Pebbles In The Pond: News & Musings by Landscape Architect Dick Bell

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Book Signing Event This Month September 14, 2011

I will be signing copies of my new book, The Bridge Builders, during Triangle Modernist Houses’ “Thirst 4 Architecture” happy hour event on September 22, 6-8 p.m., in the offices of Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee in the Capital Bank building, Suite 1000, on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. The event is free and open to the public. For more details on the event, click HERE.

For more details on the book, click HERE.

 

DESIGNLIFE: What’s happening at the College of Design

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Department of Landscape Architecture at the North Carolina State University College of Design has announced the First Annual Richard C. Bell Lecture Series.

“The Department of Landscape Architecture wishes to honor Dick Bell for his professional achievements, leadership, and many landscape legacies through this annual lecture in his name,” said Gene Bressler, FASLA, NCNLA, head of the department and Professor of Landscape Architecture, who refers to Bell as a “North Carolina landscape architecture icon.”

Dick Bell, FASLA, will kick off the new series himself on September 19 at 6 p.m. in the College of Design’s Burns Auditorium located in Kamphhoefner Hall with a lecture entitled “Bridge Building.”

“The essence of my practice has been making friends and building relationships with colleagues in order to get landscape architecture projects done,” said Bell, who has completed over 2000 projects throughout his long career.  READ MORE…

 

NCSU College of Design Announces Richard C. Bell Annual Lecture September 2, 2011

Dick Bell in his beloved Pullen Park.

To honor a lifetime of achievement in and for the profession and practice of landscape architecture

 

PRESS RELEASE – September 2, 2011 (Raleigh, NC) — The Department of Landscape Architecture at the North Carolina State University College of Design has announced the First Annual Richard C. Bell Lecture Series.

 

“The Department of Landscape Architecture wishes to honor Dick Bell for his professional achievements, leadership, and many landscape legacies through this annual lecture in his name,” said Gene Bressler, FASLA, NCNLA, head of the department and Professor of Landscape Architecture, who refers to Bell as a “North Carolina landscape architecture icon.”

 

Dick Bell, FASLA, will kick off the new series himself on September 19 at 6 p.m. in the College of Design’s Burns Auditorium located in Kamphhoefner Hall with a lecture entitled “Bridge Building.”

 

“The essence of my practice has been making friends and building relationships with colleagues in order to get landscape architecture projects done,” said Bell, who has completed over 2000 projects throughout his long career.

 

A few of his best-known projects in Raleigh are NC State University’s “Brickyard” and Student Center Plaza, the City of Raleigh’s Pullen Park, the Amphitheatre at Meredith College, St. Mary’s College and Peace College’s campus master plans, the Legislative Building grounds, and his own “Water Garden” mixed-use development on Highway 70-West (which has now been destroyed).

 

Dan Howe, chair of the Department of Landscape Advisory Board, underscores the relevance of Bell’s topic. “Many would argue that the future [of the profession] seems less about narrowing our focus and ‘defining our turf’ to more about making new synergies with our associated professions and colleagues,” he said.

 

A multi-award-winning designer, Dick Bell graduated from the NCSU School of Design (now College of Design) in 1950 as part of Dean Henry Kamphoefner’s first class.

 

He apprenticed under Simonds & Simonds of Pittsburgh, PA, and Frederick B. Stresau of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. At the age of 21, he was the youngest person to receive the Prix de Rome, which allowed him to travel and study in Europe for two years.

 

Bell founded his first firm in Raleigh, NC, in 1955, introducing the practice of landscape architecture as a registered profession to the state. (He was the first person appointed to the registration board.) He has been a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) since 1954 and was elected to Fellowship in 1980. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and was the first recipient of the ASLA North Carolina’s Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement. He was inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame in 2008. He now lives with his wife, Mary Jo, in Atlantic Beach, NC, where he continues to work on select projects.

 

The Annual Richard C. Bell Lecture is part of The NC State University 2011-12 Landscape Architecture Lecture Series, “Collaboration – Beyond the Silo.” Dan Howe defines the overall theme as “an exploration of how collaborative synergies contribute to the making of healthier sustainable places and beautiful landscapes for our future.”

 

The lectures are free. NC State University students may earn one elective credit hour by registering for the lecture series under LAR 582.004.  Registered landscape architects may receive one CEU credit per lecture pending State Board approval.

 

For more information on the entire lecture series, go to http://design.ncsu.edu/calendar.

 

NC Landscape Architect Publishes First Book January 4, 2011

Following is our first press release on the publication of The Bridge Builders…

January 3, 2011 (ATLANTIC BEACH, NC) – From growing up on North Carolina’s Outer Banks during the Great Depression and World War II, to watching as his immigrant father designed and built the first “Lost Colony” amphitheater, to a series of adventures that began when he won the coveted Prix de Rome in 1951, landscape architect Richard C. “Dick” Bell explores his evolution as a designer in his first book, The Bridge Builders.

 

Dick Bell is the Southern landscape architect who created such seminal landmarks as the North Carolina State University “Brickyard,” the City of Raleigh’s beloved Pullen Park, and the Meredith College Amphitheater in Raleigh, among 2000 other projects he has completed in his long career – projects that left a profound imprint on his profession and his state. Through The Bridge Builders, he explores the people, places, and educational experiences that made him the man and the designer he came to be.

 

Published by Vantage Press, The Bridge Builders begins with his paternal grandparents’ immigration from England to Canada in the early years of the 20th century, before his father hastened their relocation to North Carolina. As a young boy in the sea and sand of Manteo, NC, and as a son and grandson of avid gardeners, Bell developed an intense love of nature and conservation that would define his illustrious career. As the youngest recipient of the Prix de Rome, his travel abroad would forever influence how he designed outdoor spaces for human enjoyment.

