Posts Tagged ‘landscape architecture’

On April 12, Eric Groft and Stacilyn Feldman joined Graham Gund, Laura Cabo and Eric Svahn of Gund Partnership for a design charette at The Pennsylvania State University.  The focus of the charette was to develop a distinct entry sequence for the forthcoming phase of the University Arboretum, and existing Dickinson School of Law, as well as to site the forthcoming structures at the Arboretum, which will include a Planetarium, Education Center and Conservatory.

Nearly twenty members of the Penn State faculty, facilities management and campus design staff attended the meeting, and contributed to the design process.

Team Seated

Laura Cabo directed the afternoon’s discussion and presented several program options and entrance sequences.

Laura Cabo

Laura Cabo

Everyone attending actively participated in the siting of the project components and worked together meet the program needs.

Team Standing

Team Standing

OvS is delighted to be part of this project team and looks forward to the coming months of collaboration.

During our visit to Penn State, Eliza Pennypacker, professor of Landscape Architecture at The Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, invited OvS Principal Eric Groft to visit the second-year design studios on Friday, April 13th.   The students’ work for the Spring semester focused on complete site design, from site analysis to siting structures, organizing site circulation, and responding to existing environmental constraints and opportunities.

Eric Groft and Ben Sereda

L-R: Eric Groft and Ben Sereda

Eric spent a morning in the Stuckeman Family Building studios, discussing each student’s project with them, reviewing their concepts, and discussing appropriate plants and species for the intended experience.

Eric Groft, Eliza Pennypacker and Emma Pritchett

L-R: Eric Groft, Eliza Pennypacker and Emma Pritchett

It was a wonderful morning for both the students and Eric – sharing open dialogue about site design and the importance of great plants in the landscape.  Thank you to Professor Pennypacker for the invitation!

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On November 5, OvS Principal Sheila Brady spoke on “Distilling the Essence of Native Landscapes” at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. Sheila’s talk was part of the Conservatory’s Native Plant and Sustainability Conference, an annual event celebrating native plants and sustainable landscape management.

Sheila’s presentation focused on Oehme, van Sweden’s work on the New Native Plant Garden at the New York Botanical Garden. In a significant departure from the habitat-based model that has shaped many previous native gardens, the approach to the New Native Plant Garden distilled the visual essence of the region’s native landscapes without replicating them. Sheila highlighted the diversity of native plants that were included in the garden, and the selection and enhancement of patterns from nature.

Joining Sheila as presenters at the Conference were Patrick Cullina, Vice President of Horticulture and Park Operations for the High Line elevated park in New York City; Dr. Linda Johnson, Professor of Plant Sciences, Ecology and Native Plant Communities at Chatham University; and Dr. Carol Mapes, Professor and Chair of the Biology Department at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.

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James Burnett Sunnylands Annenberg

James Burnett leading the tour of the Sunnylands Annenberg Center

On October 28th and 29th, OvS Principal Eric D. Groft attended The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) Board Meeting in Palm Springs, California. The meeting was held at the new Sunnylands Annenberg Center. Sunnylands is the 200-acre estate that was the West Coast home of Ambassador and Mrs. Walter H. Annenberg. Prior to her death in 2009, Mrs. Annenberg identified 15 additional acres adjacent to Sunnylands on which to construct a center and gardens for public programs. She commissioned Frederick Fisher and Partners to design the center and the Office of James Burnett to design the gardens. The nine-acre gardens now feature more than 50,000 low-water-use plants and include walking paths, a labyrinth, green lawn, and a natural wildflower area. Sunnylands Center and Gardens and the renovated historic estate are scheduled to open in early 2012, but the TCLF Board got a sneak peak during a walking tour led by landscape architect James Burnett.

The events of the weekend began on Friday evening, when Eric attended a book signing for Charlotte Freize’s new book Private Paradise: Contemporary American Gardens. Amongst the gardens featured in the book is Casa Luna, a garden designed by OvS on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Cocktails and the book signing were held at the home of Marc Ware, a Palm Springs resident featured in the book, followed by dinner at Johannes.

