NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Manhattan can be viewed as an agglomeration of objects resting on terra firma or as an integrated topography full of peaks and valleys with a close association to its underlying geology. Terrain Work’s landscape for Hudson Commons, a new commercial office space by Cove Property Group and KPF Architects at 441 Ninth Avenue in Manhattan, creates an Urban Mountain where the landscape changes in composition and experience as it climbs up from the ground to the peak of the structure. Plant communities, strata, and programs are all linked to their corresponding elevation within the Hudson Commons giving shape to three distinctly different set of experiences - The Grove, The Glades, and The Apex.
The Grove is located on the 9th floor at the base of the tower and is characterized by a dense canopy of native Grey Birch (Betula populifolia) trees creating shady spots for individual outdoor work areas, meetings spaces, and large gathering spaces. The Glades are a series of terraces that climb up the mid-level of the structure with native Pitch Pines (Pinus rigida) that lend a windswept sculptural appearance. The Apex is at the peak of the structure with panoramic views of the Hudson river Palisades to the west and views of the historic Empire State Building and New Yorker Hotel to the east. The landscape is comprised of alpine plants and low sedums along with a large granite boulder that acts as a counterpoint to the iconic New York City skyline. Photo Credit: BTH
IOWA CITY, IOWA
The University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium landscape creates a new topographic ground fusing the site and building by Pelli Clarke Pelli architects while accommodating for an extensive pedestrian circulation network, water treatment system, and the reintroduction of a riparian riverfront habitat. The fluid forms that emerge are a direct response to the program providing for manifold circulation routes to the adjacent parking area and also creating topographic depressions that enable stormwater capture, cleaning, and infiltration back into ground. This supplants the old system of stormwater management that delivered polluted water directly into the river, which decreased water quality and increased water volume and velocity, directly amplifying recent flood events along the Iowa River. Theodore Hoerr was Principal at Balmori while leading the design of this project. Images courtesy of Balmori.
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL
The Mata Atlantica Forest that is indigenous to Brazil is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, but only 9% of this Brazilian ecosystem remains in the world. Sao Paulo Corporate Towers ,in collaboration with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, aims to capture the biodiversity and spatial richness of this habitat in an urban landscape at the center of São Paulo. Tree canopies of various heights create magical outdoor spaces of dappled sunlight and shade, providing a cool and inviting environment. Landforms accentuate the display of the vegetation in their multiple canopy layers. A large green roof accessible by a series of ramps becomes a link between the two towers and integrates the amenity building. The collection of rain water on the site and the selection of native species with lower water demand allow for minimum irrigation and help cool the towers. Theodore Hoerr was Principal at Balmori while leading the design of this project. Images courtesy of Balmori.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
The ‘Broadway Bouquet’ captures the quintessentially New York spirit of spectacle and wonder that the city’s scale-bending urban environment cultivates. This public art installation revels in the culture of cut flowers found on countless street corners from Manhattan to the outer boroughs and turns it into a larger than life experience where individual trees and shrubs replace cut stems and flowers. This portable landscape is turned into a destination for the public inspiring delight and wonder in a space that might otherwise be dedicated to the automobile and giving people a glimpse of how introducing plants and urban ecology in civic spaces can stir the imagination.
The 'Broadway Bouquet’ is a 40' feet long by 8' high temporary public art installation that was displayed at the intersection of Broadway and 24th Street in the Flatiron District of Manhattan on Saturday April 21, 2018. The art installation was a featured piece of the NYC/DOT Car Free Earth Day event. The annual event closes thirty blocks of Broadway from Times Square to Union Square to vehicular traffic, creating a temporary pedestrian space for people to explore for the day. A variety of environmental programming including public art, musical performances, and various exercise activities were introduced by city agencies and nonprofit organizations along Broadway to promote activism and education surrounding climate change, sustainability and rethinking how we use our city streets.
The Broadway Bouquet provides a tangible example to the public of what we give up – civic space and public art – when cities are dominated by vehicular traffic. The art piece captures the imagination by illustrating the potential for a car free future with a living breathing garden in the middle of one of the busiest spaces in the world.
