Landscape Architecture is the creation of outdoor environments that complement architecture and harmonize with nature. Use of architectural materials, details, and proportions, in combination with regionally appropriate plant materials, are used as elements in the creation of functional and harmonious outdoor environments. Terrain is sculpted to create topographies that enhance architecture and spatial experience. Walls, trees, boulders and screens further articulate proportions. The sound, flow and lambent light of water move through passages and lie quiet in outdoor rooms. Compression and expansion create a linked sequence of spatial experience. Plant material colors and textures provide counterpoint to architecture. Light and shadow alternate to create rhythm and variety. Mystery, surprise, and whimsy, engage, beckon and direct. Architecture is extended into the landscape and landscape is blended into architecture.

FAUNTLEROY - This site was designed in collaboration with the architect and owner to demonstrate the power, mystery and magic of spatial and programmatic ambiguity. The journey from street to beach involves a series of framed views, borrowed scenery, the flow of water and a blending of architecture and landscape so seamless it is often difficult to tell if one is inside or outside. The winner of an AIA Honor Award in 2003, architect jurors Shigeru Ban of Tokyo and Brigitte Shim of Toronto said of this project: “The Fauntleroy Residence stands out as an instance of masterful design, an achievement of international stature...Seattle’s climate - mild, sometimes wet, sometimes dry –is welcomed with deep overhanging eaves and the patient sequencing of rooms alternately open and enclosed, covered and uncovered...A continuous stream engages the house along its northern edge, narrowing and then pooling in the way that people, moving through the house, flow or pause and then gather...a world class achievement.” Architect: George Suyama, Suyama Peterson Deguchi
FAIRWAY - This property is located within one of the oldest Golf and Country Clubs in the Pacific Northwest, a community of mature trees and pastoral vistas. Comparing notes following independent site visits, the architect and landscape architect reached identical conclusions – lower the existing grade and bring the golf course right into a central garden pavilion. In order to be sure that interior and exterior spaces were carefully integrated, the gardens on this project were designed simultaneously with the building. Interior and exterior terrace materials are identical, and oversized sliding and pivoting glass panels permit the seamless connection of interior and exterior space. Stair, wall, and casement elements were extended into the garden to create benches and architectonic topographies, separated only, at times, by glass. A three-part water feature appears to go through and beneath the building. When the panels are open it is often difficult to tell what is inside and what is outside.The house becomes the garden and the garden becomes the house.
ISLAND RETREAT - The goal of this project was to preserve and enhance the remarkable natural setting while avoiding the impression that anything had been landscaped. In studying the dip and strike (angle and direction) of adjacent bedrock outcrops, and poking through two to four feet of soil and construction gravel, it was determined that a glacial-polished bedrock shield lay beneath the overburden. This was removed to reveal an extraordinary bedrock ramp extending from parking area to poolside. Pockets in this ramp were then planted, and “glacial erratics” were placed upon its surface. Additional “glacial erratics” were placed around the buildings, on the terraces, and adjacent to pathways, in order to further tuck the buildings into the site and to gently direct circulation around the buildings. Several of these boulders, some in excess of twenty thousand pounds, were placed within inches of the buildings and under the eaves. A very limited palette of native plant materials – shore pine, vine maple, salal, and mosses gathered on site – were used, in conjunction with the creation of additional rock outcrops, scree fields, and rotting log mulch, to complete a landscape which appears to have changed very little since its emergence from the last ice age. Architect: Suyama Peterson Deguchi
PINE NEEDLE - Here Alchemie proposed a series of bold and simple strategies which transformed a traditional, compartmentalized and inward-oriented early-20th century house into a contemporary home which is connected seamlessly to its new gardens. The first move was to remove the rockery slope concealing the basement, exposing it to southern light and city views. This permitted the installation of a cantilevered balcony from the former living room, and expanded glass windows on both floors, with the former basement, now the Garden Room, opening onto a new outdoor terrace at grade. The construction of a dramatic fin wall, and fjord-like water bar, allowed us to peel back the western edge of the living room floor, and to insert a two-story window beginning at the water bar and ending at the historic brick arch of a former window. The reflected lambent light of water in this man-made canyon penetrates deep into the house at certain times of the day and night. Even the soaking tub and shower stall in the Master Suite were designed as a part of the exterior water feature Spring Box, erasing the boundary between interior and exterior space.