Saturday started off early with a tour of the Kaufmann Desert House designed by Richard Neutra in 1946. The home was later restored by Marmol and Radziner, with material input and consulting by Albert Frey. The home’s original gardens were designed by Patricia and Chester “Cactus Slim” Moorten around 1949-1950 and have been updated a number of times over the years.

Elrod House

Elrod House

Later that day, the group enjoyed a tour of Elrod House, a John Lautner-designed five bedroom, five and a half bathroom residence commissioned by designer Arthur Elrod in 1968 and featured in the classic James Bond movie, “Diamonds Are Forever”, in 1971. The home’s 60 foot-wide circular living is surmounted by a conical dome that fans out in nine petals between nine clerestories angled up to bring in light. Retractable curved glass curtain walls open the entire living room and pool terrace to panoramic views of Mount San Jacinto, Mount San Gorgonio and the full sweep of the valley below and mountain ranges beyond. The very rock of the ridge is incorporated into the design throughout the home.

Saturday evening, Eric drove to San Diego for the ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo with Mario Nievera, Keith Leblanc and Dennis McGlade. The drive over the mountains at sunset was an inspiration! And as anyone could imagine, so was the company and conversation!

Sunnylands Annenberg

Fountain/reflecting pool at the Sunnylands Annenberg Center


Detail of Fountain

Detail of Fountain


A pomegranite tree grown by Jack Benny's mother!

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Monroe Street Market

Architects Rendering of Monroe Street Market

Last Wednesday, November 10, OvS designers Marisa Scalera and Sara Fiore attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Monroe Street Market in Brookland, Washington DC. The project, developed by Bozzuto Group, Abdo Development and Pritzker Realty Group, is a $200 million mixed use, multiphase development adjacent to the Brookland-CUA Metrorail station. Monroe Street Market project will transform the Catholic University of America’s South Campus by creating a college-town-style Main Street. It will include 720 multifamily residential units and 45 townhomes, 80,000 square feet of street-level retail, 15,000 square feet of artist studio space, and a 3,000-square-foot community arts center. There will also be an 8,500 square-foot public square, a 15,000 square-foot Arts Plaza, and a17,000 square-foot residential courtyard with pool.

OvS is the landscape architect for the project. Approved plans include design of the plazas, courtyard, streetscape and hardscape improvements, which will improve walkability, creating a lively, pedestrian-friendly atmosphere and significantly improving traffic patterns and pedestrian crossings along Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street.

Ground Breaking

The Ground Breaking

Participating in the groundbreaking ceremony were Catholic University President John Garvey, Bozzuto Group Chairman and CEO Tom Bozzuto, Abdo Development President and CEO Jim Abdo, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr., and other D.C. government officials. Mayor Gray said the planning and cooperation that went into creating the development should serve as a “prototype” for “how to craft constructive relationships between universities and the communities within which they live and the communities that they serve.”

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The Original House at Morven

On Saturday October 1, 2011, Oehme, van Sweden (OvS) Principal Eric D. Groft attended the annual UVa School of Architecture Dean’s Forum at Morven Farm, the former estate of Mr. John Kluge. Starting at 4:30 at the Barns at Morven, an exhibit of student, faculty and alumni collaborative research and the resulting curriculum was on display. Cocktails were served at the Main House and Formal Garden and guests were allowed to tour the Japanese Garden and Tea House, featuring a cascading waterfall and lily pools. Dinner was then held at the Meeting Barn and Theater ( Mr. Kluge termed this structure his “fun barn” – doesn’t everyone need one?). Warren Buford, Executive Director of the School of Architecture Foundation welcomed and emceed the event. Speakers included Thomas H. Bishop, Foundation President and Dean Kim Tanzer.

Eric was accompanied by Jane Howland, the youngest daughter of former Professor (and Eric’s mentor) Benjamin C. Howland, along with faculty member Nancy Takahashi and her husband architect David Oakland. Other alumni at the event included E. Taylor Armstrong, Alan Dynerman and his wife Nancy Seybold, Mary Kay Lanzillotta and her husband Lee Becker, both of Hartman Cox Architects, Tim Leahy of Annapolis and David Haresign of Bonstra/Haresign Architects of Washington, DC.

