Landscape in the City; Alternative Ways to Grow

Landscape design in a densely urban place is a unique proposition. As multidisciplinary storytellers, we use all our skills to inform our readers of place and environment. When we consider any new environment in our cities, we look for opportunities to integrate ecology and biophilia into architectural design. These five projects and design elements reflect our interest in integrating landscape and architecture, enriching the connection between the two disciplines, and blurring the boundaries between them. 

This year, Los Angeles is hosting the 2017 ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo from October 20-23. A full list of events we are participating in may be found at the bottom of this page.


GREEN WALL: The entry to the Center for Early Education is an emphatic statement for this West Hollywood school’s commitment to sustainability. The entry is just one part of the story; inside a cartoon graphic illustrates the history of West Hollywood as a former wetland and diagrams the path of 4,000 gallons of stormwater pumped from the center’s underground parking garage each day. Our sustainability master plan uses some of the storm water to irrigate walls planted with species from the Santa Monica Mountains and Pacific Coastal Zone visible from the rooftop play courts of the school.


BILLBOARD: The home of IAC, a Fortune 500 Company off the Sunset Strip, is screened by a billboard of local flora fed by water collection from the nearby hillside and underground aquifer. What was once a water management problem is now an integral solution, reclaiming 40,000 gallons of water per month to support planted surfaces that mimic the native hillside rising across the Boulevard. 


PATH: The landscape at the Resort in Playa Vista takes the form of a path that winds up, over, and through the building, alternating from occupiable and traversable to a planted roof.



SKY GARDEN: The rooftop meadow and trellis at the ROW DTLA marks the entry to the parking garage by wrapping down the building facade. A visit to the top of the garage presents a stark urban contrast: wild fields set against the city skyline.


TREEHOUSE: The design of Colorado Center in Santa Monica extends occupiable outdoor space into the planters where lush, mature trees reside, thereby creating a treehouse of sorts. Why look at the trees, when you can be in them?


This year, Los Angeles is hosting the 2017 ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo from October 20-23. Rios Clementi Hale Studios is proud to be involved with numerous field sessions and educational sessions happening around Los Angeles and at the conference venue. A full list of events we are participating in can be found below and full list of events can be found here.


Vibrant and Emerging Open Spaces in L.A.’s Eastside

Friday, October 20 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Field Session Leader(s)
Margot Jacobs, ASLA, Associate, Mia Lehrer + Associates

Field Session Co-Leader(s)
Nathaniel Cormier, Principal, RIOS CLEMENTI HALE STUDIOS

Field Session Presenter(s)
Marc Delouvrier, ASLA, Senior Landscape Architect AECOM
Tom Gibson, ASLA, Landscape Architect, City of Los Angeles/Department of Recreation and Parks

Experience new and historic public spaces within L.A.'s evolving Eastside, including Vista Hermosa Nature Park, Echo Park Lake, Silver Lake Reservoir, Sunset Plaza Triangle, and Griffith Park. Explore these public spaces that welcome and inspire interaction among long-term residents, newcomers, and visitors while catalyzing change in these burgeoning neighborhoods. 


Silicon Beach and the Planned Community of Playa Vista

Friday, October 20 | 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Field Session Leader(s)
Brent Jacobsen, ASLA, Senior Associate, Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Field Session Co-Leader(s)
Dillon Diers, ASLA, Principal, OJB Landscape Architecture

Field Session Presenter(s)
Naseema Asif, Architect, Senior Associate, Rios Clementi Hale Studios
Greg Kochanowski, AIA, Principal, Rios Clementi Hale Studios
Jennifer Zell, ASLA, Associate, AHBE Landscape Architects

Built on the site of the former Hughes Aircraft factory, the urban infill community of Playa Vista is the epicenter of “Silicon Beach”—a burgeoning creativity/technology hub. Experience diverse open spaces in the master-planned community and learn how aggressive sustainability goals and design commitment drew both industry and residents. 


