTrobe Valley, Victoria. Bottom: Panorama view of the Coach Road Rest Area in the Road Trauma Memorial.


22 • alumni news the Migration Amendment Bill (Excision from Migration Zone) amended the Migration Act of 1958 to remove several nearby islands from the Australian migration zone. One consequence of this action was seen a year later, when a small fishing boat full of Afghani refugees sank inside the excised area, killing all 353 women and children on board. There was no aid offered to the victims by the Australian government and the event was barely mentioned in the local news. In 2002, Ware was brought on board by Steve Biddulph, Rob Horsfeld, and Beth Gibbings to work as designer of a project memorializing this incident. The project aimed to make people aware of the political issues that contributed to the tragedy and to engender public sympathy to prevent future situations like this from happening again. Ware found the project to be personally eye-opening, particularly when reflecting on how easy it was for her to immigrate to Australia compared to the shocking struggles the refugees had to face. The project was extremely successful, partly due to the number of community members that became involved. On the 5th anniversary of the event, volunteers erected poles decorated with artwork created by friends and family of the deceased. Around 5,000 people showed up to help. After the one day event, the group proposed to make the memorial permanent and were able to obtain a ten-year permit, classifying the memorial as an art installation. Ware hopes that with increased community awareness of the complex issues that led to this tragedy, Australian immigration laws may some day be changed. With all of her design activism and unique projects, Ware has found that sometimes the project is more about the process than the end product. She takes the time to get to know her clients and the communities she serves. There are cases where the projects are about working through the trauma of an event, where the process becomes the project. As she stated, “That’s probably why I’m OK with much of my work being temporary. A landscape is not a permanent thing. Landscapes shift over time. I’m comfortable that these projects don’t last forever”. This attitude begs the following questions: Do we need static memorials? At what point, if ever, is it OK to forget? With all Ware has accomplished in Australia, some of her work in now shifting towards Europe. She finds that following the global financial crisis, there is a greater need to provide more socially engaging work. She is now interested in the reasons why social projects are privileged in times of economic crisis. She has found that due to the prevalence of social media, there is a larger network to communicate with, resulting in a populace that is now more socially engaged. Ware is excited at this notion, as she believes the future of design is about social engagement. Ware’s planned future work is closely tied to her new position as the head of the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales. She is seeking to start a program that looks at post-mining and post-carbon futures in Australia. Specifically, she is asking the question, “What happens when we run out?” Australia is a country were the GDP is largely dependent upon mining coal, a resource that will not last forever. Ware believes this is an opportunity for landscape architecture to help solve a complex societal issue. In her words, “...the profession is adaptable and resilient. It’s reinventing itself based upon what landscape is and does. I find that really fantastic.” Her words of advice for current design students is that “...courage and bravery are needed in design; the world won’t come to an end if a design’s not perfect. It’s more important to say you had the guts to give it a go.” <www.newcastle.edu.au/about-uon/governance-and-leadership/faculties-and-schools/faculty-of-engineering-and-built-environment/school-of-architectureand-the-built-environment>


alumni news • 23

Top: SIEVX Memorial poles, in remembrance of immigrants who died in passage to Australia. Right and Below: Details from “An Anti-Memorial to Heroin Over-doses,” including a plaque to those who have passed and pathway text.


24 • alumni news

q&a SCOTT STREEB

earned his BSLA from CSU in 2007 and joined Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates that same year. He currently is a Senior Associate at MVVA and has been the lead designer for many prominent projects that have taken him around the world to study environments of play and learn how to relate play to varying social dynamics.

