2017 SERC

 The ASLA Southeast Regional Conference (SERC) was held June 8 – 10 in the Queen City of Charlotte NC. The theme of the conference was Design Across Lines. We wanted to strengthen the bond across state lines, but more importantly talk about building bridges across professional lines.  This conference was built as collaboration between states to incorporate learning opportunities from allied professionals with a focus on the challenges and opportunities specific to the southeast.

Over 290 landscape architects from the host states of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia attended, with additional landscape architects from Virginia, Florida, Colorado, New Jersey and Maryland. A wide range of topics were covered throughout the 33 educational sessions.

ASLA’s national President was on hand during the three day event. President Rinner addressed the audience during the SERC’s awards luncheon. Over 66 entries were submitted and juried by New York Chapter of ASLA. During the celebration, 15 Professional entries and 5 Student entries were honored. South Carolina received several awards.  South Carolina firms and project award winners include:

Residential Design

Mittlestaedt Residence
Location: Greenville, SC
Designer: Seamon Whiteside
Award: Merit

General Design

Freedom Walkway

Location: Rock Hill, SC
Client: Rock Hill, SC, Stephen Turner
Designer: Groundworks Studio
Award: Merit

Analysis & Planning

Finlay Park Master Plan
Location: Columbia, SC
Client: City of Columbia
Designer: Stantec

no photo available

Clemson Ravenel
Location: Seneca, SC
Client: Clemson University
Designer: HGOR
Award: Merit

2017 SERC – General Design

2017 SERC – Residential Design

2017 SERC – Communications

2017 SERC – Student Awards

Kona Gray, who has recently been named an ASLA Fellow, gave the keynote address on Thursday entitled, “The New Landscape Declaration – The Future of Landscape Architecture”. In his address, Mr. Gray noted, “We are facing challenging times and it is important now, more than ever, to protect the environment. The legacy of our craft tells us that the basis of what we do is rooted in history, environment, philosophy, natural sciences and the understanding of people. The next big thing for global design will be influenced by our history, present dynamics, and the future of Landscape Architecture. Ultimately, landscape architects have the expertise to contribute to the “preservation, improvement, enhancement of the environment”… So let’s go forward and create places for everyone to enjoy the good life.” Kona encouraged attendees to create their own Landscape Declaration based on their experience and perspective of the profession of landscape architecture.

Friday’s keynote address was given by David Rubin, ASLA, FAAR on “The City is a Landscape: Empathy, Design and the Space Between Buildings”. David Rubin, founding Principal of LAND COLLECTIVE, explored the landscape of cities, expressions of governance, and connective tissue as the great equalizer during his talk. Along the way, he presented notions for raising the collective consciousness, finding opportunities for all in multi-dimensional landscapes, and why Steven Hawking is actually a wannabe landscape architect. Mr. Rubin stated, “More people live in urban environments than they have in the history of human habitation. At the same time, the division between those that have more and those that have less is increasing exponentially. It is in the connective tissue of cities – the landscape fabric – where opportunities for creating equity will bring all citizens together in dialogue.”

On Saturday morning a panel discussion on the “Implementation & Impacts of Regional Trail Systems – A Discussion of the Atlanta Beltline,  Cross-Charlotte Trail, and the Swamp Rabbit Trail” Panelist Included: Paul Morris, FASLA – President and CEO Atlanta Beltline; Michael Kirshman, CPRP Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Deputy Director; The Honorable Blake Sanders, ASLA Mayor of West Pelzer, SC; Moderated by Beth Poovey, ASLA – LandDesign kicked the morning off, Saturday’s events concluding with over 20 cyclist pedaling the Little Sugar Creek Greenway.

The conference offered an exciting opportunity to speak with 79 exhibitors, highlighted new industry trends in services and products. A full list of sponsors can be found listed on the website.  But I wanted to make sure and give a shout out to those firms that support our state annually. Please thank our sponsors personally when you see them; they are the reason we can have these great events!

  • Anova Furnishings
  • Arborguard
  • Belgard Hardscapes
  • Bold Spring Nursery
  • Border Concepts
  • Carolina Parks and Play
  • Carolina Recreation & Design
  • Churhich Recreation
  • CopperMoon
  • Cunningham Recreation
  • Earnst Conservation Seeds
  • Hartstone Inc.
  • Landscape Forms
  • Maglin Site Furnishings
  • Palmetto Recreation Equipment
  • Permatrak
  • Playworld Preferred
  • Roundstone Native Seed
  • Site Innovations Group, Inc.
  • Site One Landscape Supply
  • Smith Turf & Irrigation
  • Sod Solutions
  • Whitacre Greer Co.

On a more personal note, I wanted to share my favorite experience of the conference.  After Kona Gray’s presentation, he stepped in the hallway where I happened to be. Since he came out of his way, during his very busy schedule to speak at this conference and he had asked for nothing in return for his time, I approached him to thank him for sharing with us.  I never know what to expect from those types of conversations.  What I didn’t expect was the subsequent 20 minute conversation where we talked mostly about the importance of family and a little about design.  I look forward to bumping in to Mr. Gray, as well as other thought leaders in our profession, at future events.

The inaugural ASLA Southeast Regional Conference was a resounding success. Attendees enjoyed an educational packed conference, with food, fun and networking. A record number of industry partners supported the conference by exhibiting and/or sponsoring activities, events or items enhancing the attendee’s conference experience. We look forward to expanding on this experience for future ASLA Southeast Regional Conferences.

Written by SCASLA Past President Kathleen Duncan

2016 Annual Meeting – Greenville

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