Peter Flinker named ASLA Fellow

Peter Flinker is among 23 ASLA members who have been elevated to the ASLA Council of Fellows for 2017. This is one of the highest honors in the profession of landscape architecture. Peter’s nomination recognizes his career spent establishing a central role for landscape architects in policy planning, smart growth, and sustainable design. A full description of Peter’s Fellowship is in the link below. Congratulations Peter!

Plains Elementary School wins WM AIA Award

Plains Elementary School completed construction, opened for classes, and has received a Merit Award from the Western Massachusetts Chapter of the American Society of Architects. Design of this pre-K through 1st grade school in the town of South Hadley was led by Jones Whitsett Architects, with landscape architecture by Dodson & Flinker.

The design team sited the new building at the edge of the site to protect the edge of woods and existing terrain, while maximizing solar gain. The landscape design incorporates the surrounding woods and landform into a nature playground, and uses stormwater as an educational element through a system of rain gardens, bioswales, and a cistern. The playground is fully accessible and addresses a full range of types of play from embankment slides, forts, sandboxes, sensory gardens, labyrinth, swings, covered play, tricycle loop, raised planting beds,  an outdoor classroom, stage, seating areas, climbing logs, and net structures.


East Hampton Hamlets Study

Residents of East Hampton, Long Island recently participated in a series of charrettes led by Dodson & Flinker as part of the East Hampton Hamlets Study. Each hamlet had two days of site tours, discussions, and interactive workshops which included mapping and physical modelling. Residents came together to share concerns, identify opportunities, and envision how the hamlets’ commercial centers can face their unique challenges while maintaining or improving their distinctive character. The workshops focused on physical planning strategies for the challenges posed by rapidly rising property values, traffic congestion, walkability, and how the commercial centers can better serve residents. The team conducted charrettes in Springs, Wainscott, East Hampton Hamlet, and Amagansett, and will hold charrettes in Montauk in September.

Wenjie Liu Joins Dodson & Flinker

Dodson & Flinker welcomes Wenjie Liu as our newest Associate.  Wenjie finished her Master’s of Landscape Architecture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in May.  Prior to coming to the U.S., she earned a Bachelor’s degree of landscape gardening from Huazhong Agriculture University. She also worked as an intern at Tierra Design, Singapore, working on residential and urban design projects around Southeast Asia.

Wenjie’s master’s project focused on the revitalization of downtown Chicopee, MA, through innovative streetscape design and land use development strategies aimed at drawing people to downtown.  Wenjie also served as a teaching assistant at UMass, developing several workshops on Arc GIS and Adobe Creative Suite.
Wenjie brings her inquisitiveness and broad skillset to Dodson & Flinker. She looks forward to working toward professional licensure while contributing to our design portfolio.

Dan Shaw Joins Dodson & Flinker

Dodson & Flinker welcomes Dan Shaw as an associate landscape designer. Prior to joining us, Dan was a designer at J.A. Brennan Associates in Seattle, where his work on urban waterfronts integrated public space and ecological restoration in projects throughout the Pacific Northwest. He brings to Dodson & Flinker skills in collaborative design, construction documentation, graphic production, and interdisciplinary coordination.

Dan received a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington in 2012 and a Bachelor’s in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts in 2009. He also has experience as a teacher and guest reviewer of landscape architecture. Dan’s graduate and undergraduate work focused on landscape as ecological infrastructure, hoping to address challenges of climate change and urbanization in the next century. His studio work occurred in New England, Seattle, Peru, Italy, Scandinavia, Japan, and Central America, and earned two Honor Awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects. On the side, Dan creates artistic explorations of music and landscape as analogues of each other.

Plains Elementary School Landscape Taking Shape

Plains Elementary School is set to welcome students to a new building for the fall 2015 semester.  D&F designed the surrounding landscape and “nature play” area on a team led by Jones Whitsett Architects.  We have been busy in 2014 and 2015 working with the construction team, led by Fontaine Brothers, inc., as they build the school and install the landscape elements.  As August comes to an end, the landscape is truly beginning to take shape:  plantings, sculptural landforms, and site furniture around the school are being installed.  Over the next year, the old school will be demolished and parking areas, storm-water management features, and a new ballfield will be constructed.