In only seven short years since his departure from the Colorado State University Landscape Architecture Program, Scott Streeb has already made a name for himself in one of the top firms in the country. We were privileged to speak with him recently and find out a little more about this successful alumnus. Streeb enrolled in the BSLA program at CSU in 2004. A talented and hard-working student, he distinguished himself as a recipient of the prestigious ASLA Honor Award, which allowed him to begin his professional career with the world-renowned firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates in New York. Streeb has since worked his way up to the position of Senior Associate, and has had his hand in many prominent projects. Despite competing with many Ivy League graduates for recognition within the firm, Streeb has consistently proven himself a valuable asset to the team. He credits much of his success to the quality education he received at CSU, but is quick to point out that the program has a lot of hard work to do to maintain its reputation. One of the projects that was most important to Scott early in his career was the Jacob Javits Plaza in New York. He described this project as a sort of coming of age for him, and that being able to see a project through from a sketch to finished construction was priceless. The plaza is located outside the Jacob Javits Federal Building and serves as a gathering space for a wide variety of people. For many years, Javits Plaza featured an iconic Martha Schwartz design, but structural renovations to the plaza required a redesign, which was awarded to MVVA. Streeb pointed out that designing in Martha Schwartz’s shadow was no small task, saying “We took a critical look at how Martha’s design functioned. Martha created a completely whimsical design for the site, but we observed that it was difficult to navigate, it had no shade at lunch time and was empty most of the time.” One of the important features of the new design was the creation of what Streeb called a “prospect and refuge.” The firm wanted to make the space more comfortable by creating places where a person could know that no one was behind them. Streeb said this is a huge psychological concept in urban environments; people tend to feel much safer when they are in a space that has fewer blind spots. In addition, the project featured unique aesthetic touches. Typically, many MVVA designs employ very intricate paving systems, and this project was no exception. Streeb pointed out that convincing the clients that marble was the proper paving material was a difficult process that included an expensive freeze / thaw test. In the end, however, the practicality of the material won out. Similarly, the magnolia trees in the plaza serve both functional and aesthetic purposes. They are very hardy plants that can handle the harsh environment of an urban plaza, as well as provide distinct colors and textures throughout the year. While Streeb acknowledged the importance of sustainability in landscape architecture, he also made it clear that working under Michael Van Valkenburgh you are encouraged to let your mind be free and let art be an inspiration. It seems that a great design is a balance of these two sometimes conflicting factors. Currently, Streeb is collaborating on a research and design project simply called ‘Play,’ supported by the City of Tulsa in connection with the Tulsa Riverfront Park project. As the name implies, this project is focused on the inventive design and implementation of play equipment. In order to gain insights into this topic, Streeb was given the opportunity to travel throughout Europe, documenting a myriad of play spaces. At the suggestion of play design experts and equipment manufacturers, he visited projects in Sweden, Denmark and England, as well as the iconic Playmobil FunPark in Germany. Streeb said that the trip proved to be an epiphany and that being able to meet with the creators of play equipment was a priceless experience. A central concept that he learned through this research was the need to design a play space that is accommodating to multiple age groups. One of the strategies that Streeb cited to accomplish this goal was the concept of an interlocking system, creating a merging of spaces. Another approach to intergenerational play is to incorporate play structures that are not typically associated with playgrounds, such as exercise equipment geared towards the elderly. These structures give older generations the opportunity to practice motor skills in a fun environment, maintaining the theme of ‘play.’ One of the important points Streeb made was that in order to design play equipment for multiple age groups, the designer must understand what “keystone activities” are typical for each group. A teenager does not play the same way as a toddler, but each group has activities that they consistently gravitate to. Another interesting concept was the idea that humans learn by watching other humans. In the current project for Tulsa, Scott is putting this understanding to work with the design of a play area


alumni news â&#x20AC;˘ 25 View of Jacob K. Javits Plaza in New York City.


26 • alumni news MVVA’s Maggie Daley Park in Chicago during construction of the park’s rock climbing wall.


alumni news • 27 that physically separates crawling children from those that can walk, while maintaining visual permeability. This allows for the younger children to learn through observation while still playing safely amongst their peers. This is an idea that Streeb feels could branch across generations and one that the Play project is looking to build upon. Streeb also commented on the recent trend of using custom equipment that is evocative of the unique qualities of a place, rather than the typical fare found in catalogs. He described this as a responsibility for the profession at large, saying “as landscape architects, we have a unique opportunity, in that we are required to consider regionality in our work, and thus we are the placemakers.“ Looking back on his undergraduate years, Streeb recalled his professors, many of whom are still teaching in the program. Merlyn Paulson in particular had a significant influence on Streeb’s development with admonishments to “make everything you do beautiful” and “work hard and play hard.” Like many current students, he learned drawing from Joe McGrane and urban design from Brad Goetz. Streeb offered some of his own candid advice for students graduating from this program. He recommended a couple of great readings that he found helpful: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and the works of urbanist William Whyte. He also feels that the ability to confidently and effectively communicate ideas to clients can be as critical to a design as the ideas themselves. He urges current students to continually develop their design and representation skills and find the ability to discover inspiration in a variety of situations. <www.mvvainc.com> Left: Process sketches from MVVA’s Jacob Javits Plaza project in New York. Below: Tulsa Riverfront Park in Oklahoma.


28 â&#x20AC;˘ alumni news


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MVVA’s Maggie Daley Park in Chicago, showing one of the playground areas under construction.


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Landscape architect students, Brittany Ricketts ‘14 BSLA & Katherine Womack ‘15 BSLA, take photos at the Villa d’Este in Italy, on the summer study abroad trip.


32 â&#x20AC;˘ feature articles

The Restless


feature articles • 33

Animal

Colorado’s Fires and Floods in the Drawings of Mary-Ann Kokoska by Matthew Weiderspon ‘15 BSLA & BFA


34 • feature articles

“As a child growing up in the city, my experience with nature and landscape was limited. My first interaction with a vast force of nature on a grand scale was as a tourist visiting Niagara Falls,” recalls Mary-Ann Kokoska, who is currently an Associate Professor in Drawing at Colorado State University. “At that time you could get very close and lean over the edge of the railing. I would watch the water fall and fall, and I kept thinking, mesmerized, that this never stops – the sheer force of the water, and the amount of water. And of course you get wet from the mist; you’re totally soaked. It’s profoundly breathtaking. It’s frightening and breathtaking.” Kokoska’s recent series of artwork, Fire and Rain, reminds Coloradoans on the Front Range of a similar awe and fear they might have experienced during the local fires and floods over the past couple of years. 2012 featured the two most destructive fires in recorded Colorado history: the High Park Fire near Fort Collins and the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs. Rains following the fires caused major flooding and mudslides, as the flames had burned away the vegetation that slows water runoff and holds the soil intact. Record rainfall in September of 2013 caused torrential floods, and today canyons like the Big Thompson still bear the unmistakable scars of the flood’s chaos. But even as crews work to clean up the canyons and plants regrow on mountainsides, Kokoska’s artwork continues to serve as a reminder that our landscape is unpredictable,

