A conversation we started on Land8 was spotlighted as a featured discussion!
We posed the question to landscape designers: Where did your passion for landscape originate? What were the narratives you had growing up that defined and transformed the world into a canvas for you?
We generated some really interesting, compelling responses (some even recounted poetically), all of them which may be read here.
The responses we received are really exciting to us, as they help to accomplish two important things:
1) Affirm the vitality and social value of the profession (it can often be viewed pejoratively and is misunderstood as being “exclusive” or culturally/socially unusable or irrelevant).
2) Uncover a common thread that connects all of us–professionals and nonprofessionals alike. The land is our home to all the meaningful experiences we’ve had–and will continue to have. It’s the book of all our experiences, the story of which, of course, is forever ours to write.
We encourage you to read this discussion here and join us in the conversation by telling your story in the comments. Share with your friends. Let’s rethink our connections and relationships to the land.
Without it, where else would we be?
On starting Secter Environmental Design…
I started Secter Environmental Design in the spring of 2009 with a focus on participatory design that would bring people and places together. The goals are to work closely with the client and involve them at every step of the design process, plan spaces together, and translate their visions and ideas into real places. SED is strongly community and client driven and thrives on providing clients opportunities to immerse themselves in the context of their space. We work to give them access to a new way of thinking and experiencing their settings. And the best designs serve as a reflection of that process.
On design aesthetics…
An aesthetic that I’m drawn to is the northwestern craftsman style, which is rooted in this relationship with natural materials and textures, neutral tones, and simple lines. On the urban front, I’m attracted to mid-century modern designs with its emphases on minimalism and sleek simplicity.
On the job…
What has kept Secter strong is the energy that comes from working with people and achieving the kinds of results that capture your attention, engage the individual, and showcase ecological function, form, sustainable materiality. There’s both a cultural and ecological foundation in the spaces we try to create in that it invites us to think about what we’re learning from and what we are a part of.
On the future of Secter…
The successes we’ve gained in the last few years have been profoundly surprising, given the nature and challenge of the business, but SED has really stuck to its guns and stayed focused on what we do well and taking on the types of projects that we are most interested in. Our work has remained deeply value based, emphasizing the role of people within the design process and linking their goals, interests, and ideas to create the best possible results. It is our job to make sure that their visions are realized while ensuring that the spaces function both socially and ecologically.
Now, we’re increasing our capabilities and communicating on a higher, more sophisticated plane. We’ve become more polished in our operations, and with more to offer. Over the last 5 years we have developed a strong, diversified portfolio of work. Currently, we’re writing scope for 6 new projects and looking forward to finishing a strong year of work and looking forward to a busy 2013.
At SED, our success has also contributed to our team’s commitment to a high quality of work. They represent the values we want to exhibit to our clients and to the community. It’s an exciting time for everybody here at SED.
Nate just wrapped up this awesome photomerge simulation for our West Shore day use project. This is what the shoreline trail looks like currently:
This is what the trail will look like after we give it the Secter treatment:
Notice the big difference? The guard rail has been eliminated, replaced by materials (wood and corten steel) that work in concert with the surroundings. This separates the asphalt road from the compacted gravel, providing a safe border for pedestrians. Boulders line the edge on the right with added vegetation, enhancing the scenic value of the area. The result: looks and feels better.
We’re lucky to have Nate on the team for projects like these to help us evaluate and assess the visual impacts of a proposed development. It’s a huge boost to the area, don’t you think?
Fossil, Oregon is the site of a project we’ve been working on since January. Our work is finally in the construction stage! We planned and designed the first loop of a nascent trail system and once completed, the Bowerman Trail (named after Bill Bowerman) will be Fossil’s very first recreational, pedestrian use route intended for hiking and running.
We were enlisted by Oregon State Parks and Recreation to plan this trail, and through extensive review and with in-depth input from the community, we generated a design that would make the trail accessible, user-friendly, and visually and environmentally responsible. The design works with intricate property lines while taking visual impact into consideration. For example, we’ve aligned the trail along the hillsides in such a way to prevent visual impairment, so that the route doesn’t hinder the value of the scene. Strategically located viewpoints will give way to notable scenes along the path, as less attractive viewsheds will be concealed via (potential) vegetation screens.
For the path itself, we’re utilizing locally gathered materials that will fit the context of the landscape and the community that inhabits it. Once completed, the Bowerman Trail will allow residents to partake in a healthy movement towards an active lifestyle and engagement with the outdoors. It will reinforce and integrate Fossil’s Old West roots and reintroduce its residents to the land.
We’re excited to see the construction completed (hopefully) by October!