A special thanks to the following organizations that enabled this project to come to life through their generous support: NYC DOT, Blondie's Tree House, DeSimone Engineers, and Duggal Visual Solutions. Video courtesy of Alexius Tan of DeSimone Engineers. Aerial photos courtesy of NYC DOT
MORRISTOWN, NEW JERSEY
Set on a five acre lot of a mature hardwood forest of oak, maple, and walnut trees, the design of the garden for this midcentury modern home was informed by its historical origins and programmatic elements adapting it to a landscape to be lived in for the new owners. The house was originally designed by Robert and Rowena MacPhail, two local artists and art educators. The Mac Phail's turned their passion for art in the 1950's toward the design and construction of their house that was completed in 1958. The house was recently purchased by new owners and Gary Rosard Architect is providing the design for the renovation and addition to the historic structure.
The garden for the house draws upon the artwork that is thought to have influenced the artist's design of the structure with its sloping triangulated rooflines reminiscent of the works of Maholy-Nagy and Wassily Kandinsky. In particular Kandinsky's Composition VIII was looked at as a point of departure for the design of the garden. The garden takes two-dimensional concepts found in the painting and extends them into three dimensional expressions of space, color, and movement in the landscape. This creates the essential elements of the garden - pathways, plantings, terraces, and reflection pools - that provide a space for outdoor living.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
To witness the unfolding of a bloom is one of the simple pleasures in life. For people of all ages this floral explosion marks the passage of time and elicits delight and wonder like few other events. It is one of the joys that transcends cultural and geopolitical boundaries and brings communities and families together. Unfolding Blooms is an installation proposal for the Lexus Intersect Gallery in Chelsea that celebrates this phenomenon and the creative muse it has provided for thousands of years.
The artwork is comprised of a grid of three hundred and fifty mirrored spheres that each contain a mix of blooming flowers and cut branches in the manner of the art of Ikebana. The spheres float above the ground at different levels and are organized in rows spaced three feet apart to allow people to circulate among the blooms. Unfolding Blooms also creates distinct topography of peaks and valleys that people can occupy within the gallery space. It extends the experience beyond the gallery borders by introducing a mirrored surface on the gallery wall that creates the illusion of an expansive landscape in the heart of Manhattan.
Unfolding Blooms creates an immersive experience that occurs through space and time where people can celebrate the simple beauty of a blossom opening. The installation may be ephemeral, but the plants in Unfolding Blooms will be reused in Ikebana workshops offered to the public, creating delight for years to come. Unfolding Blooms is a collaboration between Terrain Work & Behin Ha Design Studio.
The Wheels O’ Time museum in Peoria, Illinois houses an extensive collection of over 30,000 square feet of antique and collector autos, trains, airplanes, tractors, fire trucks, and bicycles. The museum recently acquired a house constructed from steel designed by the renowned industrial designer R.G. LeTourneau in the late 1930’s.
Terrain Work’s master plan for the museum incorporates the newly acquired Le Tourneau house into the museum campus to create an interconnected series of wheels that each contain different gardens designed to display artifacts and provide a variety of programmatic functions. Terrain work created new outdoor venues for museum patrons to enjoy that integrate gathering and educational opportunities alongside the artifacts. The wheels are connected by a network of belts that serve as pathways for circulation between each garden. The gardens each have their own unique botanical characteristics based on native Illinois plants that create a dynamic experience through the seasons.
The Austin Salon creates a landscape that is at once a sign and a dynamic installation that can be “styled” and sculpted through seasons and over the years. The landscape creates and inviting environment for salon patrons to view and occupy during their visits. It also acts a sign at the confluence of a busy intersection that is the site of a former gas station. Pre-cast concrete planters dot the perimeter of the site and the entry and are “styled” in a variety of ways to reflect contemporary hairdo’s and catch the attention of passer byes. The salon architecture by Wang Architects creates a series of diffuse screens that act as a new skin for the structure while also emerging as a framework in the landscape to define outdoor terraces around the perimeter of the building.
New York is a city of spectacle and awe. The Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park, Coney Island, NYC Fashion Week, and the Brooklyn Bridge are just a few of the places and events that are genre-defining and renowned as quintessentially New York. New York is also a city of dramatic and contradictory scale shifts that are easily distorted while living and visiting the city. In New York what is small may seem big, and what is big may seem small. New York possesses this uncanny ability to continually reshape and alter a person’s perception of scale, space, and time.