uncontrollable, and deserves respect. Like the waterfall experience of Kokoska’s youth, Kokoska’s artwork immerses viewers in the forces of landscapes that are continually moving and changing, generating an experience of both beauty and uncertainty: the sublime. The immediacy of mark-making, the large scale of the works, and the rhythmic compositions work together to create a presence within her drawings that the viewer recognizes. Even if the overall meaning remains elusive and subjective, the viewer certainly gains a respect for the ever-shifting landscape. With an interest in “happenings” that cause changes in the landscape, Kokoska began working on the Fire and Rain series after the High Park Fire in 2012. She had been ruminating over the topic of wildfires since the Bobcat Gulch Fire in 2000, which was the first widely publicized wildfire since she moved to Colorado in 1998. When the High Park Fire occurred, Kokoska felt compelled to make drawings, as this wildfire was much more personal. She knew some friends who had been directly impacted by the wildfire and the constant presence of firefighters, smoke plumes, passing helicopters, and falling ashes put the wildfire at the forefront of her thoughts. The floods that followed also became important to the artwork, as they were largely a result of the changed, burnt landscape that could no longer accommodate the runoff from rains. Water flows and currents had also been an important and recurring interest in much of her prior artwork. The deliberate marks of Kokoska’s drawings in her Fire and Rain series come from studying the flow and visual patterns of moving fire and water. Kokoska typically makes lines and textures from direct observation. Sometimes these marks are intuitive, but they are still very informed and intentional as they come from the vocabulary Kokoska has developed from past observations and studies. Kokoska further reflects on the changing nature of the forces of fire and water as she assembles fragments of these marks together in a very organic way. She builds onto the edges and into the body of the work

Previous Page: Savage (detail), 2014, charcoal, ink, pastel, and graphite on paper and mylar Left: Fallen Ember, 2014, made with charcoal, ink, pastel, and graphite on paper, 36” x 54” Right: Mary-Ann Kokoska next to her work Savage, 2014, charcoal, ink, pastel, and graphite on paper and mylar, 10’ x 8’ x 5’


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in a very fluid process that’s reflected in the curving borders and variety of drawing materials. In this way, she avoids the traditional rectangular format of artwork, bringing the work into the viewer’s space to heighten the viewer’s emotional responses. Add to that the large scale of some of the works, such as Savage or Fire and Rain: A Land Divided (each measuring approximately ten feet square), and an undeniable presence and experience for the viewer is established as her marks seem to jump and flow around on the paper. The viewer may not be able to pinpoint what these evolving marks mean as far as the emotive content of the wildfires and floods, and that is part of Kokoska’s intention. She is simply putting her observations before the viewer as a visual artist. These ambiguous observations allow the viewer to associate these artworks with their own feelings about the natural disasters of the past few years. Someone whose way of life was shattered as a result of these calamities might look upon these images with a sense of dread. Scientists, on the other hand, might recognize the renewing nature of these events as new life and systems spring from the Earth. Environmentalists might see the scale of these wildfires and floods as an indication of a rapidly changing climate. Kokoska refers to the unpredictable landscape of her drawings as a restless and everchanging animal. If one thinks of landscape as an animal presence rather than something static that can’t interact with people, one’s relationship to it is more deeply considered. Perhaps people are merely on the skin of this great animal, which can nurture or lash out, depending on how it’s being treated. In the new age of the

Left: Fire and Rain: A Land Divided (detail), 2013, charcoal, ink, pastel, and graphite on paper and mylar Right: Fire and Rain: A Land Divided, 2013, charcoal, ink, pastel, and graphite on paper and mylar, 8’x9’x1’

Anthropocene, human activity has unprecedented impacts on the vastness of Earth’s landscapes and systems. Humans must always be mindful of the cycles that this animal goes through as it regenerates itself and continually changes in order to maintain a balance. This mindfulness will allow humans to be symbiotic rather than parasitic to the Earth’s systems. Mary-Ann Kokoska’s drawings are a reminder to respect the forces of the landscape that are always flowing, and to keep in mind the unpredictable nature of these forces. The visceral mark-making, large scale, and dynamic qualities of her drawing installations establish landscape changes as an animal presence that must be considered. These drawings reveal to Kokoska’s viewers that the Earth really is the largest, most beautiful and fearsome source of life-giving and life-taking forces that roll, flow, jump, interact, and change across its surface. May our human marks be a harmonious part of this sublime landscape of Earth and not be futilely opposed to it. <www.maryannkokoska.com>


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JEFF RULLI’S TRIAL BY FIRE by Carl Vogt '16 BSLA

Jeff Rulli wears a lot of hats.

