The landscape site design for the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art both accommodates the display of contemporary art and is meant to inspire the creation of these works.  A series of courtyards and clearings negotiate a significant change in topography across the site, link architectural program, expand museum programming space, and organize pedestrian circulation.  An outdoor amphitheater of granite risers and lawn treads step down to a paved entry court, connecting a new museum building to the existing historic house which once housed the collection.

Behind the museum, a half-acre sculpture garden is an outdoor gallery display space reflecting the vernacular landscape of orchard trees, stonewalls and rolling land typical of the surrounding area. This landscape of sculpted topography hosts festivals, event tents, open-air classrooms, sculptural displays and museum performances.

Awarded 2010 BSLA Honor Award for Design

Lisa Giersbach, Project Manager at Richard Burck Associates, Inc. with Tappe Associates.

images by Warren Jagger


The site program for the new addition of Marriot Hall included creating new open space, establishing a campus-wide accessible path system on a site with over 60 feet of grade change and integrating the new design into the historic campus and Cathedral Close.

Primary historic research of the Olmsted firm’s work on the National Cathedral grounds and at St. Albans School informed the basic design strategies and the re-conception of the campus planting approach for the site design of a new addition to the main academic building. Through an aggressive program of removals, the campus landscape was replanted with the goal of knitting the school grounds back into the original woodland planned by Frederick Law Olmsted. The challenge in realizing the replanting of the woodland palette was that planting opportunities were mainly over structure in several large, extensive green roofs and intensive planters. These challenges were made into opportunities in bringing the wooded landscape into the campus center, planting over a submerged loading area, and in creating an extensive green roof on the upper level of the new addition for formal gatherings.

Lisa Giersbach, Project Manager at Richard Burck Associates, Inc. with Skidmore Ownings and Merrill


The site design for the new addition to the Currier Museum of Art involved removing a city street to create a formal entry court, expanded parking lot, new pedestrian and vehicular circulation, as well as creating space for siting outdoor sculpture. An aerial hedge, seat wall and lower hedge wrap three sides of the space and create courtyard “walls” around the new entry court. The landscape architects worked closely with the Museum to help select a sculpture of the right scale for the entry court which would act as a beacon for the Museum. When closed off to traffic, this outdoor room is designed to host museum receptions, special performances or exhibits. Layers of small flowering trees are planted in informal drifts throughout the site and street trees at the site perimeter reinforce the structure of the interior landscape.

Lisa Giersbach, Project Manager at Richard Burck Associates, Inc. with Ann Beha Associates.


The campus landscape for the new Visual Arts Center building is designed to serve as an arts plaza for the display of sculpture, a flexible open space for arts programming, and as new entrance not only to the VAC but also to Dartmouth’s related programs in the Spaulding Arts Center and the Hood Museum of Art. A major walkway invites the public into the large open space along an accessible walk that transitions along terraced plaza landings, gently managing the five feet of grade change across the site.

The flat, open, event lawn is held flat by a scissoring curb that invites entry at grade where the curbs meet. The many performance and exhibition programs of the school spill out onto the different plazas and lawn terraces. Open lawns are designed to take heavy traffic for programmed and unprogrammed events. Sustainable site strategies include harvesting stormwater and use of permeable concrete paving for irrigation.

Lisa Giersbach, Project Manager at Richard Burck Associates, Inc. with Machado and Silvetti Architects.


Master planning and site design for Tech Green, the largest open space and main recreational open space on the Georgia Tech campus, involved program development and site design along all edges of the project. Master Planning work on the adjacent Undergraduate Learning Commons also ensured a strong relationship of building to open space in the design of terraces, social program space and visual connections along the building’s open space edge.

A series of terraces form a tree-filled mezzanine which overlooks the Green and is situated along the main pedestrian circulation spine on campus. Movable tables and chairs invite students to create informal social groups throughout the space, and site walls define the edge of the open space as well as provide informal seating opportunities. The gently sloping open lawn area is designed to accommodate major campus events including rallies, festivals and concerts, as well as designed to house one of the largest water harvesting cisterns for collection and reuse of water in the United States holding up to 1.4 million gallons.

Lisa Giersbach, Project Manager at Richard Burck Associates, Inc. 

images by Michael Morgan


The Arnow Quadrangle design seeks to create an open space for the students of Lasell College which can both serve as a recreational and social space for the adjacent dormitories and student center as well as an arts quadrangle where fashion shows and performances can take place, supporting the two Art Center buildings on the Quad. Site design saw removing a central parking lot within the site to create a tree filled plaza which steps down to an open lawn. Moveable site furnishings allow students to socialize in groups or to create private seating situations. A larger, paved plaza at the Student Center hosts an amphitheater with open lawn steps to invite relaxation and sunning and formal seating for events. Situated next to the Student Center, students can filter easily to the outdoor space. With construction of a new dormitory, parking was set underground allowing for the rooftop landscape to be uninterrupted for pedestrian recreation and programming.

Lisa Giersbach, Project Manager at Richard Burck Associates, Inc with Perkins Eastman Architects.


This branch library of the City of Boston knits itself into the fabric of the dense Allston neighborhood as the landscape knits itself into the building. Working closely with the architects, the building is sited to preserve a century old Beech Tree and to incorporate a series of landscaped courtyards within its walls. A central gathering space for the community, the entry courtyard garden provides the first glimpse into the series of garden spaces. A continuous bluestone path knits together inside and outside spaces by connecting the interior glass reading rooms and the exterior garden reading courtyards. The central Adult Courtyard is designed as a series of linear gardens where tables and chairs provide intimate reading and gathering spaces. The library culminates in the final Children’s garden which is dominated by the mature Beech Tree in a paved courtyard where tables and chairs are brought out for children’s reading events.

Lisa Giersbach, Project Manager at Richard Burck Associates, Inc. with Machado and Silvetti Architects.

images by Jerry Shereda