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


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


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.




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

Filed under: Press Releases — Blueplate PR @ 3:43 pm
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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 + 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


For more information on Dick Bell, visit and


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.


Bell/Glazener Lands Elizabethan Gardens Contract February 22, 2010

Filed under: Press Releases — Blueplate PR @ 9:47 pm

I wanted to share this press release with you because it’s something of a full-circle story: My son-in-law, Dennis Glazener, has been awarded a contract to help upgrade the historic Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo that my father — the late Bert “Skipper” Bell — helped to create in the early 1950s….

February 22, 2010 (RALEIGH, NC) – Bell/Glazener Design Group, a landscape

Dennis Glazener, ASLA

architecture and planning firm in Raleigh, has received the contract to participate in the new lighting design for the historic Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, NC.

Dennis Glazener, RLA, president of Bell/Glazener Design Group, will work as a consultant to Engineered Designs, Inc., an engineering firm based in Raleigh.

The Elizabethan Gardens, founded and supported by the Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc., are located adjacent to The Lost Colony’s Waterside Theatre and Fort Raleigh National Historic Park on Roanoke Island, near North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The lush Gardens host numerous special programs and events throughout the year, including historical celebrations, theater and musical performances, family events and educational workshops.

Glazener has been involved in the efforts to upgrade the Gardens since July of 2009 when he visited the site and consulted with the gardens’ Executive Director, Horace Whitfield, and the current Chairman of the Board of Governors, June Bell, regarding future goals and objectives. His recommendations address long-range planning, immediate infrastructure needs, special opportunities and event staging, facility expansions, and fundraising.

Overall site improvements will involve upgrading the walks and pathways, improving the lighting and electrical systems, and building expansions to accommodate a Tea Room and gift shop.

My father, Bert Bell, in his later years in the one place he loved to be: his own gardens.

For Glazener, this contract is also nostalgic: His wife Sharon Bell Glazener’s grandfather, Bert Bell — the father of well-known landscape architect Dick Bell, FASLA —  cleared the land for the original Gardens in the early 1950s, implemented the initial master plan, and provided most of the plant materials from his own nursery on Roanoke Island. The Innocenti–Webel firm provided the initial design for the Gardens and is also participating in the current design efforts.

“I am honored to have a part in the growth and expansion of the Elizabethan Gardens,” Glazener said. “Dick’s father — ‘Skipper’ Bell — was an inspiration for his own life; and he in turn, has been a great influence in my life and career. The lineage continues!”

Last year, Bell/Glazener Design Group restored the historic mid-century Taylor Garden on the UNC-Greenboro campus.

For more information on the Elizabethan Gardens, visit

For more information on Bell/Glazener Design Group, go to

About Bell/Glazener Design Group:

For over 50 years, Bell/Glazener Design Group has provided design services to commercial, residential, and institutional clients in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Projects range from residential landscape architecture to extensive regional planning, urban design, campus planning, land use-master planning and sports-recreational planning. For more information visit or call 919-787-3515.


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.



Dick Bell Makes Metro Magazine’s Who’s Who List June 25, 2009

January 17, 2008 (ATLANTIC BEACH, NC) – Award-winning landscape architect Dick Bell, who recently relocated to Atlantic Beach after 52 years of living and working in Raleigh, has been included in Metro Magazine’s 2007 of Who’s Who among men and women of high achievement and contributions to the state.

Each January, Raleigh’s Metro Magazine recognizes men and women who have ”quietly and effectively accomplished great things that help keep [the Triangle region] on top of the list in national and global achievement,” according to editor and publisher Bernie Reeves. These men and women comprise the magazine’s annual Who’s Who list, and the 2008 roster appears in the January edition now on newsstands and at

Bell, a fellow of both the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the American Academy in Rome, was cited for spending “a lifetime living up to a personal edict: ‘I want to leave a little beauty behind wherever I go.’

“Thousands of people have been touched by Dick Bell’s work,” writes Metro. “The children who play among the rolling hills and lush gardens of Raleigh’s Pullen Park, the students and faculty who stroll along NC State University’s famed ‘Brickyard’ and Student Center sculpture plaza, the crowds who gather by the little lake at Meredith College’s amphitheatre for concerts or weddings, downtown folks who enjoy the fountains, benches and green space within Moore Square Transit block – these are only a few places among nearly 2000 projects where Bell has left ‘a little beauty behind’ throughout his 52-year career.”

Bell and his wife, Mary Jo, moved permanently to the condominium they’ve owned in Tar Landing Villas since Bell masterplanned that development over 30 years ago. He intends to continue his pursuit of “leaving a little beauty behind” on the coast, he said.

Established in 1999, the four-color monthly Metro Magazine has a circulation of 40,000 and covers the region from the Triangle to the coast. For more information, go to


Dick Bell Honored at NC/ASLA Celebration

Filed under: Press Releases — Blueplate PR @ 4:45 pm
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Media contact: Kim Weiss, blueplate pr

November 2007 (PINEHURST, NC) – Landscape architect Dick Bell, FASLA, formerly of Raleigh, was honored in a tribute film and with one of the first ever Legacy Awards presented by the North Carolina Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (NCASLA) during a gala celebration held at the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, NC, on Saturday, November 10th.

Bell, whose landmark projects in Raleigh include Pullen Park, the N.C. State University “Brickyard” and Student Sculpture Garden, the Legislative Building Grounds, and St. Mary’s and Meredith Colleges and Water Garden Office Park, helped launch and shape the profession of landscape architecture in this state since opening his first office in 1952. His accomplishments were celebrated in a film documentary “Landscape Architecture: North Carolina Pioneers.”

The film was directed and produced by UNC-W Film Department Chair Dr. Lou Buttino and funded through a matching grant from the ASLA. Wilmington landscape architect Mindy Arthur narrated and co-produced the film.

Through interviews, archival footage and on-site filming, it also documented the careers of two other pioneers in the profession: Lewis Clarke of Raleigh and Kenneth Coulter of Durham. Bell, Clarke and Coulter are fellows in the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Dick Bell is also a fellow of the American Academy in Rome.

According to NCASLA, this was the first in a series of documentaries planned to highlight the careers of the state’s leading landscape architects. It will soon be available for purchase on the website

Bell, Clarke and Coulter also received the NCASLA’s inaugural Legacy Awards for their lifetime contributions to the profession.

Dick Bell lived and worked in his award-winning Water Garden Office Park on Highway 70/Glenwood Avenue for 52 years until this month when he and his wife, former Garden Gallery owner Mary Jo Bell, moved to their condominium in Atlantic Beach.

Originally from Manteo, NC, Bell helped design the original master plan for N.C. State University while he was a student there. Over his career he completed nearly 2000 projects. He is now turning his attention to writing books about his life and the art of landscape architecture.