New Residential Design Competition: Suburbia Transformed

Suburbia Transformed 3.0, a new residential landscape design competition sponsored by the James Rose Center for Landscape Architectural Research and Design, aims to identify new residential works that “go beyond ‘green’ to address the aesthetic quality of human experience.” The goal is to show how “such sustainable landscapes can be beautiful, inspiring, perhaps profound; and serve as examples for transforming the suburban residential fabric, one garden at a time.”

The organizers seek both “built and visionary (unbuilt) residential landscapes” from both professionals and students. While there are no monetary prizes offered, winners will become part of a publication and traveling exhibition.

According to the James Rose Center, “James Rose is remembered as one of three Harvard students who rebelled against their Beaux Arts training in the 1930s, helping to usher landscape architecture—kicking and screaming—into the modern era. Yet somewhere after Harvard and well into the real world, Rose lost faith in the modern planning and design professions he had helped to inspire. By the mid 1950s, he had retreated from public practice and spent most of the latter part of his career designing private gardens that were in direct contrast to the environmental excess and cultural banality of the emerging contemporary post-WWII suburb.”

Rose called his private gardens, which were made with found objects, recycled materials, and native plants, “space-sculptures-with-shelters.” His novel approach had a purpose: to merge a “conservation ethic into a modern design aesthetic.” Rose’s point was that a place needed to be beautiful in order to be sustained (and sustainable).

To succeed in this competition, which is based on Rose’s philosophy, designers will need to:

  • “Make the most of what’s already on the site (earth, rocks, plants, structures, water) before importing or removing anything.
  • Use local, inexpensive, low-energy-consumptive, non-polluting materials and construction techniques before others.
  • Consider the landscape’s potential to create useful resources rather than consume them.
  • Consider the relationship of the site to larger environmental systems.
  • Consider means for guiding future growth and evolution of the garden.”

The competition is open to landscape architects, landscape designers, architects, individuals, teams or firms. Students will be considered in a separate category.

The high-profile jury of landscape architects include: Andrea Cochran FASLA, Principal, Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture; Tobiah Horton, LEED AP, Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; David Kamp, FASLA, LF, NA, Dirtworks; Keith LeBlanc, FASLA, Keith LeBlanc Landscape Architecture, Inc.; and Darrel Morrison, FASLA, Ecological Landscape Design and Management.

Entry forms are due by February 18, 2014, with submissions due by March 20. To submit, the fee for professionals is $115 and $50 for students.

Check out previous winners, too.

Image credit: Suburbia Transformed 2.0 winner / James Rose Center

2 thoughts on “New Residential Design Competition: Suburbia Transformed

  1. Ernest Wertheim ASLA 08/27/2013 / 2:37 pm

    The conditions listed for this design do not consider the client and their wishes. Our tastes are often influenced by the environment we grew up in. Many refugees in this country bring with them experiences from their years in the old country. I think all the points you list are important but I want my clients to be happy with what I design and not force on them something they may not understand.

  2. Ava 05/11/2014 / 8:26 pm

    Once you full understand the consequences of this type of building, you will see you have a moral a obligation to lead your clients in a different direction or let someone else build it. There are more important things in this world than money. If architects educated the client, they may change their mind. Many people do not think about it at all.

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