The New York Plant Circus aims to capture this spirit of spectacle and wonder that its scale-bending urban environment cultivates. Three pedestrian bridges are situated at the intersection of Park Avenue and 47th, 52nd, and 56th Streets, enabling pedestrian flow between adjacent blocks and creating a tripartite of surreal elevated landscapes that blur the distinction between garden, infrastructure, and iconography. Hedges turn to the sky to perform aerial acrobatics, topiaries become cities unto themselves, and the Big Top is reimagined as a giant trellis for vines.
Within each of the blocks a series of quixotic New York landscapes unfold. The Bouquet Block captures the culture of cut flowers that is present throughout the city and can be easily found on a nearby corner. The Topiary City takes one of New York’s most exportable commodities, the skyline, and transforms it into a three-dimensional garden of hedges. The Edible Forest celebrates New York’s world-class foodie culture by creating a block for song birds to feast on fine dining down Park Avenue. The Three Vases creates a playful facsimile of one of the most ubiquitous, and achievable, gardens to which New Yorkers have access. These portable landscapes are turned into permanent places. Taken together the New York Botanical Circus creates a new landscape experience down Park Avenue that is as delightfully unexpected as it is undeniably New York.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Situated in the heart of Manhattan and intertwined in a sixty story residential tower designed by Cetra Ruddy Architects, the landscape for West 53rd Street was generated by an urgent need for programmatic flexibility within limited space. The project began with research into the various types of activities that a residential complex could contain given the various site characteristics such as light, wind, and noise. By analyzing how residents might use their outdoor spaces over time and coupling activities that would build value for the development we were able to create spaces that would respond to the residents needs throughout the four seasons. Theodore Hoerr was Principal at Balmori while leading the design of this project. Images courtesy of Balmori.
Arcapita, a leading financial company in Bahrain, is situated within the Bahrain Bay district that has recently arisen from the Persian Gulf. The design for the Arcapita landscape explores the rich history of Islamic patterns found in the region and how they inform the organization of the Arcapita landscape through geometric principles, subtle level changes, and the use of water for passive cooling and aesthetic purposes.
The design process examined historic patterns from the region to see how these geometric systems would respond to scale shifts and the evolution from a two-dimensional system to a three-dimensional space. This creates a surface for the building to set on while offering an array of spatial configurations that people could enjoy while experiencing the surrounding landscape.
There are several layers the landscape is comprised of, the first layer is the paved areas directly adjacent to the building. This area creates a flat plane for the building to rest on serving as a plinth for the new headquarters. As you move further away from the building into the landscape this plane begins to fragment and lift up to form a new spatial and organizational sequence. This is defined by parterres of paving, planting, and water. The parterres offer opportunities for seating near under the shade of Acacia trees and the cooling effects of water. Theodore Hoerr led the design of this project while at AECOM. Images courtesy of AECOM & SOM.
Distilled by tragedy, love, hope, and unity emerge in their purest form to honor those lost and help restore a community. A circle is chosen to symbolize the perfect and complete expression of these universal human needs. It is a simple yet powerful form that predates recorded history and crosses all cultural boundaries, appearing in both nature and man-made environments to represent wholeness. The circle also signifies the unbreakable bond of a community that has experienced deep and acute loss, yet remains united in their love for the children and adults whose memories will endure with the falling leaves each autumn and the blossoming flowers in the spring. The memorial is rooted in this bond of community, and the tranquil habitats found within the landscape provide the setting for healing and remembrance.
The memorial, like the grieving and healing process, is understood as a space of transformation and change that embodies both the evolving landscape and the commemorative pieces within it. The existing site contains four diverse habitats: Deciduous forest, Meadow, Wetland, and Boreal forest. Each of these landscapes creates an experience independent of the others, offering a range of moods, tones, and emotions that are brought about simply through walking from one habitat to the next. The memorial uses three distinct components - Unity Path, Meadow, and Reflection Plane - to unify all of the site’s existing habitats in remembrance of the students and educators.
