Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JUL 2014

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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66 Landscape Architect and Specifier News The Dallas Arboretum, one of the country's most beautiful display gardens, is playing an increasingly important role as an educational facility for the schoolchildren of Dallas. The design team of Van Sickle & Rolleri (exhibit design), MKW + Associates, LLC (landscape architecture) and Dattner Architects was selected after a national search. They have created an engaging and wonderful 8-acre outdoor learning experience that includes a series of 14 linked and themed learning galleries, as well as an earth sheltered Exploration Center. The Dallas Children's Garden offers inviting indoor and outdoor learning spaces that combine plants, nature, emotion, fun, information and scientific content. The project goals were to immerse children in nature and instill appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of nature that ideally would have a lifelong impact; support school curricula and mandates; and to be visually stunning and aesthetically beautiful. From the earliest concept meetings the design team and client strongly felt water should be an important theme in the design of the children's garden. That seemed fitting, as the 8-acre garden sits above the eastern shore of White Rock Lake, and provides beautiful views of those picturesque waters. The lake's presence was also a reminder of the precious value of water in everyday life. The site slopes to the city park bordering the lake with a vertical grade drop of 50 feet, which posed significant challenges to the landscape architects in two respects: every gallery space and garden element needed to be universally accessible, and the site grading had to preserve the major shade trees on site to the greatest extent possible. The challenge was met by the overall garden site design and layout. Above & Top, Right At the overlook, or Belvedere ("beautiful sight" in Italian) waterfall, water emerges in thin sheets over a glass roof to spill dramatically into the upper basin of the 'Cascades.' The grotto below the falls allow visitors to view and touch the waterfall from the backside. The glass roof is supported by steel columns covered by fabricated rockwork (Cemrock) to mimic the adjacent retaining walls. The grotto and bordering stream boulders are also faux rock. PhoTo: MKW + AssoCIATes

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