In 2001, Mr. John Kluge gave the Morven Estate to the University of Virginia Foundation for educational and charible purposes. Located in southeastern Albemarle County, the 7,379-acre gift is valued in excess of $45 million and more than doubled the University’s holdings.

Dean's Forum

Touring the Grounds

Morven Exhibit

The Exhibit

Morven Gardens

Morven's Gardens


Warren Buford, Executive Director of UVA’s School of Architecture


Kim Tanzer

Kim Tanzer, Dean, UVA School of Architecture


Deans Forum

Dean's Forum Dinner

Dean’s Forum photographs by Andrew Shurtleff

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In August 2011, Oehme, van Sweden (OvS) Principal Eric Groft was on site to bring the New American Garden to the shores of Carlin Bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene near Harrison, Idaho. Assisted by Jim Fink of StyleBuilt Construction for grading and hardscape and Aspen Nursery for landscape, the garden was laid out and installed. The hardscape included new decks and verandahs, stone terraces and paths using the local Cabinet Gorge paving stone, re-alignment of the driveway paved with a rainbow gravel, enormous slabs of the Cabinet Gorge stone placed along the shore, and the placement of “basking rocks” for sunbathing. The steep slope is traversed with a new 10% gravel path that will allow gator traffic as well as a Porters Rope to negotiate the steepest slopes from the house to the water’s edge.

The Lake Shore features the remants of enormous Cedar stumps up to 12’ in diameter, as well as a greensward of lawn for passive recreation. A new rustic outdoor shower, boathouse and tent platform are organized around a Cowboy Cauldron for outdoor fires and cooking.

The site is covered with towering Logpole Pine, Spruce and Fir trees. Perennials, grasses, sedges, ferns and ground covers were installed in large swaths to provide a lush backdrop to the rustic garden features as well as sustainable erosion control for the steep slopes that exceed 30% in some areas. In addition to the OvS regulars of Panicum North Wind, Senecio aureus, Pynanthem muticum, Rudbeckia maxima and ‘Herbsonne’, we also used the native Andropogon/Big Blue Grass, Boutelua/Blue Gamma Grass, Bergenia and Mahonia to naturalize the site.

Lake Couer d’Alene, just 30 minutes from Spokane Washington, tranlates in French as ‘Heart of the Owl’ and is an ancient glacial Lake stretching 25 miles and covering 30,000 acres, with a depth that is not documented! Please take a look at OvS in the Rocky Mountians in this remote and enchanting Northern Idaho panhandle location…

Coeur d'Alene landscape

Coeur d'Alene landscape

Cabinet Gorge stones

Coeur d'Alene home

Coeur d'Alene home

Lake Coeur d'Alene

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The LongHouse Reserve Garden Committee awarded Oehme, van Sweden & Associates the 2011 LongHouse Landscape Award on Saturday, September 17th at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, NY. The award, given for the first time ever to a firm or group, celebrates the “powerful changes that OvS has consistently and continuously brought to the American landscape for the past five decades.” Prior recipients of the award include landscape architect Dan Kiley, American gardener and horticulturist Frank Cabot, and the founder of the Central Park Conservancy, Elizabeth Barlow Rogers.

OvS Team

L-R: Eric Groft, Wolfgang Oehme, Sheila Brady, Jack Lenor Larsen & Lisa Delplace

Following tours of private gardens in East Hampton, a dinner at the home of Alex and Carole Rosenberg in Water Mill and a luncheon at LongHouse, OvS Principals Sheila Brady, Lisa Delplace, Eric Groft and Founding Partner Wolfgang Oehme accepted the award on behalf of the entire OvS team.

Eric Groft

OvS Principal Eric Groft

As part of the afternoon’s events, guests enjoyed a panel discussion between Oehme, van Sweden clients Kris Jarantoski, Executive Vice President and Director of the Chicago Botanic Garden and Todd Forrest, Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections at the New York Botanical Garden. The panel was moderated by Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, President of the Foundation for Landscape Studies, and previous winner of the LongHouse Landscape Award.


L-R: Kris Jarantoski, Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, and Todd Forrest

LongHouse Reserve exemplifies living with art in all forms. It’s collections, gardens, sculpture and programs reflect world cultures and inspire a creative life.