PLEASURE POINT - On this site a series of interconnected outdoor rooms were created using shotcrete walls and planters, enormous boulders, and a water feature leading from the entry gate to the front door with views of the lake beyond. The interior terrazzo floors of the building were extended into the gardens using the architectural modules. The shotcrete bases of the buildings were extended into the landscape to create retaining walls, planters, and privacy screens. The result is a series of architectonic outdoor rooms of different scales and microclimates that blend seamlessly with the buildings. As one moves through the garden a series of surprises are encountered: a water runnel, a water fall, stone steps leading into the lake, a new cove carved from the lake shore and clad in granite boulders, stone benches, an outdoor fire place, and a floating platform concealing a hot tub. At each turn a new outdoor space and an unanticipated element presents itself. When looking through the glass pavilion of the main house, it is often difficult to tell what is inside and what is outside. Architect: Tom Kundig, Olson Sundberg
LAKE HOUSE - For this project, a Master Plan was developed which linked two disparate residential buildings, one new and one remodeled, into a unified, private, lakeshore compound. A steep hillside, limited vehicular access, and the long narrow nature of the site added to the challenge. Following a series of site analyses, a strategy was developed to receive and park vehicles along an alley way with turnarounds at each end. Three pedestrian entry ways were created off this alleyway, delineated by carefully placed garden walls. Upon entering each pedestrian zone, one is surprised by the sound and presence of water, woven between the garden walls and buildings. The lake itself is then revealed beyond a grand lawn. A series of terraces, and a pool, were developed to connect exterior spaces to the lakeshore. Architect: Stan Hansen, Stillwell Hanson
PRIVATE RESORT - This exceptionally large lot contains two distinct habitats. The design team was commissioned to develop a Master Plan which linked these areas, while providing a variety of indoor and outdoor living environments. Following an analysis of sun, wind, and shadow patterns throughout the year, a series of interconnected gardens and covered pavilions were developed on the upper site. The program includes a secret Tea House Garden, an outdoor fireplace with integrated topographic seating, a floating outdoor dinning area, swimming pool, cabana, and dock. Many of these settings can be tuned with the season, opening or closing according to the weather, and offering a range of micro-climates, scales, and settings. A renovated staircase and new aerial tram lead to a restored lakeshore woodland which feels miles from the upper site. In time, this area will appear to have remained little-changed for centuries. Architect: Eric Cobb, E. Cobb Architects
LABYRINTH - Here, house and garden are developed as an integrated series of architectonic walls and planes, architectural materials expand into the garden and landscape surfaces extend into the house. After traveling through a labyrinth of intimate and private outdoor spaces, one opens the front door of the house, to reveal the unobstructed panorama of Elliott Bay and the City of Seattle. Using the ancient Japanese principle of borrowed scenery, shakkei, middle-ground views of adjacent houses, streets, and rooftops are eliminated. In this way, more distant landscape elements from the park and neighborhood trees are “borrowed” to become part of this house and garden. The journey from street to house presents a series of unanticipated experiences involving the sound of water, changes of grade and direction, spatial compression and expansion, and contrasting textures and materials. The result, in a dense urban neighborhood, is remarkable privacy. Architect: George Suyama, Suyama Peterson Deguchi
INSIDE OUT - The artful manipulation of solids and voids on this site create a variety of micro-climates and indoor – outdoor connections around the house on each of its four levels. A limited palette of materials compliment the bold and sophisticated volumetric moves, knitting the composition together across the site. Native shore pines and garden walls screen adjacent buildings while maximizing views of the sky, the lake, and neighboring tree tops. A coordinated exterior and interior lighting system allows the scale and ambience of many of the gardens and their adjacent rooms to be adjusted dramatically to suit the occasion or the weather. The result is an environment for living which looks much smaller than it is, and provides an interconnected series of settings from the intimate to the dramatic. Architect: Eric Cobb, E. Cobb Architects
BOULDER MOUNTAIN - This property lies at the base of the Boulder Mountains in central Idaho. The original house had been placed on the knoll by cutting a pad into the hillside – a move which disconnected it from its mountainside setting and offered little outdoor living area. In order to reconnect the building to the hillside during this major remodel, new stone walls were designed to provide exterior living spaces at a variety of scales and micro-climates. These walls also serve to frame, direct, and screen views, while providing combinations of sun, shade, wind protection and shelter. Though decks terraces, water features and a lawn are visible from one another, access requires one to re-engage the building, providing a continuous weave of interior and exterior space. More than 200 Spruce and Aspen trees were planted to further screen the house from adjacent properties and the highway below. Architect: Mark Pynn
ARBORETUM - This project involved the dramatic transformation of an innocuous 1950’s “ranch burger” into a contemporary garden pavilion; connections with adjacent exterior spaces were created and enhanced at every opportunity. An existing rockery and second-story entry were removed and replaced by a street-level entry courtyard. The property is detached from its suburban context with the use of architectural concrete garden walls, boulder fields, and a bosque of Globe Maple trees. Dark terrazzo floors, high garden walls, deep light wells, and the maple grove form intimate shadows on the ground floor and lower garden. Illuminated pools in the upper and lower courtyards bounce lambent light off garden walls on rainy nights, and the scent of wooly thyme hangs in the air while crossing courtyard pavers on summer afternoons. The placement of windows, garden walls and trees was carefully orchestrated to borrow scenery from adjacent gardens and the Arboretum, while concealing adjacent houses and streets; the result is an oasis in the city.
STAIRCASE STUDY - On this site there were two challenges of particular interest: how does one provide a viable pedestrian connection on a 30 percent slope 350 feet in length, and how can functional outdoor rooms be developed on such a steep and narrow site? And in doing so, how does one make these things not only functional, but interesting, even delightful? Significant geotechnical stabilization issues, and a history of landslides, added to the puzzle. The solution was to bench the site using soldier pile walls. Resulting terraces became floor levels for portions of each building and its courtyards. The pile walls were covered with structural concrete to form exterior garden walls – a series of digital cliffs, hanging gardens, and man-made canyons. These gardens are then connected to one another using a series of unexpected, and dramatic staircases. Architect: Hutchison Maul Architecture
HIDE N SEEK - On this exceptionally steep site, a series of architectonic cliffs and terraces were created. Water is used to provide direction, continuity, and ambience as one descends into the site. A system of stairs, landings, bridges, and cantilevered platforms provides access to a sequence of surprising spatial experiences of varying scales and orientations. All outdoor rooms include the sight or sound of water, and spaces are designed to connect with one another in accordance with the requirements of season, time of day, and the number of people involved. A party for two hundred, a sunset dinner for two, or a game of hide ‘n seek –all can be accommodated in spaces of appropriate scale. Architect: Tom Kundig, Olson Sundgerg