Currently, he is the Larimer County GIS Coordinator and Software Application Services Director. He is also a certified EMT-IV and Structural/Wildland firefighter with the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department. He began his schooling in landscape architecture with a BSLA at Ohio State University in 1980 and obtained his graduate degrees in Recreation Resources in 1997 and Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism in 2003 from Colorado State University. Following graduate school, he began work at a firm in North Carolina called Land Design Inc. It was there that he began producing design and construction documents with a computer-aided drafting (CAD) system, but was also introduced to geographic information systems (GIS). With his firm seeking to improve their ability to compete for larger regional planning projects, Rulli was instructed to “go research and buy this GIS thing.” During a time when the desktop PC computer was still in its infancy and not viable for GIS work, he went out and spent $125,000, which paid for a single GIS-equipped workstation running under a UNIX operating system


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and an electro-static color plotter. A similar setup today could be purchased for less than 10,000! This expensive adventure was the beginning of his career-long relationship with the now-ubiquitous mapping and analysis program, ArcGIS. In 1998, after a stint working with the City of Greeley, Rulli began working for Larimer County, with one of his primary roles being the provision of GIS support during any major emergencies as it relates to public safety. Already a veteran of wildland firefighting and emergency GIS mapping by the summer of 2012, he was headed to his property in Rist Canyon for a vacation when he got the call about the High Park fire. He turned right around and drove back to Fort Collins. Each day throughout the ordeal, his work started at 4:00am, when he downloaded the GIS data sets created from the infrared pictures taken during the night. These files contained the location of the latest fire perimeter and ‘hot spots,’ which he used to create the County’s primary tactical and informational maps for the upcoming 24 hour operating period. He would print off 15 copies and distribute them during the 6:00am morning briefing. Later, he would head up the canyon to work on the line or act as the scene command for the day shift. As the Larimer County GIS Coordinator, his prime responsibility is typically to support the sheriff’s department with GIS analysis and products, and in the case of this fire, to support the incoming Federal Incident Management Team 1 FEMA as they positioned and set up their mobile GIS capabilities and fire fighting stations each day. He and his GIS team stepped up to the challenge, as they had done on numerous other wildfires before, only this time, one of the team would spend over 320 hours on the fireline as well. The work was harrowing and stressful, but ultimately heroic. At long last, once the fire had been contained, he and his GIS team immediately shifted focus to begin the recovery phase. This was initially driven by the need to complete a Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) Analysis, which uses remotely-sensed data sets to determine areas of High, Moderate, Low and No burn severity. Using this data in conjunction with numerous other data sources and field work, an overall erosion control plan was created, including cost estimates, and submitted to the Federal Government for funding consideration. One of the primary goals of the BAER Top Left: Governor John Hickenlooper and Jeff Rulli. Bottom Left: Jeff Rulli, the Larimer County GIS Coordinator and Software Application Services Director. Right: Photos of the High Park Fire and the fight to tame the flames.

Analysis is to ensure that important resources (cultural, historic, environmental, recreational, etc.) that did not get destroyed by the fire itself do not meet their demise as a result of soil stabilization efforts. Generally, the BAER Analysis study is mandated to occur within seven days of fire containment, but the team was granted an extension due to the size and complexity of the High Park fire area. Other GIS products that his team produced included evacuation maps, ownership (public vs. private lands) statistics, damage area takeoffs and damaged/destroyed homes inventories. The fire had far-reaching consequences. For a short period, it was the third-largest wildfire in Colorado history, until it was surpassed by the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs later that same summer. The High Park fire burned over 87,284 acres in the mountains east of Fort Collins; the area around Rist Canyon, which lies due east of the city, was particularly hard-hit. Jeff is deeply connected with this land and was profoundly affected by the fire on a personal level as both a land owner in the Rist Canyon area and as a firefighter with the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department. Fire covered all 47 acres of his mountain property near Buckhorn Mountain and burned for the duration of the fire; he continued to find burning stumps for days after its containment. The fire left his land and all of the surrounding properties burned and scarred. Unlike stereotypical views of fire however, his land wasn’t left entirely barren. Due to the more immutable features of the landscape, namely the large deposits of granite that make up much of the area, some places remained protected from the flames. Much of the rest of the canyon, however, was not so lucky; 254 homes were destroyed, rendering numerous families homeless. But the community of Rist Canyon stood together and supported their fire department. Since there is no official organizing structure for the canyon, no city limits and no residentially-zoned land, this community was and is organized geographically and politically by their County-defined fire department service area. The Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department area is one of the last two within Larimer


40 • feature articles

County that is still entirely funded by donations. The Rist Canyon Fire Chief is often looked to as the “Mayor” of Rist Canyon, with a long history of volunteering his time to safeguard the community. Rulli’s unique position with the GIS Department and the Fire Department enabled him to develop a map product that better illustrated the location of the lengthy mountain driveways and actual structure locations. Much of this ‘redefinition’ of county site addresses was the result of a very controversial ‘Rural Address Project’ that the county completed in 2009. Prior to this linear reference system-based addressing strategy, hundreds of residences could be addressed to

a major road which might be miles from their actual location. This address would get emergency response personnel to a ‘mailbox farm’ along the road, but not to the actual caller. One of the major challenges of the Rural Address Project was that people’s actual homes were only served by navigating on unpaved ‘driveways’ snaking through private property. The majority of the roads in Rist Canyon are of this type, and never existed in any county mapping system until the project was completed. During this project, these driveways were mapped and named, and are now included in thirdparty mapping products, such as Google and Yahoo maps. Even with these better map products, another challenge that emergency