Hannigan Elementary School Begins Design Development

Working with a design team led by T2 architects, D&F has been working with the Town of New Bedford to explore options for a replacement to John Hannigan Elementary School.  The school currently operates out of a marine science center since their existing school building suffers from serious accessibility and structural problems.   Potential landscape options include a roof-top fabrication lab, an “aquatic-themed” play area, outdoor classrooms, community gardens, and an educational rain garden.  D&F is excited to begin design development on this project this fall.

D&F Coastal Resilience Projects

In 2015, D&F has had the opportunity to work with a number of local governments and non-profits to improve the resilience and accessibility of southeastern Massachusetts’ coastal landscape.  With sea levels rising and coastal population centers throughout New England continuing to feel the pressure to grow, the need has never been greater for planning and design that recognizes and responds to the complex processes and interests at work shaping our coasts.

Town Beach Feeder Beach: D&F, with a design team led by Stephen Kelleher Architects, has been working to develop a design for beach access and nourishment in Swansea, MA.  We are particularly excited about our proposed beach nourishment strategy, a “feeder beach” which will rely on shoreline processes to distribute sand along the beach, minimizing the need for costly and damaging bulldozers near the constructed dunes and beach.

Knubble Dune: In spring/summer 2015, D&F worked with CLE engineering and Buzzards Bay Coalition to generate ideas for how to improve access and resilience of a dune area adjacent to a point of rocks in Westport, MA, known as the Knubble.  We developed a series of illustrations to help the project team and town visualize alternatives that sand fill and additional dune plantings with pedestrian and light vehicle access.

New Bedford Form-Based Code Charrette

In July 2015, D&F helped lead a week-long design charrette in New Bedford, MA, with Brovitz Community Planning and Design and the Principle Group.  The “New Bedford New Design” charrette focused on three areas: Downtown, Acushnet Avenue International Marketplace, and Goulart Square. This charrette was a major element of an on-going project to revise local zoning so that it guides and supports contextually-sensitive development.  This form-based approach divides the project area into character districts and provides specific recommendations and criteria for new buildings within these areas.

Farmington Center Visioning

Over a period of three days in March, several hundred Farmington residents participated in a charrette led by Dodson & Flinker and Mullin Associates.  Through a series of activities, including site visits, mapping, discussion, and physical modeling, participants helped brainstorm goals and strategies for shaping the future of Farmington Center. The discussion focused on how to overcome challenges presented by a state highway bisecting the Center and on-going development pressure.  The workshops provided an important step toward helping the Town create a vision for a vibrant, prosperous, walkable town center.

Minuteman Crossing Wins WMAIA Honor Award

On Thursday, Dodson & Flinker, Inc. was pleased to accept an Honor Award from the Western Massachusetts chapter of The American Institute of Architects for the Minuteman Crossing plaza at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The Minuteman Crossing design provides universal access and seating around a statue of a Minuteman, the symbol of the University.  The statue previously stood remotely—and largely ignored—on a small knoll near a busy pedestrian crossroads in the center of the UMass campus on the west side of campus road.  D&F connected the statue to the existing pedestrian routes through a friendly yet dignified, whimsical and sometimes enigmatic pedestrian plaza built by hand by local contractors using local Ashfield schist.

The design began with preliminary concept plans developed by local artist John Senderlbach.  The team then refined and transformed these concepts in consultation with Campus Planning Staff and the Class of ’56 Advisory committee, who raised funds to help finance the project.

WMAIA jurors praised the “excellent resolution of the site issues, pedestrian circulation, and excellent execution and use of materials…”.  Other members of the project team included sponsor Scotty Donald (UMass Class of ’56), stone mason Arturio Diaz (Mass West Construction), and project manager Bruce Thomas.

Deb Tacy joins D&F as office manager

Deb Tacy recently joined D&F as office manager.  A 35-year native of Ashfield, MA, Deb returned to school at age 38 to pursue a degree in accounting and certification in tax preparation. Deb is also a 2005 graduate of New York Institute of Photography, and her work has been published in Smithsonian magazine.  She has been a “working professional on the side” for many years.

From Deb:  “Though I have many interests, my love of life centers around family, photography, and my sculptures.  I tell people I am an accountant by day and an artist by night.”

