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.)
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.)
Bell 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.)