QUEENS, NEW YORK
Queens is the most ethnically diverse spot on the planet. According to the Endangered Language Alliance, there are more languages spoken in Queens than any other place in the world. This rich multicultural atmosphere is woven into every aspect of the community creating a unique cultural tapestry that is expressed through the daily rhythms of its residents. The diversity of people, food, music, recreation, fine arts, and many other integral aspects of daily life in Queens creates a unique experience for residents and visitors alike.
“Queens Blossoms,” captures the borough’s rich diversity of ethnic communities through a large mural on the ground that stretches the length of the plaza and depicts the blossom from every country of origin currently represented in Queens. The walking surface creates an immersive and colorful floral explosion that animates and enlivens a space where plants are not typically able to grow. The size and scale of the blossoms create an atmosphere of wonder and delight that brings us back to how we experienced the world as a child. “Queens Blossoms” not only creates a visually striking piece of art within the plaza but also invites residents and visitors to learn more about the cultural diversity of their community. All of the flowers found in the artwork are marked with QR codes that people can scan with their smart phones to learn more about the flowers and the countries they symbolize. Finally, partnerships with local gardens and botanical gardens will be formed so the artwork serves as a virtual map that can lead people to experience the actual flowers cultivated around New York City.
Montclaire, New Jersey
The Mid Mod House is a mid-century modern house designed by the acclaimed native New Jersey architect Arthur Rigolo in 1956. Located next to a nature reserve, the house is perched at the midpoint of a steeply sloping site offering panoramic views of the distant Manhattan skyline. The landscape been neglected over time and was overrun by invasive bamboo that required removal from a large portion of the property. Terrain Work created a new design for the entire landscape while Jeff Jordan Architects is restoring the original dwelling.
The design for the Mid Mod house draws on elements of this significant design period while remaining forward looking. The entry approach to the house is configured with a playful curving hedge of boxwood that lead visitors to the arrival and offering a counterpoint to the orthogonal geometry of the architecture. A copse of flowering redbud trees is positioned at the base of the house to create a sense of scale and add a burst of color in the spring. The outdoor courtyard located at the middle of the dwelling is designed to create seamless circulation while offering opportunities for outdoor living and entertainment. A long linear reflecting pool is incorporated next to the bay of windows at the family room to view the sky and reflect light into the house. Creating a visual anchor for the space is a pyramidal moss sculpture that can be viewed from all vantage points while inside the house or in the landscape. Finally, a row of columnar cypress trees add privacy to the landscape from the street above and recall the vegetation that was closely linked with the mid-century modern movement.
Lake Effect was a finalist in an international design competition to reconceive the area underneath the Main Avenue Bridge in Cleveland, Ohio. The approach, taken jointly by Balmori Associates, Tillet Associates, and artist Stacy Levy, was to take on specific conditions of the site and work with them to increase the site’s human use and enjoyment. One of these conditions is that of the wind always blowing under the bridge, an effect of the proximity to Lake Erie and the bridge’s channeling effect. Another is that of the darkness under the bridge particularly at the intersection of Ninth and Main Streets. The third condition is that of the great fields of paving, which impart to the site its character of being a place only for cars, not people. Theodore Hoerr was Principal at Balmori while leading the design of this project. Images courtesy of Balmori.
Bradley University represents a significant moment in the city of Peoria acting as an incubator for learning, and serving as a key link to downtown Peoria via Main Street. The proposed plan for the campus will increase the legibility and image of the University in two ways. The first is through strategic removal of parking that will re-establish a sequence of pedestrian friendly spaces within the existing campus framework and strengthen the existing east-west axis along St. James Street. The second is the addition of the alumni quad to serve as a western anchor in the campus by providing an area of confluence for students, alumni, and faculty. This is carried out with the implementation of a new topographic frame that reasserts a spatial order in an area of the campus that has grown organically over time.