Under Construction: Plains Elementary School, South Hadley, MA

The groundbreaking ceremony was well attended last week for Plains Elementary School, a new public elementary school in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Dodson & Flinker collaborated with Jones Whitsett Architects on the school design. Among other features, the nature/adventure play area at the new school will include new paths through a stand of preserved pine trees, a rainwater cistern and runnel operable by schoolteachers, a raingarden, an embankment slide, a stump scramble, and a labrynth. Dodson & Flinker will be working closely with the landscape and site contractors over the next year on the landscape. The school is scheduled to open in fall of 2015.

Nate Burgess wins 2014 Surburbia Transformed Visionary Project Award

A project by Associate Nathan Burgess has won the “Visionary Project” award from the Suburbia Transformed 3.0 Design Competition.  Nathan’s project, “Mobilizing Community:  A Residential Model for Rising Seas,” explores how a community on a Virginia barrier island could harness natural barrier island migration processes.  The project began with his graduate design thesis at the University of Virginia.  The work will be on display at the James Rose Center in Ridgewood, NJ, through August 2014.

On the Boards: Thousand Islands Regional Assessment

Harry Dodson and Nate Burgess returned from a successful week of public meetings and fieldwork in the Thousand Islands region of New York.  The Thousand Island region is hoping to become designated as a New York State Scenic Area of Statewide Significance (SASS). Dodson & Flinker, Inc., is helping the process by working with local stakeholders to formally evaluate the scenic resources and character of the area.

The project has a special significance for Harry Dodson, who spent part of his childhood boating around the Thousand Islands from his family home in Morristown, NY.

Harry Dodson Talks Urban River Restoration in Shaoxing, China

Harry Dodson just returned from a conference in Shaoxing, China, where he gave a presentation and worked with a group of Chinese and American professionals and academics to help generate ideas about urban river restoration in the city.  The conference was sponsored by the city of Shaoxing and Tsinghua University.  In addition to lectures and discussion, attendees visited various sites in the field to discuss remediation, reconstruction, land use and urban design.

Nate Burgess Receives CELA Outstanding Paper Award

At the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) 2014 conference, Associate Nate Burgess was recognized along with three collaborators from the University of Virginia for submitting the “Outstanding Paper” to CELA’s new peer-reviewed journal, Landscape Research Record.  Their 2013 paper New Beach Designs as Urban Adaptation to Sea Level Rise,” explored the possibility of replacing traditional beach nourishment in Virginia Beach, VA, with a large-scale feeder beach like the Dutch Zandmotor.  This research also was featured in a recent article in Landscape Architecture magazine.

Turners Falls Livability Plan Receives Award from the American Planning Association-MA Chapter

Dodson & Flinker led a team that included Howard/Stein-Hudson and Dietz & Company Architects in the development of the Downtown Turners Falls Livability Plan, which received a Planning Award from the American Planning Association – Massachusetts Chapter (APA-MA). The Plan has been endorsed by the Montague Planning Board and Board of Selectmen and can be found in its entirety here on the town’s website.

The Livability Plan was a months-long effort to crystallize the community’s vision for its downtown village core, crafted from a wide and varied range of perspectives. It includes the identification of target areas for revitalization, recommendations for physical improvements such as streetscapes and plazas, and options for key properties. The Plan, illustrated with maps, photographs, diagrams and sketches, concludes with a specific, realistic, and cost-effective implementation plan to achieve the identified goals.

Streetscape Recommendation from D&F’s Livability Plan for Downtown Turners Falls to be Built

The town of Montague, village of Turners Falls, has issued an RFP for the “Avenue A Streetscape Enhancement Project,” one of the site-specific recommendations included in the Livability Plan prepared by Dodson & Flinker in June 2013. The sidewalk at Avenue A and 3rd Street will extend into existing parking places to make room for seating, plantings, and public art. This provides a plaza-like gathering space to people-watch, eat, perform, have pushcarts, and more. Increased bicycle parking sends a message about how alternative transit is valued in Turners Falls. This sidewalk plaza will provide downtown residents and visitors with a varied and interesting street experience, a key element of creating vibrant, livable downtowns.

The RFP was issued in October 2013 and an award is expected to be made in November 2013, with all construction documents to be completed by January 2014. It is hoped that this project will be the first among many of the recommendations included in Dodson & Flinker’s report to be realized for the citizens of Turners Falls.