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2011 Design Awards

‘Value Added’

We are pleased to announce that we received 37 entries from 20 firms in the 2011 Design Awards.  Winners in each of the five categories were announced at an awards ceremony on Friday, April 22.   Our competition was judged by members of ASLA Louisiana Chapter.  Download the  2011 Design Awards Booklet to see photos of all the projects.


Parks/ Open Space

This award recognized site-specific works of landscape architecture for park and recreation use built in 2006 or later.

Merit Award

Gauche Aquatic Park, Yuba City, California
LPA, Inc.

Gauche Aquatic Park fulfills a long-standing vision that community leaders have shared for Yuba City. As a recreational hub for the city, and the first of its kind in the area, it enhances the health, productivity, and quality of life for area residents. This civic park complex includes a three-pool aquatic center, a community recreation building and park open space. The center creates a social and symbolic core and an economic engine that will draw commercial development into the downtown area.  The park’s recreational opportunities abound for the people of Yuba City and its surrounding communities to enjoy active and passive play, gathering spaces and cultural activities. The community building complements the outdoor activities by providing support spaces for the aquatics program and the park.

The existing Gauche Park had an underutilized ball field, outdated playgrounds, and a dilapidated restroom building.  A portion of the site had been used to store a large, relocated train depot.  The design team collaborated not only between disciplines, but with the community through a workshop process to determine the future of the park.   A steering committee met at the early stages of design to program a park that would meet the many needs of the community.  Aquatics, theatre and music, and park open space for active and passive play, shaded seating areas and picnic activities were desired.  Tree retention, a desire for sustainable principles to be incorporated and revenue-producing activities were all targeted.  Concessions, locker rooms, restrooms, and offices to support the outdoor programs as well as community rooms for training seminars, community meetings, or private parties were also identified as needs.

The design concept for the project is a reflection of the nearby Feather River, and the city’s historical heritage.  Considerable thought and planning effort went into creating an exciting environment for the park users, keeping the facility extremely functional, knitting the center into the downtown urban fabric and greater river influence, and conveying a strong sustainable emphasis for visitors and employees alike.

Merit Award

Whitney Ranch Community Park, Rocklin, California
Quadriga Landscape Architecture and Planning, Inc.

Whitney Ranch Community Park is nestled alongside a natural open space corridor of native riparian and oak woodland plantings.  The Park’s relationship to this open space is not only an integral circulation and recreation component, but has also become one of the Park’s most celebrated amenities.  The open space provides pedestrian and bicycle connections to the neighboring high school and community at large through an extensive network of walking, jogging, and biking trails.  Future construction phases propose a 15,000 square foot community center, lighted soccer fields, a jogging circuit, dog park and additional open space and play areas.

The park promotes sustainability, environmental awareness and the protection of natural resources.  The design of the Park integrated a native buffer area to protect the adjacent open spaces from the active uses of the Park.  The Park’s pedestrian bridge, which connects to the neighboring high school and crosses the open space corridor, includes interpretive signage to educate pedestrians about the natural habitat they are passing through.  Located within the Park, the Audubon Demonstration garden displays native California plants that use little water and are environmentally attractive to local birds and wildlife.  The many ways homeowners can participate in Audubon’s conservation efforts are on display, including bird and butterfly friendly landscape ideas.  There are also three native backyard gardens on display that demonstrate how homeowners can install their landscapes to promote water conservation and habitat for wildlife.  Residents can see and learn first hand about environmental stewardship. Large detention ponds are purposefully located to capture rainwater and recharge natural groundwater systems as well as provide valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife. Throughout the park, large deciduous trees support summer cooling and winter solar gain, and reduce the heat island effect in the parking areas during the summer months.

Commercial/ Civic

This award recognized  site-specific works of landscape architecture for commercial or civic use that were built in 2006 or later.

Honor Award and President’s Award

UC Davis Winery, Brewery, and Food Science Laboratory, Davis, California
The HLA Group, Landscape Architects & Planners, Inc.

