At Stewart, we are fortunate to have a vast array of exceptional individual talent from each practice area. With the celebration of World Landscape Architecture Month, we recognize one of these exceptional talents, Terence Welles, Project Designer of Landscape Architecture.
Among his many accomplishments, Welles had the great honor of being featured in the March 2019 edition of Landscape Architecture Magazine. The feature highlighted a special event in which he was hand-selected to participate, the 10th Xtreme Landscape Architecture (XTLA) challenge, hosted by Landscape Forms, in partnership with The Landscape Foundation and Florida International University (FIU) in November 2018.
The 2018 XTLA challenge was a 36-hour think tank consisting of 15 landscape architects from various firms, as well as 16 Landscape Architecture graduate students from FIU, which pushed participants to create and design landscape solutions for a stretch of Miami Beach. Participants were split into teams under the tutelage of two well-respected landscape architects and professors, Roberto Rovira and Richard Hindle. “Being on a conceptual project team composed exclusively of landscape architects was a new experience for me. It allowed us to think about opportunities and solutions outside of the typical project constraints,” Welles said. The teams were instructed to accommodate for several factors and issues facing the area, including immediate and future climate change and severe inclement weather, cultural inclusivity, and the incorporation of site furniture concepts and educational opportunities.
In order to properly prepare for the challenge, the teams were treated to presentations by local businesses and educational leaders. In addition, participants were encouraged to thoroughly explore the area to deepen their understanding of the environmental and cultural impact. “Personally, these site visits and general exploration of the city have contributed to a greater and wider understanding of design in the urban environment, and I am a better designer because of it,” added Welles.
The climax of the challenge resulted in team presentations to the greater group, and interested members of the public, in which the participants shared their resourceful solutions for the area. Examples included dual-use installations such as a sculpture for stormwater treatment and a shaded pedestrian refuge for rainwater collection. “I was inspired by many of the solutions presented and will strive to include similar proactive design solutions, which promote sustainable development and climate change resiliency, within my own projects,” Welles concluded.
While the XTLA challenge demonstrated only conceptual ideas, the discussion developed within this charette and others alike will allow for the implementation of problem-solving measures with local, regional, and national impacts. Events like these not only provide protection for vulnerable areas, they inspire current and future landscape architects like Welles to be mindful of these aspects while continuing safe development in the future.
Stewart congratulates our own, Terence Welles, and the entire group of XTLA innovators, for accepting the challenge to brainstorm creative, sustainable designs for our changing planet. To learn more about the Xtreme Landscape Architecture challenge, click here.