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…


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.


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