The combined Teaching and Research Winery and the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory is a world-class teaching and research facility poised to advance the state of the art in each of the three industries it serves.  Integrated with the building and surrounding campus neighborhood, the site and landscape design provide opportunities for education and ongoing research.  Originally a design/build competition, the University specified only the program and area.  The building form and site layout were developed as the most efficient method to accommodate all programmatic requirements and adjacencies.

Located on 2.7 acres within the Robert Mondavi Neighborhood of the UC Davis campus, the project responds to the existing built and natural context.  Recalling familiar agrarian themes, the landscape consists of native and adapted shrubs, ornamental and naturalized grasses, and decomposed granite paving; welcoming visitors and connecting the facility with the surrounding Robert Mondavi Institute.  Responding to the semi-arid climate, large deciduous trees, together with an extensive built canopy, shade visitors from the sun and lessen heat gain.  Tree species and cultivars were selected in consultation with the University’s horticultural researchers to optimize growth and shade in the central valley climate, serving to sequester carbon and reduce the heat gain of paved areas.

Partway through the design process, private donor funding enabled the design team to implement additional sustainability initiatives to assure LEED Platinum certification.  In addition to significant building upgrades, a rainwater harvesting system was developed that supplies all landscape irrigation demands, as well as sewage conveyance for lavatories.  This system is integral to the project’s Platinum certification and responds to the UC Board of Regents original desire to include the most cutting-edge sustainable practices, the wine industry’s growing use of rainwater, and the critical need for ongoing research into plant water use and rainfall capture in developed environments.

Merit Award

Sacramento Valley VA National Cemetery, Dixon, California

The Sacramento Valley VA National Cemetery is located 30 miles south west of downtown Sacramento, CA. It is the seventh National Cemetery in California, the first new VA National Cemetery here in 50 years. The closest VA National Cemetery is the historic Presidio in San Francisco, but that site is filled to its burial capacity. The creation of a new National Cemetery to provide a final resting place for our Veterans was timely and urgent given that Veterans from the WWII, Korean War and Vietnam era have been passing on at a high rate.

The site comprises some 544 acres and will be phased in over several years. Views from the site include an impressive panorama of mountain ranges including the Sierra Nevada and nearby Coastal Range, as well as bucolic orchards and agricultural fields. Built features include a Public Information Center/Administration Building, Flag Assembly area (for large public events such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day), Veterans Memorial Walkway, Columbaria, Committal Service Shelters and the Avenue of Flags. At build-out, the cemetery will provide 137,000 grave sites, 13,000 inurnment sites and 39,000 columbarium sites.

The 107-acre Phase 1 site has a central pond water feature which serves as the backdrop to the Memorial Flag Assembly area Public Information/Administration building, Committal Shelters and Main Columbarium. The landscape design approach used at Sacramento Valley National Cemetery was to keep lawn areas at a minimum; primarily, in the burial sections and in the functional gathering areas of the site. The remainder of the landscape is comprised of low water, low maintenance native shrubs, trees and groundcover in bark mulch and decomposed granite beds, which transition to a perimeter buffer area that was seeded with California native grassland and wildflowers, which is non-irrigated.

Merit Award

2020 Gateway Tower, Sacramento, California
LPAS Architecture + Design

2020 Gateway Tower is the first privately developed LEED Gold Certified high-rise in Northern California.  The 12-story, 345,000 square foot steel-framed structure utilizes an energy efficient glass curtain wall and precast concrete panels. Responding to the client’s goals, the project was specifically designed to reduce operational costs, enhance occupant comfort, health and productivity, preserve natural resources, and contribute to the occupants’ overall quality of life. The building’s landscape design was developed to support these project goals, as well as compliment the surrounding award winning business park.

The project incorporates a water storage tank that recaptures the blow-down bleed water from the building’s cooling towers. Typically, this water would be discharged into the sanitary sewer system. However, on this project, bleed water is treated by a filtration system enabling this “run-off” to be suitable for use as irrigation water. This treated water provides 100% of the landscape irrigation needs for the project’s entire 14-acre site.  Along with advanced water conserving fixtures implemented throughout the building, the irrigation system for this project saves 5.7 million gallons of water annually.