LongHouse brings together art and nature, and aesthetics and spirit, with a strong conviction that the arts are central to living wholly and creatively. Dedicated to quality and integrity, LongHouse programs encourage a broad concept of learning.

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OvS Group

The Group from OvS, South Franklin Circle, and Judson Services

In 2005, Oehme, van Sweden (OvS) began a collaboration with GUND Partnership on an 80-acre planned community for adults over age 50. The property, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, was to be known as South Franklin Circle. Today, the community is thriving – with residents, activities and plant life. On September 20th, OvS Principal Eric Groft was the keynote speaker for the kick-off to the 2011-2012 South Franklin Circle Dialogue Series. Created as a forum to inform and inspire the community, this segment of the dialogue series offered residents of South Franklin Circle insight to the inspiration, design and plant selection of the neighborhood in which they live from the designer himself. Following the presentation, Eric fielded questions from the audience and signed copies of The Artful Garden: Creative Inspiration for Landscape Design. Eric was also able to walk the grounds of South Franklin Circle with Bill Fehrenbach, the Vice President of Project Development at South Franklin Circle and Cynthia Dunn, CEO of Judson Services. All were impressed the growth that the plants experienced since their installation in 2009.

South Franklin Circle

The South Franklin Circle Community


South Franklin Circle

A South Franklin Circle Residence

Eric Groft OvS

Eric Groft of OvS

Eric Groft and Bill Fehrenbach

Eric Groft & Bill Fehrenbach

Eric Groft OvS

Eric Groft at the book signing

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The annual conference of the American Public Gardens Association took place June 21 – 24, 2011 in Philadelphia, PA. While attending the conference, Oehme, van Sweden Principals Lisa Delplace and Sheila Brady were panelists at a seminar focusing on SITES, the Sustainable Sites Initiative. The idea behind SITES is to create voluntary, national guidelines for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.

Some of the first groups to whole-heartedly embrace and test the ideas of SITES were public gardens – the arboreta, conservatories and botanic gardens of the world. Two of OvS’ current projects, the New York Botanical Garden’s New Native Garden and The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center at the Chicago Botanic Garden, are Pilot Projects of the initiative and were a topics of discussion among the seminar panelists.

In addition to Lisa and Sheila, Melanie Sifton of Humber Arboretum, James Ward from the North Carolina Botanical Garden, Stephanie DeStefano of American University and Kelly Ogrodnik from the Phipps Conservatory discussed how they work with nature to ensure built gardens mimic natural systems at NYBG and gardens worldwide.

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While it’s obvious to anyone that the Washington Monument is the defining feature of the Washington, DC skyline and the centerpiece of the National Mall, a design for the grounds around the monument has never been implemented, despite two centuries worth of ideas.

In the spring of 2010, an independent committee of university professors, architects, and civic leaders started a competition to give Americans of all ages an opportunity to imagine creative and innovative ideas for the Washington Monument grounds and submit them for review. The initial stage of the competition took place in January of 2011, narrowing the field from over 500 entries to just 24.

Eric Groft & Ben Forgey

Eric Groft & Ben Forgey

On Wednesday, June 22, Oehme, van Sweden Principal Eric D. Groft joined fellow jury members David Hackett Fischer, a Pulitzer Prize-Winning George Washington Historian; Ben Forgey, an Architecture Journalist and former Washington Post architecture critic; Greg Hunt, FAIA, the Dean of Marywood University’s School of Architecture and Joy Zinoman, Founder of The Studio Theatre to review the finalists of the competition. The day-long adjudication process was an exchange of ideas, constructive criticism and some healthy disagreements, but consensus was achieved.

At a dinner at his Northwest, DC home the evening before, Chairman of the Competition, James P. Clark, President of the Virginia Society of the AIA, urged the jury to make a special effort to focus on the essence of the ideas presented, as not all entrants had the same rendering and visual presentation skill levels. This evened the field for all competitors, allowing a twelve-year-old to compete against a professional designer.

Jury Chair Greg Hunt, FAIA

Jury Chair Greg Hunt, FAIA

The results of Stage Two of the competition will be posted at www.wamocompetition.org.

David Hackett Fischer and Joy Zinoman

David Hackett Fischer and Joy Zinoman

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