Category Archives: landscape

all aboard

Every time I take the train from New York to Boston I relive my post grad school life.

I pass through Rye, my first stop after driving 3000 miles from Oregon with Ivy in the summer of 2001. I pass through Westport which I was dreaming would be filled with fresh produce and wonderful food markets ala Martha Stewart, but which paled in comparison to the fresh fruits and vegetables I could find in my own home state.

I pass by the East Norwalk train stop where I deboarded the commuter rail nearly every day on my way to work. The platform looks the same. We stop in Bridgeport and it still looks as rundown and ghostly as it did when I lived here. There’s still a promise of restoration, but reality is a much different story. As we lumbered out of the station and continued to head north I could see the downtown was filled with grey rundown buildings next to a couple brand-spanking new renovations that stuck out like diamonds floating in a sea of tar.

Beyond that we stopped in New Haven and it took everything I had not to get off and pop into see Jeromy, Anne and Ella. Maybe have a little pizza at Modern, maybe drink a little whiskey at Bar, or catch a concert on the Green.

From there the landscape changes to less familiar places, but beautiful bays and inlets that dot the shoreline through Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Finally the train rolls in to Boston, passing alongside the commuter rail stops that run to the city from the south making their way to Back Bay and then South Station. I can’t count how many times I passed through South Station on my way in and out of Boston, but it felt so familiar walking through the doors and heading to the T. I was back!

la la land

Christmas in LA in March. Nothing about that sounds right, but mom and I had a great trip to the Palm lined city – a visit we’d planned over the winter when we couldn’t rendezvous with my brother in December. We took in a concert at Erik’s studio, had dinner at Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, and toured the recently reopened Getty Villa in Malibu. We had breakfast at Urth Cafe with Peter and Garrett before meeting up with them again in West Hollywood for dinner. It felt a lot like our old Boston days, but in a much nicer climate!! I guess I can see why they like their la la life.

the new architecture of new york


I remember when Italian architect Renzo Piano was awarded the commission for the new New York Times building at the beginning of the century. I was still living in Connecticut and imagined I’d be close by to watch the construction of a building that I once dreamed I’d work inside. However, more than eight years (and a few moves) have passed and the building has just opened to its reporters and photographers. The punch list is still being punched, but the quintessential public spaces are open.

The NY Times architecture critic led readers on a comprehensive online tour of the building this past fall and as I watched it I longed to be in the space in person. I had no idea then that I’d be in NY City the next month, be able to walk around the building, and visit its lobby and atrium. Piano’s use of texture and color is brilliant, the grays (both smooth and finely lined) evoke the paper’s newsprint. The bold warm colors evoke the life and energy that the words of NY Times reporters use to bring us stories of hope and heartbreak everyday.


Within two blocks of each other in midtown Manhattan are two historic buildings that have recently received modern updates. British architect Norman Foster’s addition to the Beaux Arts Hearst building has been lauded as a success (and it is), while Portland architect Brad Cloepfil’s renovation of Edward Durrell Stone’s building at Columbus Circle has received the wrath of the preservation community. Though it’s still under construction, Cloepfil’s work blends modern style and contemporary needs with the historic fabric of Stone’s building in as respectful a way as Foster’s intervention blends environmental values with the historic Hearst building.


dorris ranch

I’m so excited! My firm and I were awarded the Dorris Ranch project! Dorris Ranch is a public park near Eugene that is also the first commercial hazelnut farm in Oregon and they have some preservation planning issues that we’ll be helping them with over the next year. This was my first project proposal with my new firm and I’m super thrilled and relieved that it all went so well. I didn’t sleep a wink the night before the interview, but it went great and we found out the next week that they wanted to hire us. Of course the question now on everyone’s mind is why are they sometimes called filberts and other times called hazelnuts. My friend Tricia theorizes that Phil and Hazel got in an argument that has never been settled.

it’s moments like this

my visits to portland during the last ten years have included a string of scheduled and sometimes rushed moments with friends in an effort to pack a lifetime into a weekend or two. but today i got to spend an hour with my godson just because i was here and available for just such moments. henrik and i took a heavenly hot late summer day and played in the fountain at jameson park. while there we ran into dana, one of my close friends from college, and her son milo. portland is just one big neighborhood and i’m thrilled to be back in the ‘hood.

it all comes down to this

Packing up five years of work is no easy task. It makes packing up my apartment seem like a breeze. Projects that consumed me at the Olmsted Center needed to be carefully organized, boxed, and left behind for someone else to steward. The process was slow and methodical, but now it is all done. Someone could sit in my chair and hopefully pick up right where I left off (editing page 88 of the Hearst Castle landscape history to be exact)….

It’s been hard not to have Amy here during my last two weeks – the office just isn’t the same without my partner in crime. I’m going to miss stories about Sean and Brigid and the never-ending support she gave me during what has been a year of all-time highs and lows. No offense to middle America, but couldn’t we just squish the west and east coast together so there wasn’t as much distance between us?!

It’s been an honor to work at the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation and an honor being a fellow Bostonian. Cheers to what’s been a wicked adventure!