The parking lot behaves like an internal organ to the site.  It is designed to serve as a system for storm water flow management and filtration, and several features throughout the parking lot reduce the impact to waterways downstream. Long linear-landscaped planters serve as water quality swales to filter particulate matter and impurities. 100% of the storm water from the building site is designed to drain through these vegetated swales prior to entering the City’s storm water system. Along with improving the quality of the storm water, the large vegetated detention basins manage the volume of storm water leaving the site. In addition, trees will shade 50% of all parking within 15 years. Seventy-four parking spaces are shaded by freestanding shade structures with photovoltaic panels that also provide all of the energy requirements for the building’s common areas.


Merit Award

Folsom Light Rail Plaza, Folsom, California
Quadriga Landscape Architecture and Planning, Inc.

Replacing a small park site that honored William Alexander Leidesdorff, Jr., the Folsom Light Rail Plaza sits at the precise location that the Sacramento Valley Railroad once occupied.  The plaza is designed to accommodate large numbers of commuters and visitors coming to Folsom via light rail trains and busses.  An “at grade” crosswalk connects the site to a City parking garage which serves the historic district.  A circular plaza area was created for impromptu performances, and to serve as a gathering spot for historic tours of Old Folsom.  The simple plant palette, dominated by a bosque of large canopy trees, creates a shaded urban oasis. .

A primary design objective for the plaza was to honor the site’s historic past. The collaborative design process involved several public meetings to ensure the historic sustainability of design decisions.  Historic documents were researched and shared with all stakeholders. This historic stewardship enhances the human experience and attachment to the site by providing a connection to the past.  One design detail included the use of actual rail embedded within the paving, following the exact historic path of the Sacramento Valley Railroad.  Three historic bronze plaques that had been previously removed from the demolished Leidesdorff park site were incorporated into the Plaza, which provided further connections to the early Railroad era.  The resulting design improved the sites’ historic and cultural attributes in order to augment a sense of place and meaning. Plants were carefully considered for adaptation to site conditions, climate, and design intent, which ultimately reduced the need for maintenance and additional resources.  Low-energy LED lighting was used to up-light the bosque of trees, and furnishings were selected that were made from 100% recyclable product.

The plaza appears to be simply considered, by design.  The space provides for ease of movement for the daily commuter or occasional visitor, while meeting safety and security needs.  Simple, honest materials are organized to provide ease of maintenance and lasting durability, while providing historic, rich and interesting details which unfold the longer one occupies the site.

Mitigation/ Restoration

This award recognized site-specific works of landscape architecture for the purpose of reclamation, restoration, or mitigation that were built in 2006 or later.

Merit Award

Silva Ranch Restoration, Sacramento County, California

Foothill Associates

The Silva Ranch Restoration site encompasses approximately 600 acres along Laguna Creek in southern SacramentoCounty.  This is an area of historic vernal pool habitat, and the Silva site is surrounded by natural and created vernal pool complexes.  The Silva Ranch Restoration project transformed 200 acres of heavily altered, leveled, and irrigated pasture to natural rolling landscape with over 30 acres of vernal pools.

The Project began with a thorough site assessment, including a detailed soil subsurface investigation to identify presence and depth of the restrictive layers (hardpan and/or claypan).  Forty-three test pits were dug to create a topographic map of the claypan.  Other site studies included a hydrologic assessment, biological resources assessment, and a general opportunities and constraints analysis. Adjacent existing preserves increased the value of the site as a mitigation area, because the addition of this parcel would increase the total size of the larger preserved lands.  Designs were developed using vernal pool shapes and sizes from the impact site combined with topographic constraints from the mitigation site.  The overall design attempted to achieve a distribution of pool sizes similar to the impact site, except that very small sizes were eliminated because of earth moving equipment constraints and very large pools were not included because of site limitations. The design included a 50-foot buffer along the existing road and northern site boundary to reduce the possibility of future impacts from road expansion or adjacent development. Seasonal wetland swales were cut between pools to provide for overflow from pool to pool, to help spread vernal pool crustaceans and plants.

The landscape architect led the project team of biologists, botanists, hydrologists, and soil scientists through the design and construction process.  The implementation of this project ensured that habitat for rare invertebrates and plants endemic to California’s central valley vernal pools will survive in perpetuity through the use of conservation easements.


This award recognized site-specific works of landscape architecture for residential use that were built in 2006 or later.

