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

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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.

 

From Architects + Artisans: “A Life In Landscape Architecture” October 26, 2010

October 26, 2010

By Mike Welton & Cheryl Wilder

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.

When Manteo native Richard “Dick” Bell launched his practice in 1955, he was just a few years out of N.C. State’s School of Design.  A leader, an educator and a winner of the Rome Prize, he’d spent time in South Florida, working with Morris Lapidus on the landscape for Miami’s Fountainbleu Hotel.  Back in Raleigh though, he was determined to promote landscape architecture as a reputable profession for North Carolina.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

 

 

As Seen on Triangle Modernist Houses.com July 2, 2010

Have you heard of Triangle Modernist Houses? If not, you need to. Founded and directed by George Smart Jr. (the son of the late architect George Smart Sr.), this invaluable archive and website is dedicated to honoring, archiving, preserving and promoting modernist residential design from the early ’50s through today. I was delighted to see that several of my residential projects are archived on www.trianglemodernisthouses.com — projects that integrated modernist architecture and modernist landscape architecture to create a total design worthy of being archived (if I say so myself!). Below are a few. Many thanks to George for posting these images on the TMH website. Text by George Smart.

Designed by Dan MacMillan, 1958 - The Charles E. Kistler-Dell Hollstein House, 323 Birnam Drive, Fayetteville NC. The Kistler-Hollstein house was considered one of the best examples of modern architecture in Fayetteville. Landscape design by Dick Bell. Dell Hollstein lived on the 2.1 acre property for more than 50 years. She had it on the market for a number of years and lowered the price several times. There were calls to move it but that was impossible because of the concrete slab. Preservation North Carolina officials visited the site but interest came too late. Developer Buzz Loyd became interested in the land only after Hollstein removed the condition that the house remain. It was destroyed in 2005. The five new houses sold in the mid to upper six figures.

Designed by Milton Small, 1962: The Frank and Jean Anderson Jr. House, 2505 York Road, Raleigh. Anderson owned Sir Walter Chevrolet. Bought in 2002 by current owners William (Harry) and Marsha Whyte. 3600 square feet. .85 acres. Landscape design by Dick Bell.

Designed by Mason Hicks, 1964: The Joan and Richard Robert (Bob) Allen House, 1414 Pine Valley Loop, Fayetteville. Landscape design by Dick Bell. Built by Richard Allen. Still owned by the Allens.

Designed by John Oxenfeld and Haywood Newkirk, ca. 1970: The Doug Fleet House, next door to the Dan Cameron House, Figure Eight Island, Wilmington NC. Won a 1971 AIANC Merit Award. At the time, this and the Cameron house above were the only adjacent AIANC award winners in North Carolina. Since then, a building has gone up between them. Photo by Gordon Schenck. Built by Fred Murray. Landscaping by Dick Bell. Appeared in the News and Observer.

 

From the News & Observer, 11/4/2007: “Landscape Architect Makes Gift To NCSU” August 2, 2009

Filed under: About DIck Bell — Kim Weiss @ 8:08 pm
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http://www.newsobserver.com/news/higher_education/story/772014.html

 

The Game’s Afoot! July 23, 2009

As I was growing up in Manteo and Elizabeth City, North Carolina, during the Great Depression of the ‘30s, I fell I love with the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. I loved to lose myself in their world as they white-washed fences, ran errands for their parents, slipped away to raft and fish the Mississippi River,

My buddy Billy Hackett (left) and me at play on Roanoke Island.

My buddy Billy Hackett (left) and me at play on Roanoke Island.

studied the currents and dangers of the shoals, and came to know intimately the land forms they traversed. Every day was a learning experience for them. But despite the fun and adventures they had, the ultimate goal was survival.

Actually, life outside of that fascinating literary world was much the same for me at the time. Survival was the ultimate goal – with a little fun and adventure mixed in to keep it interesting! But every single day my parents had to struggle to provide the basic necessities of food, shelter and clothing for our little family. Those things most of us take for granted today were hard-won goals back then.

Mom and Dad in Manteo

Mom and Dad in Manteo

In his own right, my father was a pioneer. A self-taught man, he designed and built the first replica of Fort Raleigh in Manteo and, soon thereafter, “The Lost Colony” amphitheater. (Many other outdoor drama amphitheaters would follow.) A British immigrant, he first had to learn the nature of the new place he called home and how he could care for it and manipulate it to make a life for himself and his family. Meanwhile, my mother was blazing her own trail as she raised her children and created the first plant nursery on Roanoke Island. Creativity and determination propelled my parents as the dreamed, scheme and struggled against difficult circumstances and odds.

(more…)

 

A word about the author… June 25, 2009

Filed under: About DIck Bell — Kim Weiss @ 2:26 am
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The pond at the Water Garden in autumn...

The pond at the Water Garden in autumn...

A native of Manteo, NC, landscape architect Richard C. Bell was educated at the North Carolina State University School, graduating in 1950 as part of Dean Henry Kamphoefner’s first class of 15 architects and four landscape architects. Afterwards, 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, which allowed him to travel and study in Europe for two years. He 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 elected to the registration board.)  WG2

Dick Bell has been a member of the ASLA since 1954 and was elected to Fellowship in 1980. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. He was the first recipient of the North Carolina chapter of the ASLA’s Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement

Dick Bell has completed over 2000 landscape architecture projects. He has designed everything from major city and highway corridors to city parks, university plazas and amphitheatres, mixed-use beachfront developments, and individual residences, and was a recognized leader in environmentalism and sustainable design long before the words became part of the general lexicon.

Of the 28 awards programs he has entered, he has received honor awards in 27. Among these are numerous national awards, including the coveted “Judges’ Award” from the American Association of Nurserymen, which he received in 1981 for his own Water Garden Office Park along Raleigh’s Glenwood Avenue – the 11-acre home/office/”living laboratory” where he has spent 50 years experimenting with plant materials and landscape design techniques. (The Water Garden was featured in Landscape Architecture magazine in February 2006.)

WG4Bell has lectured on environmental design at various colleges and universities, including Virginia Tech and N.C. State University, as well as at various student and professional organizations, including the ASLA. He has also been an active member of numerous city planning and land use commissions.

In 2008, Dick Bell was officially recognized for his contributions to the City of Raleigh when he was inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame.

(These photos are of Bell’s masterwork, The Water Garden, on Glenwood Ave./Hwy. 70 West in Raleigh, North Carolina.)

 

 
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