 

The book concludes just as Bell is starting what would become one of his master works and a living laboratory for landscape architecture, the former Water Garden in Raleigh – the “Taliesin” of North Carolina.

 

Midwest Book Review says: “The Bridge Builders is a memoir from Richard Bell as he reflects on being an American who came to love art and architecture in Europe and did well in helping establish important work that earned him a place as town hero in Raleigh. The Bridge Builders is intriguing and thoughtful for those looking for a read that bridges art and architecture.”

 

The book includes a collection of photos from Bell’s life along with original sketches and watercolors he made during his years at the American Academy in Rome.
Bell is planning to publish another book or white paper in the future that will include case studies of his major projects.

 

To learn more about The Bridge Builders, visit http://thebridgebuilders.wordpress.com.

 

The order a copy of the book from Vantage Press ($16.95), call by phone 24-hours a day: 877-736-5403, option 5; or fax an order to 212-736-2273.

 

 

 

First Review of “The Bridge Builders” November 24, 2010

Just received the first review of my new book The Bridge Builders by Willis Buhle of The Midwest Book Review!

“There’s more to art and architecture than the blueprint doodles. The Bridge  Builders is a memoir from Richard Bell as he reflects on being an American who came to love art and architecture in Europe and did well in helping establish important work that earned him a place as town hero in his birthplace of Raleigh, North Carolina. The Bridge Builders is intriguing and thoughtful for those looking for a read that bridges art and architecture.” –Willis M. Buhle, Review



 

Architects+Artisans: “A Vanishing Oasis at City’s Edge” November 15, 2010

Filed under: Media coverage — Kim Weiss @ 6:21 pm
Tags: ,

12 Nov. 2010

 

By Mike Welton & Cheryl Wilder

 

An 11-acre, Taliesin-like landmark in Raleigh N.C. is about to be transformed into low-income housing.

Landscape architect Dick Bell’s Water Garden was conceived in the mid-‘50s as a Shangri-La for the creative community in central North Carolina.

It was decades ahead of its time.

The well-known landscape architect developed it as the city’s first mixed-use development for artists and designers in 1955, though he wouldn’t actually complete it for 14 years.  It was to be his home, his business and his landscape laboratory.  It also served as studio and gallery for those in need.

“Water Garden was an ace in the hole,” Dick said. “It was an epistle of site plan and architecture.”

 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

 

NC Landscape Architect’s Work Featured In National Press November 8, 2010

Filed under: Press Releases — Kim Weiss @ 3:43 pm
Tags: , , ,

November 8, 20101 (ATLANTIC BEACH, NC) – Master landscape architect Richard C. “Dick” Bell, FASLA, was honored recently to have one of his favorite projects included in Landscape Architect magazine’s Centennial Issue and to have his career praised in Architects + Artisans, an online magazine dedicated to “thoughtful design for a sustainable world.”

 

A resident of Atlantic Beach, NC, now, Bell was in Raleigh visiting his daughter recently when he picked up a copy of Landscape Architect’s October edition and discovered his drawing for the NC State University Student Plaza, also known as “The Brickyard,” in the section on Design. Landscape Architecture is the official publication of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

 

“I had no idea,” he said. “I was truly surprised and honored.”

 

The Design section spotlights landscape architecture projects that embraced modernist design, rather than European-inspired formalism or classicism. Three blocks long and one block wide, The Brickyard’s flowing, curvilinear design exemplifies the modern aesthetic in landscape architecture and has become an iconic gathering place for NC State students, faculty and visitors since it was competed in 1970.

 

Concurrent with the appearance of his design in Landscape Architecture, Architects + Artisans.com posted an article entitled “A Life In Landscape Architecture” on October 26. 

 

“New Yorkers may claim Frederick Law Olmsted as their own, and Virginians might cling to the gardens that Charles Gillette once molded and shaped, but North Carolinians today can embrace their own living icon of the landscape architecture profession,” wrote A+A editor Mike Welton with staff writer Cheryl Wilder about Bell and his career, which began in the 1950s and continues today.

 

In the A+A article, Bell names The Brickyard as one of his favorite projects among over 2000 projects he has completed. A+A also notes:

 

“When [Bell] was inducted into the 2008 Raleigh Hall of Fame, the non-profit group noted that he’s driven by a single professional mission: ‘To leave a little beauty behind wherever I go.’ Over a long and successful career, that’s the very least he’s achieved.”

 

Architects + Artisans is located at www.architectsandartisans.com.

 

For more information on Dick Bell, visit http://dickbell.wordpress.com and http://trianglemodernisthouses.com/dbell.htm.

 

About Dick Bell:

 

A native of Manteo, NC, award-winning landscape architect Richard C. Bell is a fellow of both the American Society of Landscape Architecture and the American Academy in Rome. He was educated at the North Carolina State University School of Design, graduating as a member of its School’s first graduating class in 1950. He apprenticed under Simonds & Simonds of Pittsburgh, PA, and Frederick B. Stresau of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. At the age of 21, he was the youngest designer to receive the Prix de Rome. He founded his first firm in Raleigh, NC, in 1955, introducing the practice of landscape architecture as a registered profession to the state and was the first person elected to the registration board. He has completed over 2000 landscape architecture projects ranging from major city and highway corridors to city parks, university plazas and amphitheatres, mixed-use beachfront developments, and individual residences. A recognized leader in environmentalism and sustainable design long before the words became part of the general lexicon, he was inducted in the Raleigh Hall of Fame in 2008 and continues his practice in Atlantic Beach, NC.

 

 
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