feature articles • 41

responders face is the rugged topography and numerous dead-ends and ‘box canyons’ (small, steeply-walled canyons with only one point of access) that exist. In response to this, Rulli took it one step further and created a “neighborhood pod” GIS data set to describe these box canyons and closed routes, giving each a distinct name so that they can be easily identified and communicated. As a result, firefighters responding to emergencies in the back country can be dispatched based on driving distances rather than geographic proximity, resulting in more efficient routing. Since this allows the Fire Department to be more aware of the exits to each “neighborhood pod,” they can keep their teams from getting trapped behind fire lines. Fortuitously, all of this preparation came before the fire and when faced with this dire emergency, the firefighters were able to respond accurately and efficiently. Without these custom GIS products and local data sets, wildland firefighters sent in to aid with structure protection and fire suppression would have been utilizing only the 50 year old 1:24,000 USGS section map series common in the fire service. Both the local and federal teams benefitted enormously from the planning work laid down by Rulli and his team. After the fire, the land was destabilized and damaged. The storms that followed the fire scoured the land and caused a great deal of additional damage in the more fragile areas. In 2013, Larimer County and Rist Canyon would brave another major event in the form of severe flooding of most major water corridors. On the first day of this flood event, the GIS team decided to extend the neighborhood pod GIS data set to cover the entire county to better support the Federal Urban Search and Rescue teams that were sent in. Jeff credits his education and experience with landscape architecture for his success in decision making, planning and spatial analysis. When asked whether that education has had lasting effects, he responded with “Oh, absolutely, in everything that I do. I have continued to pursue education opportunities and completed several years of postBachelors, as well as a Masters. I don’t shy away from jumping into something if it is worth pursuing. I was committed to developing a usable GIS ‘common operational picture’ web-based application and completed a six month EMT program at a local community college and passed the State Boards so that I could better understand the emergency response side of E911, which was different than my wildland firefighter experience. As a member of an excellent fire department, I have had an opportunity to continue my education with a fire service slant, and successfully completed a rigorous structural

firefighter and hazmat operations certification, which is just for fun. Much of my decision-making still has roots in my landscape architecture education, especially site planning methodology. I often work through initial requirements, identifying opportunities and constraints, working through analysis and interpretation, concept plan, schematics, and subsequent detailed design documents, similar to when I was doing LA site planning and construction documents. Similar to my LA projects, I still always work my conceptual designs and provide a “bronze,” “gold” and “platinum” level solution. Multiple alternatives, especially at the conceptual design phase, are critical to ensure that you and your client are aligned before the sharper pencil comes out. I also refrain from only providing one alternative, as one of the opportunities of design is to explore, unhindered.”

Bottom Left: The new method of mapping county addresses, pioneered by Rulli.

Anyone who has hiked the foothills in the years since knows that the fire dramatically changed the landscape. But Rulli is quick to remind us that fire is a natural part of the cycle of life in the West. Indeed, the old overgrown forest has already given way to new life. Jeff’s own property underwent a major change; what was once a landscape of diseased trees, rife with mistletoe, snags killed by western pine bark beetles, downed brush, and choked intermittent streams is now a “garden paradise.” The homeowners who stayed have discovered property they didn’t know they had. The land is green and renewed, with wildlife that is almost embarrassingly overweight. Jeff now has many aspens, an iconic western pioneer species, proliferating on his own property. Despite the fire’s destruction, the land is resilient and life blooms once again in the mountains.

Right: A firefighter battling the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins

<larimer.org/highparkfire>

Top Left: The original method of mapping addresses.


42 • feature articles

NEW BEGINNINGS

by Taylor Tidwell ’15 BSLA


feature articles â&#x20AC;˘ 43

An interview with Ryan Bowman â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;14, an alumnus of the undergraduate landscape architecture program, with an inspiring look into the challenges he has faced, the shift between his past and present person and how he has overcome vast odds.


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feature articles • 45

the paramedics rushed in to assess Ryan’s condition. He was brought to the local hospital, but no one knew what was actually happening to Ryan. They began testing for everything they could. Some thought it was a drug overdose, some believed it to be a simple seizure, but after three hours of testing and waiting, the doctors finally realized Ryan was in fact suffering from a severe stroke. They had to rush him to a new hospital for immediate surgery. The extended period of testing and diagnosing resulted in a 33% loss of Ryan’s frontal lobe capacity and the complete loss of his ability to speak. Ryan was unconscious for three days and ended up spending a total of 19 days in the hospital. He awoke in confusion and frustration, able to think clearly but unable to talk. In a sense, Ryan was trapped inside his own mind. He felt as though he were a puppeteer trying to control a marionette whose strings had all been cut. Ryan began to get agitated with his inability to communicate, desperately wanting to tell his family that he was going to be alright. In frustration, he resorted to a note pad and began to draw pictures.

Ryan Bowman is a recent graduate of the CSU Landscape

Architecture Program, but his story begins two years before he was even accepted to Colorado State University. As a junior in high school, Ryan’s life was largely indistinguishable from that of the average American adolescent. The archetypal simple life of a 17 year old: baseball practice, homework, social life. Everything changed for Ryan, however, on February 14, 2008. He was helping out with a local junior high school game day when suddenly he felt a wave of fatigue hit his body like a freight train. Ryan laid down on the bench hoping that this episode would quickly pass, but soon realized this was something more serious when he comprehended that he had just blacked out. When he awoke, he noticed numbness in the fingers on his right hand. He began to shake his hand, panicked that this was not fading away like the bout of exhaustion he supposed it was. Adrenaline raged through Ryan’s veins like a roaring river and he couldn’t hear anything except for his own breathing and quick pounding of his heart. His teachers and friends began to crowd around and ask if he was feeling well, but as much as Ryan struggled to speak, gurgling sounds were all he could manage. Ryan blacked out repeatedly for short periods and the episodes steadily became more frequent and longer in duration. He would fade away and come back to realize minutes had passed. And soon, another episode, only this time lasting half an hour. Ryan’s condition was deteriorating rapidly and every minute that went by he lost more and more cognitive capacity. Panicked, Ryan tried to stand and walk, only to be caught by his buddies as he fell to the ground. Ryan was now looking around at what seemed to be chaos. The junior high students were being ushered out of the gymnasium as