Honor Award

Williams Residence, Coachella Valley, California
AviBet Associates

This substantial desert residential landscape remodeling project creates pleasant outdoor environments with several activity/relaxation/entertainment areas connected with and flowing into each other. While maintaining green, cool oasis like qualities in areas used most by the owners, the periphery of the garden gradually blends with the rugged desert surrounding.  Located in key locations in the garden are several architectural and sculptural elements which add interest, focal point and practicality.

The garden has a contemporary flare befitting the architecture and the interior design of the home. There are vast expanses of decorative paving, some of which is carried from inside the house to create continuous indoor/outdoor living space. The entry courtyard provides a sunny, protected area for casual sitting.  A decorative wrought iron art piece screens the house from the neighboring residence and provides protection from the occasional strong winds that prevail during the autumn and spring. Stepping up to the front door one is greeted by the sound of water from an unexpected free standing fountain carved from a solid chunk of black granite. Terminating the axis directly opposed from the fountain is a tall obelisk sculpture, also made of black granite. The rear garden encompasses a large recessed entertainment terrace which forms a smooth continuation of the living room. More sitting and lounging terraces surround the house on the west and south side.

The planting scheme emphasizes green, oasis like environments close to the house where more of the outdoor activities take place. At the periphery of the garden, the landscape changes into drought tolerant, xeriscape planting which gradually blend with and compliment the natural surroundings. The grass area serves as an essential shallow retention basin between the house and the hillside to collect storm water and divert it to an overflow swale that carries the water to a storm drain and large off site retention basin.

Merit Award

The Young Residence
Rebecca Coffman Landscape Architects

This coast range residence has a commanding view of the surrounding vineyards and adjacent open space. It was a priority of the owners that the new construction be a subtle and non-obtrusive addition to the native landscape.  Care was taken in the choice of landscape and building elements.  The homeowners wanted a colorful plant palette while still respecting the natural environment around their home.  To achieve this, terraces were designed in accordance with the existing topography.  This reduced the amount of cut and fill that would typically be required on this undulating site.  These terraces provide delineation between the different plant areas.  They show a succession of plants that require some maintenance by humans to those that can survive with only the maintenance that nature provides.  They are also a graceful transition from the built environment to the native landscape.

The patio garden is closest to the house.  This is where colorful flowers bloom and the kitchen garden is grown.  The flowering plants bloom throughout the seasons and were chosen for their minimal water requirements.  A vegetable garden is kept close to the kitchen to allow for a quick ‘trip’ to the store to gather the salad greens for dinner.  Placing gardens that require daily maintenance close to the house reduces energy expenditures of all kinds.

To reduce water use, plants adapted to the area requiring minimal water to thrive were used.  Rainwater was also used as a resource.  A rainwater catchment system was designed into the project and a budget created to ensure that it was built.  Rain that hits the roof runs to the gutters that connect to a collection system.  In addition, water that sheet flows off of hard surfaces is directed to the system.  This system carries the water to on-site tanks where it is stored.  Stored water is then utilized in times of drought to sustain the plants and vegetables around the patio garden.  The terrace gardens that are further from the house are planted with native shrubs and a layer of mulch to conserve water.  These native shrubs have evolved with the ecosystem and prefer no water during the typically dry summer months.

Merit Award

Sutter Brownstones
LPAS Architecture + Design

The Sutter Brownstones is a shining example of a successful small site infill housing development.  Driving the project was the master planning of a large medical campus expansion within an established central city environment.  The master plan required razing 32 residential structures located in Sacramento’s historic Midtown district.  Subsequently, limited sites were available for residential uses within the limits of this master plan.  The final selected site consisted of an empty parking structure with a gross acreage of 0.73 acres, requiring a non-typical 43 unit per acre density solution for this urban infill project.

The design team approached these challenges by creating four building clusters fronting pedestrian paseos that extend perpendicular to N Street, as well as twelve units facing the street.  The result was a development scheme which restored the urban scale and rhythm of the surrounding single-family homes. Each paseo is framed by townhomes which display a strong vertical sense of scale, thereby maintaining the residential street appearance. N Street and the alley behind are utilized as a means of ingress/egress for vehicles. This enables vehicular circulation to remain distinct and out-of-sight from the pedestrian paseo setting.

