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Fall 2012
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CALS Notes

Landscape Architecture Students Named Finalists in National Parks Design Competition

By Rebecca Harrison ’14

Chelsea Miller’s design blends passive historic preservation of the ruins of a paper mill with cultural use by park visitors, creating opportunities for social interaction and interpretation of the cultural landscape.

Fluid Relics: Chelsea Miller’s design blends passive historic preservation of the ruins of a paper mill with cultural use by park visitors, creating opportunities for social interaction and interpretation of the cultural landscape.

Lodge, Camp, Park: Erik Jones’ design imagines new forms of lodging for hunters and nature lovers, including tree-house cabins and aerial tents. The project would expand commercial vendor services into the park to increase revenue, create opportunities for local businesses and draw different user groups into the park.

Lodge, Camp, Park: Erik Jones’ design imagines new forms of lodging for hunters and nature lovers, including tree-house cabins and aerial tents. The project would expand commercial vendor services into the park to increase revenue, create opportunities for local businesses and draw different user groups into the park.

A team of five landscape architecture graduate students were finalists in the Parks for the People student design competition, sponsored by the Van Alen Institute, to re-imagine America’s national parks as natural, recreational, social, and cultural destinations. Rebecca Montross, MLA ’12, Bryan Harrison, Chelsea Miller, Christina Twomey, and Erik Jones worked with their thesis advisers and lecturer Marc Miller, MLA ’05, to develop plans for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area of Georgia and were among the nine finalists selected from 50 submissions.

“Despite the need for an expanded role of public space in the United States, the significance of the national parks for the contemporary American public is in jeopardy of being lost,” Miller said. “The students had to consider what the national parks are today, using the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area as a site to test their ideas. Most importantly, we were curious as to how parks and national recreation areas located in urban areas need to serve the public.”

The students collaborated in the Design Thesis Studio, sharing the Chattahoochee site but developing concepts for different niches within the recreation area as individual thesis topics. Their designs considered not only the existing features of the park, including wetlands, dams, creeks, and historical artifacts, but also a diversity of user groups, from snowbirds and hipsters to athletes and hunters.


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