Once Ryan was well enough to leave the hospital, he had to go through months of physical and speech therapy and gradually regained his ability to talk and even play baseball again. But his life had drastically shifted. Ryan discovered that he had awakened from his stroke with newly enhanced abilities for drawing and creative writing. Ryan decided to go back to school on April 3rd of that year so that he would be able to finish his senior year that upcoming fall. When he returned to school, Ryan had a newfound appreciation for life’s many opportunities and pushed himself to his limits, more driven and motivated than at any other point in his life. Ryan said that the thought that stayed in his head and kept him focused was “you never know if today could be your


46 • feature articles

last,” a phrase that now carried much more weight and was a new reality for him. Going into his senior year, however, Ryan’s speech therapy was stopped because the therapists said they couldn’t help him any more than they already had. Still barely able to speak a full sentence, he worked hard on his own to improve his speech. As graduation approached, Ryan was the top student in his class and was asked to give the valedictory speech. Hours of practice paid off on the big day and it was the first time that he felt he had really spoken clearly since his stroke. After graduation, Ryan quickly began to anticipate the beginning of his college career as a CSU Ram. He initially had declared electrical engineering as his major, but swiftly changed to landscape architecture as he thought more about what he wanted to do with his life. He thought back to the summers when he worked in California with his aunt, a landscape contractor, remembering how much he had enjoyed that job. But he wanted to take it a step further and actually learn how to design landscapes rather than simply building them.

Entering the landscape architecture program, Ryan knew it would be challenging, but quitting was not an option. After everything he had gone through with his stroke, he was determined to excel. He had learned through this experience that all progress in his life would have to come from within. But as many of us in the program know, simple will power is not enough to get you through this program; you have to love it and have a passion for it. Ryan did not fall short by either measure. As he began the program, his passion and love for design only grew and the harder he worked, the more he began to flourish in the program. Learning the drawing, understanding design theories, and gaining technical skills were all challenging tasks, but the more Ryan pushed himself, the more he excelled. Ryan also had the privilege of being cultivated by Professor Jane Choi in his second year of the program. Of all the projects he has worked on in his journey through this program, the one that has resonated most with him was the Berkana Recovery and Rehabilitation design in Professor Choi’s studio. This project was Ryan’s opportunity to create a rehabilitation garden that he himself could have benefitted from during his healing


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BERKANA REHABILITATION GARDEN process. Ryan’s design stood out not only for its beautiful forms, but also because he addressed the specific problems and complications that he experienced with his own rehabilitation process. Ryan spent weeks in the hospital after his surgery when he longed for home, so he brought what he considered to be a sense of ‘home’ to his garden design. He felt the best way to make rehabilitation patients comfortable was to incorporate natural elements such as dense vegetation and rock outcrops into the garden while adding the necessary amenities to facilitate a quick recovery process. Another key aspect that Ryan wanted to focus on in his design was the creation of a space for the patients to forget where they really are; a place to lose themselves and feel that their injuries no longer have a hold on their lives. Ryan describes his design as the experience you have when a person is driving over a mountain pass; as you climb up over one slope and then descend again, you cannot see behind you anymore, only what’s ahead. Ryan has done just that with his own life as well. After he entered the Landscape Architecture Program, there was no looking back, only pressing onward. Every presentation in front of a jury of critics, every

all-nighter spent drawing up new plans, all the hours spent in front of a computer just trying to figure out the difference between a polyline and a spline, became Ryan’s new therapy sessions. Ryan took refuge in the studio and found a place where he could continue to develop his speaking skills and progress in his life in ways he’s never imagined. The effort he put into his projects determined how satisfied he was with each design. In this field, perhaps more than others, one’s work ethic directly impacts the quality of work that is produced. Some students may have been sketching and drawing for a longer amount of time, but in studio it is a level playing field where every student has the opportunity to be great; some may just have to work a little bit harder for it. Going through the Landscape Architecture Program taught Ryan that no matter what physical condition he is in, he can attain any goals that he sets his mind to, whether it’s speaking freely to strangers without being ashamed of a stutter, or designing a rehabilitation garden for those who have experienced a life-changing event like he did.


48 •

Joe Williams ‘14 BSLA photographs the landscape near Assisi, Italy during the Education Abroad session in the summer of 2014.


