Award-winning student work
Potomac River design
Allison Thurmond of Alexandria, Va., a senior Master of Landscape Architecture student, won a National Student Honor Award in the General Design Category from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) for her design “Reconciling Purity and Nature: A Bathing Pool for Daingerfield Island."
Her design, which reinterprets a swimming hole using ecological processes and ancient hydrologic techniques, emerged as a response to a studio program for an aquatic center, led by Associate Professor Paul Kelsch at the Virginia Tech Washington Alexandria Architecture Center.
“Reconciling Purity and Nature: A Bathing Pool for Daingerfield Island" uses ecological processes coupled with an elegant use of ancient, low-tech hydraulics to purify the polluted water of the Potomac River for use in a bathing pool set amidst a restored natural forest. This project demonstrates the potential for restoring a degraded landscape for use by urban dwellers without overly civilizing nature.
James River project
Christina Hicks of Stafford, Va., a fifth-year landscape architecture student, was named the Honor Winner of the 2009 James River Green Building Council's (JRGBC) Green Spaces Competition in the student division. The James River Green Building Council, organized in 2001, hosts an annual competition with two categories — one for professional firms and another for students.
Hicks received one of the two awards from the students division and will advance from the regional competition to Phoenix, Ariz., for the national competition. Her project, Fulton Culture Park, focuses on creating a greenway that connects the Fulton Culture Park in Richmond, Va., to the city’s larger network of parks. The greenway will also serve as a connector to an access point to the James River from the Fulton Gas Works site.
Improvements to the location would include renovating the existing Gas Works building into an art gallery, eliminating old maintenance buildings to make room for playground areas, and repurposing the location of two old gasometers for an amphitheatre stage and entry plaza. Hicks’s plan also calls for the utilization of phytoremediation on the site to treat the soils that have been polluted for decades by the coal gasification process.