Back to the Future: Seeking Sustainable Ideas at the Huntington Botanical Gardens

Friday, October 20 | 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Field Session Leader(s)
Katharine Rudnyk, Affiliate ASLA, Urban Horticulturalist, AHBE Landscape Architects

Field Session Co-Leader(s)
Jeremy Klemic, ASLA, Associate, PLA, ASLA, SWA Group
Elisa Read, Associate, Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Field Session Presenter(s)
James Folsom, Director of the Gardens, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
John Pearson, ASLA, Associate, Office of Cheryl Barton
Meghen Quinn, ASLA, Principal, The Office of Cheryl Burton
Bill Ropp, Principal, BrightView Landscapes, LLC

Explore how a world-renowned botanical collection has stayed relevant within the 21st Century.  This walking tour will showcase the new entryway to the park and the on-going expansion of the beloved Chinese and Japanese Gardens. Participants will go behind the scenes as well as experience a treasured orchid show.


Downtown L.A.: Cultural Spaces—Rebirth and Invention

Friday, October 20 | 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Field Session Leader(s)
Mark Rios, FASLA, FAIA, Partner, Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Field Session Co-Leader(s)
Michelle Sullivan, ASLA, Principal, Mia Lehrer + Associates

Field Session Presenter(s)
Walter Hood, ASLA, Founder, Creative Director, Hood Design Studio, Inc.
Mia Lehrer, FASLA, Founder and President, Mia Lehrer + Associates
Melinda Taylor, ASLA, Owner, Melinda Taylor and Associates

A renewed focus on the importance of landscape to our cultural institutions is under way in Los Angeles. These multivalent spaces often serve as both event venues and environmental learning labs in this particularly park-poor city. The importance of redefining campuses for unique missions and relevance will be discussed. 


Beyond Decoration: The Story of Water in Green Roof and Green Wall Design

Sunday, October 22 | 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Brent Jacobsen, ASLA, Senior Associate, Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Naseema Asif, Architect, Senior Associate, Rios Clementi Hale Studios
Paul Kephart, ASLA, CSLA, President, CEO, Principal Ecologist + Designer, Rana Creek Living Architecture

Benjamin Shepher, LEED AP, Director, Atelier Ten

Harnessing water infrastructure, both regional and building specific, planted surfaces contribute to environmental health, reduce operating costs, and provide a powerful expression of place. This seminar will demonstrate the risks and rewards of investing in planted surface solutions as techniques for planting infrastructure evolve to become expressive elements in environmental design.


Creative Friction: The Multidisciplinary Studio from a Landscape Perspective

Monday, October 23 | 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Simon David, ASLA, Senior Urban Designer/Landscape Architect, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group)

Caroline Braga, ASLA, Principal, Sasaki
Michelle Delk, ASLA, Partner / Discipline Director, Snøhetta
Samantha Harris, ASLA, LEED AP, Principal, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP, Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Our world is increasingly interconnected and interdependent. How can the scope, depth, and power of landscape be enhanced or diminished through the lens of multidisciplinary practice? This panel will explore different ways landscape principals at multidisciplinary design studios have found that daily interstudio collaboration both enhances and challenges their practice.


Between Lines: Landscape Architecture in Interdisciplinary Practice

Monday, October 23 | 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Kate Larsen, ASLA, AIA, Associate, Rogers Partners Architects+Urban Designers

Susannah Drake, FASLA, FAIA, Principal, DLANDstudio
Mark Rios, FASLA, FAIA, Partner, Rios Clementi Hale Studios
Rob Rogers, Partner, Rogers Partners Architects+Urban Designers

Landscape architecture is closely intertwined with other disciplines. Not only is close coordination with other trades necessary, but also many designers actively seek to bring an interdisciplinary approach to their work. This session creates a dialogue between three leading practitioners who design landscapes, each from a unique cross-disciplinary background.