Over the years I have had several opportunities to speak at my alma mater about our work during the Thursday Erv Zube Lectures, but on February 26th I got to speak in the brand new Design Building! Gone are the Procopio Room days in Hills North, and here now are world-class facilities, top-notch technology, natural sunlight, elbow room, gorgeous finishes, and even a future rooftop garden by fellow alums at Stephen Stimson Associates! I didn’t think I could ever have more pride about my undergraduate academic experiences, but after seeing the new building it made me feel even more excited about the future of our profession! Over half of our office is composed of former UMass students, so here’s to the future of our Department, and……… the future of Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC!
I would like to send a heartfelt thanks to Carolyn Mullet, the owner of Carex Tours, and dedicated host of the infamous Facebook page “Garden Design by Carolyn Mullet” that boasts nearly 1.5 MILLION FANS from around the globe, for spearheading an effort to invite me to speak to her regional chapter of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers earlier this month! The event was held in the Great Hall of the Silver Spring Civic Building, and around 100 people attended on Saturday, February 11th.
“All About the Details: Stone, Wood & Metal in Landscape Design” was meant to inspire my fellow designers and landscape architects to draw from their personal life experiences, and to incorporate “outside the box” thinking when it comes to dreaming up new design scenarios for their client’s homes. I met so many lovely people and greatly appreciated the delicious lunch afterwards where we engaged in thoughtful discussions about today’s trends in residential landscape design. Thank you APLD DC-MD-VA, and Lynley Ogilvie, Molly Scott, and Scott Pitner, for being such accommodating hosts! I look forward to remaining in touch!
What an honor it was to be included as a speaker in the 28th consecutive New Directions in the American Landscape conference sponsored by the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, Larry Weaner Landscape Associates, and the Connecticut College Arboretum! This 2-day, 2-part conference is unique because it avoids propagating trendy jargon in favor of illustrating successful landscape techniques that succeed in real world applications. The first leg of the conference was held in Connecticut at the Cummings Art Center in New London, and the second leg was held in Pennsylvania at the Science Center Auditorium in Blue Bell. This year’s speakers represented a wide range of fields and provided information rarely found in traditional landscape lectures. The varied experiences of the conference attendees, many of whom attend year after year, deeply enhance the program by offering excellent opportunities for professional interaction.
This year’s topic, “Analyzing the Wild, Designing the Garden,” focused on many complex ways natural landscapes are shaped by intricate ecological processes and past human activity. My talk illustrated MCLD’s ability to build residential landscapes amidst this constantly shifting dynamic, and how our enhancements are informed by the careful examination of a site’s surrounding context, and the thoughtful understanding of our client’s lifestyles. The unique conference included talks by highly accomplished ecologists and designers, and explored the synthesis between sophisticated analysis and creative design; I met many talented people who have committed their careers to building and studying many aspects of our environment.
On the 22nd of September I was quite honored to kick off the annual Landscape Architecture Lecture Series for the University of Rhode Island! It was especially meaningful to be invited to speak to the students and the general public about how I believe our gardens evolve in the face of global climate change — especially since our own Josh Bourgery is a recent Department graduate. The evening talks, co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Gaetano and Pasqualine Faella Memorial Endowment, and the Rhode Island chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, are coordinated by Professors William Green and Angelo Simeoni. The series will span the entire 2016/2017 academic calendar and features guest speakers from all realms of the profession who will sample a range of topics related to coastal conditions, urbanization, recreation, protecting cultural resources, landscape humanism equity and diversity. Kona Gray from EDSA, Gina Ford from Sasaki, and Charles Birnbaum from The Cultural Landscape Foundation are just a few of my fellow participants. I would say URI has some excellent plans to hear professional perspectives from some very accomplished landscape architects ahead of them!
Thank you URI for your hospitality, and for introducing me to your excellent Department!