Three La Jolla-area properties earn American Society of Landscape Architects awards

The “Garden of the Arts” is at a private home in the Muirlands area of La Jolla.
(Joe Dodd)

Three La Jolla-area projects won Merit Awards as the American Society of Landscape Architects’ San Diego chapter held its 2022 Design Awards in Landscape Architecture on June 30.

The local winners are a garden at a Muirlands-area home, the UC San Diego Ridge Walk and The Boardwalk at Science Center Drive.

‘Garden of the Arts’

In the “residential single family” category, the “Garden of the Arts” that accents a private home near Nautilus Street was described in jurors’ comments as “a beautiful project with a variety of interesting spaces and elements of surprise. The texture and colors of the plant palette and construction materials work very well together and demonstrate a definite expertise in planting design.”

Michael Brennan, principal landscape architect for Carson Douglas Landscape Architecture and past president of the ASLA San Diego chapter, said the homeowner is a retired architect who built the home in the 1990s in the Bauhaus style.

“We wanted to create a landscape that could stand up to that and be a true complement to the architecture,” Brennan said. “It was a big challenge, so we wanted to meet that challenge. We had full range to dream big.”

Signature features of the garden include steel “land vessels,” arches that guide people through the garden, and a “splash pad” that catches water and directs it into a bio-swale.

“We really wanted to embrace the architecture, which is rooted in a sort of modernism but more playful,” Brennan said. “It’s not just about lines and symmetry. It’s about asymmetry and composition and embracing the arts. So we wanted to create a feeling of artistic expression and a beautiful space.”

UCSD Ridge Walk

UC San Diego's Ridge Walk
(Pablo Mason)

The UCSD Ridge Walk project, designed by Spurlock Landscape Architects, involves upgrades to a walkway that winds through the campus. It was honored in the awards’ “institutional” category.

Jurors’ comments said the project “does a great job in accommodating both pedestrian and non-motorized circulation within a very busy campus. It’s well-thought-out, well-planned and functions as an integral part of the overall campus.”

Spurlock Landscape Architects Marketing Manager Emily Dowgiallo said in a statement that the firm is “extremely honored” to receive the award.

“As the UCSD campus and academic programs have grown, so has the need for greater connectivity both in student body and in accessibility and wayfinding,” she said. “This Ridge Walk improvement project is just one of many pedestrian corridor projects that UCSD is embarking on to improve student life. ... Spurlock is proud to be an integral part of its development.”

According to Spurlock, the work includes hardscape and landscape spanning 7½ acres. Construction of the first phase, from the north end of Revelle Plaza to the main gym, was completed earlier this year.

The Boardwalk at Science Center Drive

The Boardwalk at Science Center Drive, a $164 million life science campus just north of UC San Diego, opened earlier this year and was recognized in the “commercial” category.

Jurors’ comments said the project’s “boardwalk element,” designed by GroundLevel Landscape Architecture, “functions very nicely within the context of the greater circulation pattern. There is a pleasing balance between the open areas, seating areas and the paths that connect them.”

The Boardwalk includes three buildings with more than 190,000 square feet of office and lab space. It is meant as a flagship venue for Healthpeak Properties, which already operates about 2 million square feet of life science office space in San Diego.

Representatives of GroundLevel did not respond to the La Jolla Light’s request for comment.

American Society of Landscape Architects

ASLA, founded in 1899, is a national professional association of landscape architects representing roughly 16,000 members in 48 professional chapters, 76 student chapters and six student affiliate chapters, according to the organization.

The Design Awards are presented every other year and are “the biggest thing we do as an organization during that year,” Brennan said.

“It’s huge for the firms that win awards,” he said. “You get a lot of buzz, and it’s a big deal to be recognized in a professional setting.”

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