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Announcing the Design Futurist Student Award Winners

Articles: Announcing the Design Futurist Student Award Winners

Fall 2023

The Design Futurist Student Competition centered on designs that could revitalize the landscape surrounding Coit Tower in San Francisco’s Pioneer Park. The San Francisco landmark has suffered a lack of maintenance and stewardship over the years. Pacific Horticulture invited student designers to re-envision the landscape around the tower to better support the region’s ecosystem, climate resilience, and human health.

The Friends of Pioneer Park Project, a citizen volunteer group focused on improving and maintaining Coit Tower’s landscape, seeks to update the once-elegant gardens surrounding the tower and along the park’s trails and green spaces. Students submitted planting plans that celebrated the unique character of the site and highlighted the climate, topography, and flora of the region at an intimate scale. 

A jury of highly experienced landscape designers and landscape architects awarded Top Prize and Honors based on the core themes of Growing for Biodiversity, Drought and Fire Resilience, Nature is Good for You, Garden Futurist, and Sustainable Gardening. Both Top Prize student design winners honored the sense of place in Pioneer Park while keeping current conditions in mind.

TOP PRIZE WINNER

Migrating Mosaics

University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Sarah Chu, Chris Copeland, Liz Forelle, Matt Jernigan—University of Washington, Department of Landscape Architecture

Chosen Theme(s): Growing for Biodiversity, Drought and Fire Resilience, Nature is Good for You, Garden Futurist, Sustainable Gardening

Migrating Mosaics Site Plan. Credit: University of Washington, Dept. of Landscape Architecture

This design wove evocations of historic ecosystems oak woodland, California grasslands, and chaparral into a living “mosaic.” Yet the designers didn’t limit themselves to historic plants, preferring a more agile, experimental approach. “The environmental mosaic of California is shifting to the north, which has many different effects. We have included species from as far south as Baja. If historically native species are no longer suited for this climate, these garden beds will be experiments in how to create climate adapted ecologies for the future. In other words, our planting design looks to the past to show the ecologies that made California what it is today and looks to the future to understand how we can make it healthier for the next generation,” the designers noted.

Judges appreciated both the design’s forward-thinking approach, that it considered maintenance strategy, and how well it acknowledged the site terrain.

PRIZES

The Garden Futurist Student Award Top Prize winner will be featured in a headline Pacific Horticulture article and will receive the following: 

  1. A $350 cash award
  2. Use of the Design Futurist winning mark on digital and print collateral
  3. Garden pottery from Eye of the Day Garden Design Center
  4. Books from our publisher partners Heyday, Island Press, Pacific Street Press, and Filbert Press

HONORS WINNER

Pioneer Park Planting Redesign

Merritt College, Oakland, CA

Regina Carter, Paul Carey—Merritt College

Chosen Theme(s): Growing for Biodiversity and Drought & Fire Resilience

Pioneer Park Planting Redesign Site Plan. Credit: Merritt College Oakland

This water-wise design conceived an art installation made of cypress timbers for the existing roundabout, replacing exotic plants where appropriate with native plants suitable for Telegraph Hill. The approach takes inspiration from the Art Deco architecture and history of the site and merges it with forward-looking landscaping strategies.

Judges complimented the design’s understanding of the site conditions and future management needs, as well as how it complemented the architecture. “An in-depth study of the location, its cultural importance, and environmental conditions. Design solutions consider both man and culture, nature and its interconnected ecosystems. Well-thought-out, balanced design.”

PRIZES

The Garden Futurist Student Award Honors winner will be featured in a headline Pacific Horticulture article and will receive the following: 

  1. A $150 cash award
  2. Use of the Design Futurist winning mark on digital and print collateral
  3. Books from our publisher partners Heyday, Island Press, Pacific Street Press, and Filbert Press

2023 Design Futurist Student Award Jury

Linda Jewell

Emeritus professor of landscape architecture at UC Berkeley, and partner of Freeman & Jewell landscape architecture.  

Martin Carrion van Rijn

Principle of Landscape Symphonies, California Chapter President of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) 

Caitilin Pope Daum

Principal Owner Studio Wild, Climate Action Committee Chair American Society of Landscape Architects Oregon in 2003.

Jeff Peterson

Landscape architect with Fischer Bouma Partnership, Bainbridge Island, WA 

Susan Herrington

Professor, Landscape Architecture Program, School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture, The University of British Columbia.

Vaughn Rinner

Landscape architect, Seattle, WA, Past President and Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, first Chair of the ASLA Climate Action Committee 

STAY TUNED!

For deep design dives exploring the secrets behind the winning designs, Pacific Horticulture members will be treated to in-depth looks at the award-winning gardens in the months to come, with plenty of photographic eye candy and plant lists for inspiration.

Our Design Futurist Sponsors

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