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50 • education abroad

education abroad the

europe trip

20th

anniversary

by Professor Brad Goetz

Colorado State University’s Landscape Architecture Program launched its first education abroad program on May 17, 1995, when a group of ten Colorado State University students and two faculty set their sights on England – Wendi Birchler, Jim Birdsall, Marcie Harris, David Kasprzak, Monique Morissette, Mitch Petty, Kristen Powell, Andrew Richardson, Ken Rybkiewicz, Darcie White, Larry Frank and Brad Goetz. That inaugural class would spend time in England, France, Switzerland, Monaco and Italy, immersed in designed landscapes and local cultures. After a month of 16hour [on-site] working days, all of the students successfully completed their studies, one student got married, and one stayed to travel elsewhere. Students may recall crossing the choppy English Channel or camping in wet and nearly freezing conditions on the slopes of Grindelwald, or spending the night in a small park outside of Florence (after heavy rain and a flat tire). They may remember the two to three hour detours when trying to find places for the first time – with paper maps. One thing is certain, they

reminisce with fondness about visits to Venice, Gamberaia, Bomarzo, Villa Lante, Rome, Versailles, Vaux le Vicomte, Paris, Mt. St. Michel, and Stonehenge, among many other places. The course was the idea of Brad Goetz, a young professor in the landscape architecture program, who presented the idea to Merlyn Paulson, who in turn enlisted the support of faculty, students and the curriculum committee. The landscape architecture program has been recognized numerous times for its success in promoting international academic experience, and the course is now the longest continuously running study abroad short course on campus – nearly 300 students have participated over the years. During the summer of 2014, 16 students celebrated the 20th anniversary of Landscape Architecture Education Abroad at a villa in Arezzo, Italy with a home cooked Italian meal and the company of the villa owners.


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Undergraduate landscape architecture students work in the studio, working hard to finish projects before break.


54 â&#x20AC;˘ studio works

studio works The following pages reflect the diverse body of work from some of the top students in the CSU BSLA and MLA Programs from Spring 2014.


studio works • 55

Photograph by Shiva Solaimanian ‘14 BSLA


56 • studio works

DREW BUTTON ‘14, BSLA NEW TOWN Fort Collins, Colorado

The proposal for “New Town” Fort Collins seeks to create an outdoor retail, food and entertainment district with the energy of Old Town, reachable by bus, bike and foot. The new plan will manage storm water during rain events, use renewable energy sources and provide amenities for nearby residents. The design is a tight weave of urban and natural corridors that allow visitors to view wildlife and experience nature in the city. Increased use and connectivity will breathe life back into the economy of Midtown and bridge the gap between Old Town and Harmony Road with a new focus on pedestrian-scale development.


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EMILY KOTULAK ‘14, BSLA HARBOR CULTURE: TRANSCENDENCE OF ENERGY Refshaleøen, Copenhagen

The post-industrial landscape of the man-made island of Refshaleøen in the Copenhagen harbor is well suited for redevelopment. The 2014 LAGI Design Competition challenged designers to utilize renewable energy on this site to address the environmental goals and ‘green living’ ethic of the city. My solution for this competition is to incorporate a “water field” of stabilized arm-lever buoys that are designed for small waves nearby a water taxi route for maximized power production. Utilizing the water for energy production allows the remaining area to focus on environmental and ecological concerns, cultural and social accommodation, and transportation improvements.


58 â&#x20AC;˘ studio works

JENNIFER BECKER â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;14, BSLA LAKE CATAMOUNT RESORT Steamboat Springs, Colorado

The design for the iconic Lake Catamount Resort, just outside of Steamboat Springs, is heavily influenced by the culture and recreational opportunities that surround it. My design for the site creates greater opportunities for year-round recreation for both visitors and residents, while preserving the integrity of the existing montane ecosystems. By incorporating unique lodging options such as tree houses and cantilevered slopeside cabins into the design, a new identity can be created for the area, resulting in new tourism opportunities.


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TYLER MOHR ‘14, BSLA STITCH AND INVIGORATE: THE HILLSBOROUGH RIVER Tampa, Florida

Once the centerpiece of the city of Tampa, the Hillsborough River is now a sad shadow of what it used to be. By exploring the call to return the Hillsborough River to its once vibrant state, we can begin to rethink not only the relationship between the city and the river, but also create a thriving urban environment. The ‘Stitch and Invigorate’ proposal spotlights the Hillsborough River as the key revival agent to the city of Tampa by implementing an ecological infrastructure that promotes remediation, interaction, and recreation in the heart of the city.


60 • studio works

SHIVA SOLAIMANIAN ‘14, BSLA SYLVAN DALE GUEST RANCH Loveland, Colorado

Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch sits in a vulnerable location within the Thompson River floodplain at the base of the canyon and has been victim to multiple floods throughout the years, suffering catastrophic damage during the summer of 2013. My design for the ranch preserves the Sylvan Dale culture, while restoring the river and creating habitat for riparian vegetation and wildlife. This approach allows more latitude for the river’s meanders and creates side channels for water storage during a flood event. A series of elevated islands between the side channels function as a trail system for horseback riding, hiking, and biking when dry. All structures but one are placed out of the river valley and on top of a ridge. Temporary housing such as teepee camping sites would still provide opportunities to overnight guests by the river’s edge.


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JOE WILLIAMS â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;14, BSLA REVITALIZING THE ROCKAWAYS Queens, New York

Due to expanding populations and a changing climate, coastal communities have been struggling to work in harmony with the natural world. The devastated shores of New York in the wake of Hurricane Sandy left communities in ruin, but gave rise to the opportunity to rebuild with greater resilience. An 81 acre site located in the Rockaways provides a suitable area to plan flood and climate resistant communities as a prototype for future development. My proposed design creates a resilient community that implements landscape forms to defend, react to, and evolve with natural events, while protecting structures. Programmatic elements will help to revitalize the economy and culture of the Rockaways and innovative technologies such as dune roofing, garage catch basins, and resilient materials will make this a lasting community for decades to come.


