Enhancing The Landscape

Arts and CultureArchitectureArtHealthNatural ResourcesWetlandsYale-New Haven Hospital

A tiny art park in New London, a sustainable garden landscape amid wetlands, a breathtaking oceanfront house and a healing garden for cancer patients are among the award winners in this year's Connecticut Design Awards competition sponsored by the state's chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Top honors — the award of excellence— went to Kent + Frost in Mystic, for the "park is the art" design of Hygienic Art Park on Bank Street in New London, owned by Hygienic Art, the adjacent artists cooperative and gallery.

Kent + Frost led a charette-style planning process with the community and the artists for the project's design, which includes a sequence of spaces — a forecourt with intricate fencing, a mural plaza with a spiral garden, and a "floating hedge" of 18 linden trees — that draw visitors into the art park and toward its rear amphitheater.

In the residential landscape architectural design category, Devore Associates in Fairfield earned an honor award for the design at a home on Swan Pond in Darien, surrounded by water on three sides.

The project involved wetlands restoration, native plantings and architectural preservation. Intimate gardens were created near the house. Native plants were added along the periphery of the pond, and a small island that serves as the family's picnic area and canoe launch was planted with native ferns and sweet pepperbush. Boxwood parterres outline the vegetable and herb gardens.

Anne Penniman Associates in Essex won a merit award for the landscape design at a home in Westerly, R.I., perched on a dramatic promontory that overlooks Block Island Sound.

The design extensively uses the granite for which Westerly is known and shrub thickets, and is organized to frame the surroundings.

The design also cleverly uses a haha wall (set in a sunken ditch) rather than a 5-foot fence to secure the lap pool and terrace and yet maintain the ocean views.

Tower|Golde in New Haven earned a merit award in the corporate and institutional category for the Betty Ruth & Milton B. Hollander Healing Garden at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

The essence of the project was to create a naturalistic, outdoor space for renewal, contemplation and intimate conversation in an urban area on the seventh-floor setback of a 14-story building.

The Healing Garden is designed with a variety of seating aeas, sites for sculpture and bonsai as well as poetry and dedication plaques, plantings that offer seasonal variations of color and textrue and a gazebo-like structure for shade.

The comforting garden feels residential in scale. It also was expressly designed to be accessible by bed or gurney, as well as for patients in wheelchairs and walkers with IVs.

Other winners are:

LADA, P.C. Land Planners in Simsbury: an honor award for planning and analysis, for the Route 6 Hop River Corridor Master Plan (in Bolton, Coventry, Andover and Columbia);

Richard Bergmann Architects in New Canaan: a merit award for Children's A*Mazing Mathematical Puzzle at Irwin Park in New Canaan;

Wesley Stout Associates in New Canaan: a merit award for Plane Geometry, a former corporate headquarters in Greenwich being reworked for multiple tenants;

Kristin Schwab at the University of Connecticut: a merit award for landscape architectural researrch for her book "Sustainable Site Design: Criteria, Process & Case Studies for Integrating Site & Region in Landscape Design."

Jeff Mills, executive director of the Connecticut chapter of ASLA, says the group plans to display photographs and site plans of all the winning projects in the lower concourse of the Legislative Office Building from April 18 to 29, coinciding with Frederick Law Olmsted Day in Connecticut on April 26, which honors the founder of American landscape architecture (and which Mills affectionately calls "FLO" Day).

The jury for this year's competition comprised members of the Upstate New York Chapter of ASLA.

For more images of winning projects, go to CT DIGS at http://www.courant.com/ctdigs.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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