Category Archives: Parks

Destination Danville 

A rural city bets on water access and landscape amenities as the keys to economic revitalization.

By Kim O’Connell

The project coincides with a decision to remove a defunct hydraulic dam.
The project coincides with a decision to remove a defunct hydraulic dam. Photo courtesy City of Danville.

Throughout its history, Danville, Virginia, has been a pass-through city—a place where people and products were often headed someplace else. Located on the North Carolina border, this small industrial city is bifurcated by the Dan River but remains largely cut off from it. Continue reading Destination Danville 

Rest Easier

Hoerr Schaudt’s revamped entry to Graceland Cemetery helps visitors slow down.

By Zach Mortice

A truncated patch of asphalt and two small parking lots marked the original entrance.
A truncated patch of asphalt and two small parking lots marked the original entrance. Photo courtesy Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects.

“If there’s a street named after someone in Chicago, they are likely buried at Graceland,” says Joshua Bauman, ASLA, a senior associate at Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects in Chicago. Founded in 1860 and the eternal home to many of the city’s greatest heroes, scoundrels, industrialists, and politicians, Graceland Cemetery also hosts national figures, such as the first Black champion heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson, and a concentration of architects (Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) that makes it a pilgrimage for design mavens. Continue reading Rest Easier

Kongjian Yu: Found In Translation

The recent announcement of Kongjian Yu, FASLA, as the winner of the 2023 Cornelia Hahn Oberlander Prize sent us back to the archives for this piece on his work at Hing Hay Park in Seattle.

—October 26, 2023 

Early concepts by Kongjian Yu, FASLA, explored the park’s role as a stage, an orchard, and a series of terraces.
Early concepts by Kongjian Yu, FASLA, explored the park’s role as a stage, an orchard, and a series of terraces. Image by Turenscape.

By Betsy Anderson, Associate ASLA

On a steely afternoon in late January, the soft notes of a dizi floated over the sound of construction in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. The flutist played amid a line of safety fencing and the maneuvers of a carry deck crane. This was not an unusual scene in a city filled with building projects, in a neighborhood that proudly cradles cultural expression. But today, anyone crossing the intersection of 6th Avenue South and South King Street would not be greeted by the usual half-built shell of a mid-rise. Instead, a much less orderly silhouette emerged on the street corner. Asymmetrical, animalistic, and unapologetically red—a bending steel-clad structure reached up, piece by piece, to embrace the district’s most recently completed park. Continue reading Kongjian Yu: Found In Translation

Book Review: Little Thrills

Letting Play Bloom: Designing Nature-Based Risky Play for Children

By Lolly Tai; Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2022; 240 pages, $50.

Reviewed by Lisa Casey, ASLA


The playground manufacturer Richter Spielgeräte, who worked on Slide Hill at Governors Island in New York City, wanted a product to help “make children strong and support them.” This simple statement in the opening case study of Letting Play Bloom: Designing Nature-Based Risky Play for Children evinces a philosophy contrary to the idea that children are fragile beings in need of protection. It’s an idea that echoes an idea from the essayist Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who identifies that some entities are “antifragile.” A teacup is fragile, particularly in the hands of a toddler. A plastic cup, however, is resilient when thrown on the floor. But antifragile is entirely different: a system that grows stronger under stress. Children are antifragile in that their muscles, bones, and minds need appropriate stress in a supportive context to grow strong. Without it, they fail to thrive. Continue reading Book Review: Little Thrills

Landmark Award: Vista Hermosa Natural Park

Vista Hermosa Natural Park
Studio-MLA, Los Angeles

By Mimi Zeiger

At the turn of the last century, the 10 acres on which Vista Hermosa Natural Park sits was a forest of oil derricks. Located on the outskirts of a nascent downtown Los Angeles, dozens of wellheads replaced the native sage and chaparral scrub. A photograph from 1901 shows a poisonous landscape glistening with pools of what might be water—or oil.  Continue reading Landmark Award: Vista Hermosa Natural Park

Claude Cormier: How Sweet

There’s no swimming at Sugar Beach, but the crowds come anyway.

By Daniel Jost, ASLALAM-Jan2013-SugarBeachSkyline

 It’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit, or, as they say here in Toronto, a balmy 27 degrees. Stephanie McCarthy leans back in a white Adirondack chair and digs her feet into the sand. On Canada’s Sugar Beach she’s just a short walk from her downtown apartment, though as she sits in the shade of a pink umbrella, it seems a little unreal. “It feels like you’re somewhere tropical,” she says, “like a minivacation.” Continue reading Claude Cormier: How Sweet

Claude Cormier: Hell of Fun

As the news of Claude Cormier’s death touched us, we look back to a profile we published in 2020. A remembrance of Cormier’s legacy and life is available on the Cultural Landscape Foundation website.

-September 15, 2023

By Brian Barth

Claude Cormier, ASLA, designed bridges, which double as romantic viewing platforms, over the entrances to a pair of underground parking decks. Photo by Jean-François Savaria.

When Claude Cormier, ASLA, and I pull up to Dorchester Square in Montreal, a man is leaning against the grand fountain, with its three Victorian bowls, all painted a very Victorian shade of green, smoking a cigarette. When we get out of the car, I realize it’s not a cigarette, but a joint. Continue reading Claude Cormier: Hell of Fun