62 • studio works

EMILY HARRISON ‘15, MLA I BRIDGING THE GAP Valparaiso, Chile

Through a colorful and artful intervention of a terracing armature mindful of the city’s poetic identity, this design seeks to address the drivers of slope instability and catastrophic landslides common to Valparaiso’s precipitous ridgetop. Detailed analysis of the area allowed me to identify the areas of greatest risk and reorganize the development pattern, creating a framework for future growth through a three-part strategy of reinforcing the slopes, revegetating the land and reconnecting the community to the valley. The provision of housing infrastructure adapted from shipping containers becomes a colorful element that ties this project to place.


studio works â&#x20AC;˘ 63

JASON OWEN â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;14, MLA II BOTANICAL GARDENS Fort Collins, Colorado

My design for a Botanical Garden was created for a graduate studio focused on incorporating nature into the city. I sought to create micro-habitats of various native plants within what is currently a parking lot in downtown Fort Collins. The islands of plants feature different groups of species that would naturally grow together, with the upland species on raised islands and wetland species in depressed basins that also serve to capture and treat stormwater runoff. The shape of the islands was abstracted from the narrowleaf cottonwood leaf; the cor-ten steel rails that run through the islands represent the leaf veins and add an architectural element to the design. Seats are built into the rails and the islands are laid out to create wide open areas at center, and narrow, more secluded places along the edges for visitors to relax.


64 â&#x20AC;˘ student awards

student awards EACH YEAR, the landscape architecture program recognizes the efforts of our talented and dedicated students with awards that are voted on by faculty and visiting distinguished critics. From an undergraduate program of over 100 students, the following individuals rose to the challenge and stood out in their contribution to the unique culture and exceptional reputation of the Landscape Architecture Program at CSU.

2014 ASLA Student Honor & Merit Awards National Award: Top seniors nominated by faculty; final selections voted by visiting jury of practitioners Jurors for the ASLA Awards Presentation in May 2014 included (L - R): Anna Cawrse, Landscape Designer, Design Workshop; Heath Mizer, Landscape Architect, Civitas & UCD Instructor; Craig Vickers, Principal, Civitas; Jon Ouellette, Design Director, Environmental Landwork Company.

Honor Award

Shiva Solaimanian

Merit Award

Drew Button

Emily Kotulak

Joe Williams

Jenn Becker

Tyler Mohr


student awards • 65

Student awards are an important source of educational funding for those students who earn them each year. Please help support our outstanding students with a donation to the Amy Rose Brobst Memorial Scholarship Endowment <advancing.colostate.edu/amybrobstscholarship> or the Landscape Architecture Program <advancing.colostate.edu/hla/give> and please note in the ‘Questions and Comments’ section that your gift is for the Landscape Architecture Program. Outstanding Senior Award Top senior as voted by faculty

Joe Williams

Amy Rose Brobst Memorial Scholarship Top returning student as voted by Brobst family and faculty

Tyler Mohr

Anna Dille Gerard Paul Monger Senior Award Highest academic achievement as voted by faculty

Exemplary Leadership Award Highest dedication to program as voted by faculty

Brittany Ricketts

Katy Miller

John Walker Davis

Emily Kotulak

Mark Allen Kauzlarich Memorial Award Highest academic progress as voted by faculty

Russell L. Butler II Memorial Scholarship Recommended by Butler family; final selection voted by faculty

Ryan Bowman

April Sorenson


66 •


â&#x20AC;˘ 67

Landscape architecture students participate in the annual spring portfolio review.


68 â&#x20AC;˘ musings

glittering possibilities

by alexandria bunker, 2016 bsla


musings • 69

musings... To an observant person, many things seem to have a circular pattern or cycle, starting and ending in relatively the same place. I have found that one’s thinking constantly shifts based on our individual experiences and the actions we take. I have found the same is true for me, and especially when it comes to Landscape Architecture. When the Dale Chihuly exhibit came to the Denver Botanic Gardens this summer, it was interesting to experience the event because it brought my journey full circle. I was no longer that little girl who only saw the Botanic Gardens as a place where pretty flowers bloom, now I saw the design intent behind each of the areas within the garden. The composition within each of Chihuly’s pieces spoke differently to me and expressed some of my favorite design aspects. The Japanese garden and its visual centerpiece pond, contained a boat filled with spectacular blue glass which was surrounded by floating bluish green orb-like shapes, and one sees the design’s effortlessness that simply combines water, hundreds of blown glass shapes and a floating boat. I became fascinated with the concept of using design to conquer large feats such as a small boat skimming the surface yet not sinking in spite of its heavy load. Color was prevalent in all of Chihuly’s blown glass with speckles of color that caught the light, illuminated the glass sculpture and brought more life to the beauty of the flowers, plants and water. The function of design is to highlight as well as to distinctly add beauty or change that was not previously there. Chihuly executes the function of design in such dynamic unique pieces through the garden. Like Chihuly, it is my goal to create designs that are whimsical by adding curiosity and wonder into a world that was previously straightforward, and black and white.


land • mark, winter 2015  

land • mark is the magazine of the Colorado State University Landscape Architecture Program.

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