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

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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.




NC Landscape Architect To Address Pittsburgh Symposium October 27, 2009

Media contact: Kim Weiss, blueplate pr


On a bridge in Pullen Park... (photo by f8 Photo Studios)

October 26, 2009 (ATLANTIC BEACH, NC) – Master landscape architect Richard C. “Dick” Bell of Atlantic Beach, NC, will address a special symposium on the work and influence of pioneering landscape architect John O. Simonds, to be held in the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA, on November 6.


Bell, a multi-award-winning practitioner whose own work includes landmark projects throughout North Carolina, apprenticed under John Simonds in the 1950s before Bell establishing his first firm in Raleigh, NC.


“Simonds & Simonds Landscape Architects was one of the premier design firms in the nation at that time,” Bell said. “And as the senior man in the office, I was fortunate to get to design some of the projects for John. They were mostly residential designs for architects who practiced the new – at that time — Modern style.”


The syposium, entitled “The Hunter and the Philosopher: John O. Simonds,” will focus on Simonds’ work as an author, environmentalist and landscape architect

It will also emphasize Simonds’ influence on the City of Pittsburgh, the field of landscape architecture, and his pioneering environmental planning efforts. Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Garden Design magazine, and the American Society of Landscape Architects are sponsors.


“I learned so much from John that I carried with me throughout my entire career,” said Bell, whose own career spans 50-plus years. “He was tough and he was a perfectionist. I’m honored to be a part of an event that honors John and his work.”


Bell discusses his time at Simonds & Simonds in his upcoming book “The Bridge Builders,” which traces the genesis of Bell’s life’s work. The book is due out in the spring of 2010.


For more information on Richard C. Bell, go to


For more information on the Pittsburgh symposium, go to


About Dick Bell


Richard C. Bell, a Fellow of both the American Society of Landscape Architects and the American Academy in Rome, was the youngest person ever to receive the Prix de Rome at age 21. Driven by a single, professional mission “to leave a little beauty behind wherever I go,” he earned a national reputation for excellence, and provided Raleigh, NC, with some of its most beloved landmarks, including the N.C. State University “Brickyard,” the serpentine wall at St. Mary’s College, Pullen Park, and the Meredith College lake and amphitheater. He also designed his 11-acre Water Garden complex, one of Raleigh’s first mixed-use developments and an early example of buildings coexisting in harmony with natural resources. Born and raised in Manteo, NC, Bell attended NCSU, where he studied landscape architecture and assisted with the master plan for the university. He and his wife, Mary Jo, lived and worked in Raleigh for 50 years before moving to Atlantic Beach, NC, where he continues his practice today. He was inducted in the Raleigh Hall of Fame in 2008.



NC State University’s Iconic “Brickyard” Celebrated in Alumni Magazine June 25, 2009

Media contact:

Kim Weiss, blueplatepr


March 31, 2006 (Raleigh, NC) – The facts, figures and fables surrounding University Plaza — better known to North Carolina State University students, faculty and alumni as “the Brickyard” — is the subject of a feature in this spring’s NC State Alumni Magazine entitled, “The Brickyard Revealed.”

The Brickyard at NCSU, conceived of and designed by Dick Bell.

The Brickyard at NCSU, conceived of and designed by Dick Bell.

Completed in 1969, the Brickyard was the brainchild of Raleigh landscape architect Richard C. Bell, FASLA.  Then chancellor John C. Caldwell had retained Bell, a 1950 graduate of the university’s School of Design, to design landscaping for 10 buildings. But Bell had a better idea: He wanted to use the allocated money to build a central campus plaza, compatible with the surrounding buildings, “that would be both a gathering space for students and a way to tie together the assortment of new and planned buildings,” the article says. That concept, combined with Bell’s knowledge of Italian plaza design and thousands of red bricks donated by the N.C. Bricklayers’ Association, resulted in what quickly became a favorite gathering place and a unique visual symbol for the university.

The article, which includes past and present photographs of the red and white plaza, addresses such facts as the number of bricks in the Brickyard (226,200 not counting the brick sidewalks that feed into the plaza), the average number of passes through the yard by an individual undergraduate in four years (1,024), and number of bricks NC State students take home each year as souvenirs (between 100 and 200). It tackles rumors that have swirled around the plaza for decades, such as “a nuclear reactor is under the Brickyard.” That’s pure fiction, the article says: The only nuclear reactor at State is tiny, above ground, and used for research in the nuclear engineering program.

The article shares several memories alumni have around the Brickyard. Now the magazine is looking for more: “What’s the strangest, funniest or most memorable thing that you witnessed or participated in” with regards to the Brickyard? Anyone wishing to share a memory should log on to



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