As a child we see the world through an unblemished lens. As an adult we often try to catch glimpses of the perspective we had as a child, but it comes filtered through our life experience. Mind Games explores our perceptions of childhood through the lens of adulthood. The garden is at once a representation of these myriad states of being, and a sensory experience that invites both children and adults to play in a field of fallen leaves. Approaching the garden from the exterior end you peer through a diaphanous screen that serves as a filter for light and shadow. Here the interior garden is seen in silhouette projecting shadows against the screen at different points in the day. This is a space of contemplation with varying opacities around its perimeter. As you walk into the interior the appearance of a prototypical bosque of Sugar Maple Trees is upended. The bosque is rotated off axis and set within an undulating turf topography. Within the topography there are ten thousand plastic balls of yellow orange and red creating an explosion of color inviting kids and adults to play in a field of fallen leaves that is under perpetual change.
Our team was a finalist for the international competition for the daylighting of the Town Branch Commons Creek led by Balmori and JDS architects. Our strategy centered on the portion of Vine Street between Rupp Arena and Limestone Street . This segment is significant as it plugs itself into two zones of already existing capacity: Rupp and its square, electrified at times of games and events, and Limestone, the main artery connecting the Kentucky University and Transylvania University with a series of small cultural and commercial programs interlaced in between. Converting this section of downtown to public and smaller scale activities that revolve around active recreation creates new civic realm for the city of Lexington. Theodore Hoerr led the design of this project while at Balmori. Images courtesy of Balmori.
HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY
Hoboken is a city built predominantly on a salt-water marsh. Flash flooding has plagued the city for decades, creating water management problems for both city officials and residents alike. The design strategy for the garden was to create a series of landscape terraces for contemplation and recreation that would also solve the client's pervasive flooding problems. The strategy also contributes to the larger citywide effort for residents to manage stormwater on site to mitigate stress on the city storm . This was carried out by the use of pervious landscape materials and the installation of two dry wells that capture and infiltrate water back into the ground. To make the space more habitable for entertainment, a fence that captures the interplay of light was erected around the perimeter of the site and fused with a stone bench serving as seating for the garden.
Terrain Work’s Ageless Design Research project explores how landscape is vital to the mental and physical health for older adults and the ability to create environments for purposeful living. It also advocates for the integration of age friendly landscape design tactics that can bring about delight and foster purpose in life for all generations.
A pioneering scientific study demonstrating some of the health benefits of landscape was undertaken by Roger Ulrich in 1983. Ulrich found that patients whose rooms faced a courtyard of trees in a Pennsylvania hospital were admitted quicker, needed fewer strong pain doses, and recorded fewer negative comments than patients that faced a brick wall. More recently, Gregory Bratman and colleagues found that people taking a ninety minute walk in nature versus a ninety minute walk in urban conditions reported lower levels of rumination and showed reduced neural activity in an area of the brain linked to risk for mental illness. Benefits are not exclusive to exposure to nature, but gardening as cognitive therapy offers the potential to learn new skills, improve memory, attention, sense of responsibility, and improve self-esteem.
Terrain Work’s Ageless Design Research project explores ways to implement evidence based design in creative ways that go beyond a series of checklists to create environments that are immersive sensory experiences. Terrain Work has explored how landscapes can promote accessibility and autonomy, improve mobility while offering a sense of discovery and reward, activate the senses, and create landscape that facilitate social interaction.
The Academy in the Park was a finalist for an international competition led by Ennead Architects. The strategy for the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts (TAFA) hybridizes two fundamental landscape typologies, the campus and the park, cultivating a new landscape where the academy is also viewed as a civic expression of the city. This creates a host of new programmatic possibilities. For Tianjin residents the park is both a civic gathering space for the city, but also a tool to educate the public about the production and display of art. For the students of TAFA the strategy provides a broad canvas of possibilities that extends beyond institutional walls. On a district level the Tianjin Loop is proposed to unify the Fine Arts Academy with several cultural landmarks and create a new pedestrian bridge across the Hai River. Theodore Hoerr was Principal at Balmori while leading the design of this project. Images courtesy of Balmori & Ennead Architects.
Terrain Work created a master plan and design guidelines for a new 33 acre Ecotonal Community on the site of a former tree production nursery in Central Illinois. The community will be organized around the ecotones of several landscape types: Deciduous Hardwood Forest, Shortgrass Prairie, and Littoral. A central wildlife corridor creates a link for both species and residents to move between an adjacent hardwood forest and a shared open space surrounding a small lake. A water management plan for the community will capture and treat all runoff generated on the site through a network of bio-cells distributed throughout the community.
