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

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DESIGNLIFE: What’s happening at the College of Design September 14, 2011

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…


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

Filed under: Media coverage — Blueplate PR @ 6:21 pm
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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.”




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.




N&O: Delapidated Gem Will Yield To Housing August 30, 2010

Filed under: Media coverage — Blueplate PR @ 6:35 pm

Monday, August 30, 2010


This N&O photo was taken inside (looking out) of what used to be my office...

RALEIGH — In its time, the Water Garden stood as a shrine to modern design: a complex of low-slung, hill-hugging offices surrounded by tall, ivy-covered pine trees and ponds topped with lily pads.

You’d never guess from the car dealerships and furniture warehouses that such a gem stood hidden off Glenwood Avenue. And for the last three years, the complex has slowly rotted and gathered squatters’ trash.

But now the site of the 11-acre Water Garden campus, home and life’s work of master landscape architect Dick Bell, is being put to use. Starting next spring, its lush and rolling hills will be converted to low-income housing in a northwest Raleigh neighborhood where it is sorely needed.


From Triangle Modernist… July 15, 2010

Filed under: Media coverage — Blueplate PR @ 9:10 pm
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Many thanks to George Smart, founder and director of Triangle Modernist Houses, for this tribute:

A few projects featured…

Meredith Amphitheatre and grounds

Pullen Park

"The Brickyard," NCSU

Water Garden


Goodnight, Raleigh: “A Forgotten Treasure – The Raleigh Water Garden” July 7, 2010

Filed under: Media coverage — Blueplate PR @ 9:26 pm
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By Danielle Carr, July 6, 2010

I started out with only a Facebook status update and the vague directions “across from the Carmax on Glenwood” to go on. An hour and a half later, I found the Water Garden.


(Many thanks to all who posted comments on Goodnight, Raleigh —  including the current owner whose intentions for the future of Water Garden are well-meaning indeed.)