Designer Profile: Native Hawaiian Angelica Rockquemore on the ASLA National Diversity Summit and Natural Learning Spaces

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Angelica Rockquemore is a bit of a whiz kid. A landscape designer and planner at Honolulu-based HHF Planners, the Fulbright Fellow’s decorated education and professional career includes research and planning of Japanese gardens in Kyoto, design of outdoor play areas in Maori language immersion preschools, neighborhood concept development in Portland, and ethnographic research and writing… Read more »

Designer Profile: Nathan Elliott, Principal at the Office of James Burnett on Persistence in Playground Design

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Nathan Elliott didn’t always follow his creative instincts. The principal with the Office of James Burnett in Solana Beach, California, says he went into computer science at Louisiana State University on the model of his brother, but “flubbed out” of the weeder courses. His girlfriend was enrolled in LSU’s landscape architecture program at the time,… Read more »

Twelve Years Later: Revisiting Susan Solomon’s Call to Revitalize American Playgrounds

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The book American Playgrounds: Revitalizing Community Space, by writer and architectural historian Susan Solomon, opens with a scathing—and forcibly blunt—indictment of modern American playgrounds, to wit: “Existing American playgrounds are a disaster.” The picture Solomon paints in the introduction of her 276-page historical review and contemporary playground study is familiar to anyone who has seen the… Read more »

Designer Profile – Aldo van Eyck: A Playground for Every Neighborhood

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In 1947, when the structuralist architect Aldo van Eyck built his first playground in Amsterdam, Dutch cities were in a state of crisis. The city’s infrastructure lay ravaged by World War II, the birth rate was accelerating, and there was little available housing stock. At the time, most existing playgrounds were privately owned and accessible… Read more »

Designer Profile: Lynn Wolff of Copley Wolff Design Group

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Shortly before they co-founded Copley Wolff Design Group, Lynn Wolff asked John Copley to describe his childhood. They were both teaching at Boston Architecture College at the time, and had a standing Tuesday meeting to discuss their classes and projects. Ms. Wolff’s question wasn’t that unusual. The surprise came, mid-sentence, as Copley was talking about… Read more »

Designer Profile: Joe Frost, The Contemporary Father of Play Advocacy

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As a child on a small farm in southwestern Arkansas, Joe Frost played with his friends in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. He played war and chase, built dams in the stream behind his grade school, and piled on his classmates in a game called “Dog Pile.” He devoured library books, government  pamphlets, comics,… Read more »

Designer Profile: Michelle Mathis, RLA, Learning Landscapes Design

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Eight years ago, on a five-day cycling tour of Berlin, Michelle Mathis stumbled upon her first bonafide adventure playground. What she saw caught her off guard: along several hundred linear feet of boardwalk, children unaccompanied by parents were using hammers, hand saws, and pieces of scrap wood to build forts, some as high as twenty… Read more »

Designer Profile: Joseph Lee, Father of the Playground Movement

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“Do not be forever meddling, interfering, asking questions, showing them a better way. Give the constructive power of your children scope and elbow room – the temple that it builds is invisible to any eyes but theirs. If you blur and jostle their vision, it is lost.” —Joseph Lee, social activist, philanthropist, president of the… Read more »

Designer Spotlight: Hitchcock Design Group

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One of my favorite places to go for a walk is the Spruce Plot at the Morton Arboretum, outside Chicago. There is a perceptible hush and temperature drop on entering the forest, as though you’ve been transported to another time and place. A grid of towering spruces crowds out the sky. Dim light filters through… Read more »

Designer Spotlight: Horst Henke – The Man Who Brought Wood To North American Playgrounds

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If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know the name Rick Henke. Raised in Kiel Germany, Henke immigrated to the US in the 1970s and founded the Goric Marketing Group USA in 1994. With his background in engineering and his involvement in developing playground safety standards in Canada, Rick was an early creator… Read more »

Designer Spotlight – H Nyunny Kim of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

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“Who needs to escape the city when you can walk down the street or take the F train to Jay Street or the No. 22 to Clark Street or the B63 bus that goes right to Pier 6 at Atlantic Avenue — and see nature in the city.” That’s Anne Raver, art and design columnist for… Read more »

Designer Spotlight – Ilisa Goldman and the Power of Our Natural World

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Reclaiming Community Spaces Creates Healthier Environments for us All     This past November, Rooted in Place, the design firm founded by Ilisa Goldman,orchestrated a 4 day community build event to transform a parking lot just outside ARTS (a local arts based youth center) into an, ‘arts-dedicated community space for art-making, performing and exhibiting.’ Local residents were invited… Read more »