IOWA CITY, IOWA
After the floods of 2008 devistated a large portion of the Iowa River including the Art Campus at the University of Iowa, a master plan was created to reimagine the relationship between the river and its surrounding landscape. The plan implanted a three-pronged approach. The first was a “defensible” measure with the addition of a large earth form to protect building assets. The second and third were “soft” strategies that captured water from surrounding areas and infiltrated it back into the ground to reduce the amount of runoff deposited in the river. Finally, areas were created to invite the river into the landscape during flood events to increase the capacity of stormwater the river could handle. This strategy can be seen as a prototype for water management that if replicated on a regional level could manage increased flooding threats in the Iowa River corridor. Theodore Hoerr was Principal at Balmori while leading the design of this project. Images courtesy of Balmori.
The Ciudad Empresarial Sarmiento Angulo is an urban project in the heart of Bogota located adjacent to Calle 26, marking the midpoint between Bogota’s historic downtown and the International airport. As Bogota has rapidly developed along Calle 26, the city’s most important axis, The Ciudad Empresarial Sarmiento Angulo will emerge as Bogota’s preeminent cultural and commercial center. The landscape master plan for Ciudad Empresarial Sarmiento Angulo spans three blocks creating an integrated system of public space that will serve as a critical junction between three distinct areas of the city: The Parque Simon Bolivar to the North, The Centro Administrativo Nacional to the east, and the residential neighborhood to the west. Theodore Hoerr was Principal at Balmori while leading the design of this project. Images courtesy of Balmori.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
The Taystee Lab Building will become one of the citys first life science buildings that provides a key anchor to the one million square foot master-planned vision for the Manhattanville Factory District in West Harlem that will be a delicious addition to the community. The Taystee development will establish a new connection publicly accessible pedestrian connection from 125th Street to West 126th Street that will be one of the defining landscapes in the rapidly changing district. Working with Janus Property group and Leven Betts architects, the new vision for Taystee will reveal the sites geological history while creating a forward looking landscape that offers new opportunities for connectivity, outdoor gathering, and recreation for the whole community to enjoy.
LEBANON, NEW JERSEY
Set on a picturesque three acre site at the edge of a mature woodland in Lebanon, New Jersey, the Shifting Mosaic Garden will feature a series of cascading terraces down the hillside that act as an armature for raised vegetable and herb parterres while also providing access to an entertainment lawn area. A path will be circumscribed into the meadow and existing woodland areas to unify the property so that it can be enjoyed visually and experientially. Finally, a meadow of native plant species will serve as the underlying planting matrix for a large portion of the site. The meadow plants have been selected to attract a variety of New Jersey native birds and butterflies in addition to providing a striking visual backdrop of flowering meadow plants and grasses that change in texture and color from season to season and year to year.
JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY
Three distinct panels are unfolded on the site, and linked together by a central stone path to create this garden triptych for a brownstone from the late 1800’s. The first panel serves as a threshold, breakout space, and outdoor connection from the garden level to the parlor level via a spiral staircase. The intermediate panel is a gently sloping lush shade garden with Rhododendron, Hydrangea, Hosta, and punctuated by a Cornus kousa tree that envelops the space. The final panel creates a subtly raised plane for outdoor dining and quiet contemplation that visually links the herringbone pattern found in the interior parlor to the exterior garden. A semi-transparent fence frames the space providing support for vines to extend the garden into the third dimension
ROCKAWAYS, QUEENS, NEW YORK
Hurricane Sandy devastated many coastal areas in the NYC region. In particular, the Rockaways in Queens, New York, took the brunt of the storm. MoMA PS1 held an international open ideas competition for designers and artists to imagine a more resilient Rockaways. The scheme submitted by Balmori was one of the chosen winners. The entry addressed an observation that many inhabited coastal areas have flat beaches leaving the city and beachfront program exposed to violent storm events. Creating dunes would make these areas more resilient; however it could become an obstacle separating the community and activities from the coastal landscape. Occupy the Dune proposes this infrastructure be the center for civic activity, protecting the community while connecting it socially and ecologically. Theodore Hoerr led the design of this project while at Balmori. Images courtesy of Balmori.