URBS in Horto – City in a Garden
The APLD International Landscape Design Conference was held in Chicago, IL, July 21-July 25, 2022, and I had the glorious opportunity to attend. I spent time with and around, amazing talent, enjoyed tantalizing gardens and most importantly, soaked in the company of my friends, many of whom I had not seen since they joined us in July 2019 for the Seattle APLD Conference.
Deep dish pizza, Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House and, lots of hugs marked our first day in Chicago, and I say 'we' because I was gratefully traveling again with my 'Chief of Staff' and bestie, Katie Weber CPLD. Soon though, both of us would be meeting many new friends as more than 50% of attendees were first timers and members of the APLD Virtual Chapter, coming from all over the United States.
Left: Katie Weber CPLD and Lisa Port CPLD in Chicago. Right: Group photo before pizza, L-R: Past-President Danilo Maffei CPLD, Board member Katie Weber CPLD, Jen Niziolek with Vectorworks, APLD President Eric Gilbey PLA, President Elect Richard Rosiello, Past President Lisa Port CPLD
Left: Margie Grace CPLD and APLDWA President Sue Goetz. Right: Katie Weber CPLD and Susie Thompson CPLD both APLDWA Chapter members at the Opening night reception, #apld22 #apldchicago
Chicago architecture, stone doorway
Chicago skyline with the St. Regis Hotel tower (third tallest structure in Chicago, designed by architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang in Chicago
I am heavily influenced by architecture and architectural design principles and was enthralled with the exposure to several high-rise buildings and plazas that I learned about back in college architecture classes. Chicago is a hotbed of structural design motifs, styles, technically-challenged solutions, and design for the ages. I was in heaven on the 90-minute Architectural River Cruise I did with Katie, craning our necks upward, receiving a firehose of historic and current day information all along the river front. Highly recommended!
Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Robie House
Dine Around evening at the Italian restaurant, with several APLDWA members in this shot; Claire Lidell Hanna, Lisa Port CPLD, Susan Ryan CPLD, and Tom Lawson
Enjoying APLD networking with members from all over the US and the Dominican Republic
The third tallest high-rise in Chicago, the St. Regis Hotel, was designed by female architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang. I was enthralled by the structure, the colors, and the plaza at the tower base. The tower serves as a 'porous connector' as opposed to a barrier, for pedestrian travel at the street level. Care was taken to create connection from the public Riverwalk pathway to the public park on the other side of the building. It stood out to me from wherever I was in the city. Creating connections, not barriers is a theme I can employ in my practice.
Craig Bergmann home and office tour
Generally, speakers educate attendees on day one of the conference, and this year was no joke. We laughed in the morning with the wit and wisdom of keynote speaker, award-winning APLD landscape designer Margie Grace CPLD, with Grace Design Associates, as she cycled us through her gorgeous and inspiring images of projects with the 'Art of Outdoor Living'. Her inspiration comes up regularly in my work. Swoon.
Craig Bergmann RLA, with Craig Bergmann Landscape Design, presented an engaging talk sharing imagery of his award-winning gardens and humorous moments. We followed up his words with a tour of his home and studio garden on Saturday, where there was just not enough time to see all the outdoor rooms, plant combinations, sculptures, and whimsical moments in his garden. Landscape design is a journey, and his garden is full of mystery, whimsey, sustenance and, passion. Again, more experiences and words to inspire me!
Gardens of Craig Bergmann RLA
Lisa Port CPLD, APLD Executive Director, Denise Calabrese, and Katie Weber CPLD
Left: Garden greenhouse of Craig Bergmann. Right: Garden of Craig Bergmann
Katie Weber CPLD and some matching daylilies-who's matching whom?
Welcome new APLDWA member Clair Lidell Hanna!
Friday afternoon was filled with more talks about biodiversity expressed through wild planting combinations, technical business solutions, and ecological restoration practices. At least we all stayed cool in the hotel with AC!
Flower border at the garden of Craig Bergmann
Over the next few days, the group of 100 or so attendees visited several residential and public gardens, including the Chicago Botanical Garden and Lurie Garden at Millennium Park, to learn and grow our professional exposure to landscape design. I cannot express enough how the two garden tour days have influenced my design practice after I am back in Seattle. If I see one new idea, hear one tip from another designer, or even identify one new plant combination that I can utilize when I come back to my practice, the expense of a conference is easily justified. While we have a great time on the bus, getting out, walking the sites, taking copious photos, asking 'What's that plant?', 'What app are you using?' and 'How did they do that???', can turn into a wealth of information shared amongst colleagues that carry us well into future months.
Left: Edible gardens, obelisk, and bean teepees in a food garden. Right: Front door with Boston ivy and colorful containers
Garden lounging under the massive oak tree, beating the heat!
Extra-curricular night out to the Navy Pier to eat ice cream and watch fireworks; L-R, Jock Lewendon CPLD, Viktoria Prudnikova, Katie Weber CPLD, Danilo Maffei CPLD, Gordan Ngo, Lisa Port CPLD, Richard Rosiello
Dan Kiley's mid-century allée at the Chicago Botanical Garden
Susie Thompson CPLD, Katie Weber CPLD and Chapter President Sue Goetz at the Chicago Botanical Gardens
Flower border at the Chicago Botanical Gardens
Café seating and pots at the Chicago Botanical Gardens, Herb and Vegetable garden
Fields of flowers including these Echinacea, and copious pollinators at the Lurie Garden meadow, the ‘shoulder hedge' and the city skyline beyond
Prairie style meadow, and biodiverse and ecologically sensitive ‘wild' plantings, surrounding the Field Museum
The ‘Bean' aka Cloud Gate sculpture, at Millennium Park, an attraction that hosts millions of visitors trying to find themselves in the reflective surface each year.
The grace, beauty, and meditative quality of a good plaza; here with the Mies Van der Rohe-designed Federal building and Calder's Flamingo
Our Farewell Reception landed us on the 99th floor of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower, 1451' tall and currently the tallest building in Chicago at 110 stories). We celebrated the long weekend, took in the amazing vistas, and enjoyed the Chicago skyline, yummy hors d'oeuvres and sunset through the clouds. I met several new designers and conference attendees last week, including new APLDWA member Claire Lidell Hanna, (welcome Claire!) while spending valuable, quality time with all my APLD friends and staff. I have missed this in person event for years now and I cannot recommend it enough. My cup is overflowing.
Left: Willis Tower, aka the Sears Tower, 99th floor out of 110, where we had our Farewell Reception dinner. Right: The view from the 99th floor of the Willis Tower, looking east towards Millennium Park and Lake Michigan
Despite a two year 'virtual gap', the in person APLD 2022 Chicago Landscape Design Conference did not disappoint, and if anything enlivened my current practice mojo to keep pushing limits, creating beautiful aesthetics, and challenging ecological norms. Thank you APLD!
Congratulations APLDWA Member Robin Parsons
Shout out to APLDWA chapter member Robin Parsons, who received an APLD Silver Award for her Palm Avenue Contemporary project in West Seattle. This award was presented to Robin at the 2022 APLD Conference in Chicago last month, in front of a live audience. Congratulations Robin!
Slideshow image of Robin’s award-winning project in West Seattle
Robin Parsons accepting her Silver Award plaque from APLD President Eric Gilbey