The paseos’ design rises above street level, creating an enhanced sense of privacy and reducing the appearance of stairs within each unit. Front porches were added at varying heights to assist with privacy between units. The paseos’ design presents the look of courtyard gardens. The landscape design was created to enhance the pedestrian experience while passing through these courtyards.  Plant material was selected to provide filtered privacy between elevated porches, and special consideration was given to plant color and texture complimenting the building materials and finishes.  Accent paving was used to highlight arrival at each residence while small fountains provide soft ‘white’ background noise.  The exterior lighting was designed to offer a safe and pleasant courtyard while not intruding on the interior residential space.

Visionary/ Unbuilt

This award recognizes the wide variety of unbuilt projects and professional activities that lead to, guide, and/or evaluate landscape architecture design.  Also professional and/or student research that identifies and investigates challenges posed in landscape architecture, providing results that advance the body of knowledge for the profession.

Honor Award

Bay Life
Michael Clarke, Vahid Rezari, and Elizabeth Bokulich

Historically, this site was the economic heart of the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, providing employment at the shipyard for over seven thousand of its residents. In Bay Life, that economic life source is brought back to the site, and its productive culture re-imagined once again. A multitude of green houses accommodate fish and crop production (aqua-culture), intermingled with sweeps of terraced agricultural fields. These items of production are not only beautiful additions to the bay and its views, and a wonderful experience for the community.  They bring employment to a neighborhood suffering from 30% unemployment, fresh produce and fish to a neighborhood that has been labeled a ‘food desert’ and, finally, a promise for the future with a variety of jobs that can serve as vocational training.

Hunters Point Ship Yard once pulsed with a vibrant community life of its workers and their families, housing numerous organizations and social events. After closing, this relationship was severed and the metaphorical divide between the site and the community increased over time. Re-use of a historical building located deep within the former shipyard, accessed by a network of boardwalks extending over once forbidden land, reclaims the site as community space again.

The changed topography of Bay Life’s design creates an increased shoreline allowing the bay to undulate through the site, thus multiplying the wetland habitats that hug the shore. This wetland system then protrudes into the land from the bay into the site, serving as an addition to the annexed habitats at Cranes Head and Yosemite Slough; all working to purify the water of the bay.  The changes allow for the soil removed from the bay to be used as a cap over the contaminated soil. Over time, habitat vegetation will flourish on the surface, while the roots of the phytoremediation trees will slowly work on the contaminants below.

Merit Award

Mountain View Planned Community
LPA, Inc.

Mountain View is a 343 acre new planned community on the northern boundary of the City of Red Bluff in Northern California.  The “hilltop” geography of the Mountain View site lends itself to premier distant views of Mount Lassen to the east, Mount Shasta to the north and the Pacific Coastal Range to the west.  Combining pristine views with convenient access to significant regional recreational amenities provides the Mountain View Community with a rich regional context.  Close proximity to the freeway, rail, the Sacramento River, golf, Lassen and Shasta National Parks and the Coastal Range all afford residents of the Mountain View Community wonderful opportunities for leisure activities and alternate modes of transportation.

Consistent with knowledge based planning and smart growth principles, planning for the Mountain View Community began with a resource overlay planning methodology as employed by Ian McHarg.  A series of overlays, including oak woodland/significant trees, topography and slope intensity, wetlands and blueline streams, circulation and infrastructure yielded “buildable areas” for planned development.  The result is a planned community “embraced” by the natural features of the site.  Fingers of native, oak studded canyons that embody the unbuildable topography as well as streams and wetlands separate enclaves of housing and commercial development. These “fingers” of open space double as open space corridors providing trail linkages to community activities and storm water cleansing bioswales that deliver clean storm water to natural creek systems.  All trail systems deliver trail users to the Village Center, the “social center” of the community.  The entire community is planned in such a way that no one resident has more than a five minute walk to the Village Center – a truly “walkable” community.  Land uses at the Village Center include high density housing, restaurants, parks, retail, offices and community services.  Residential and non-residential uses grow in density and scale as they approach the Village Center.